I loved, loved, loved AU REVOIR, CRAZY EUROPEAN CHICK. I loved it so much that when I first saw the deal in Publisher's Lunch I found a way to send a note to author, Joe Schreiber, telling him what a great idea it was.
When Perry’s parents host a foreign-exchange student for a year, he pictures a sexy French girl. What he gets is Gobi, a shy, glasses-wearing Lithuanian girl who wears shapeless clothes and covers her greasy hair with a scarf. Then Perry’s mom insists he take Gobi to the prom - even though it’s the same night that his band had a real live gig in Manhattan.
Gobi turns out to have been hiding a number of secrets. For one, there’s a beautiful girl underneath all those acres of fabric. And for another, she’s a trained assassin. She needs Perry to help her complete a deadly mission the night of the prom - and she’s won’t take no for an answer.
You’ll find yourself reading the book in a single sitting. It’s not just funny and fast-paced. It’s also well-written. You’d think a book this good would have sold to the first editor who saw it. But take heart: the book actually got rejected by eight publishers before it found a home - and a two-book deal - at Houghton Mifflin. The movie rights were auctioned off a week later. And with starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Booklist, the book is poised to take off.
Each chapter begins with a question from an actual college admissions form. Read the prologue and you’ll have a pretty good idea what the book is like.
Describe a significant experience or achievement and the effect that it had on you. (Harvard)
"You shot me," I said.
I was lying on my stomach, wondering if I was going to pass out from the pain. Twenty feet away, she stood with the machine pistol in one hand and the sawed-off shotgun in the other, wiping the blood out of her eyes. It was three a.m. We were in my father’s law office on the forty-seventh floor of 855 Third Avenue, or what was left of it. The cops were taking cover behind the couch.
She was talking but I couldn’t hear anything. The gunfire had left me temporarily deaf.
I thought about my father.
I took a breath and watched the room wobble at the edges. I was going into shock. The pain wasn’t getting any better, and I thought that I would probably black out before I found out how this was going to end. Just as well—I was never particularly good at finishing things.
She walked over, knelt down, and wrapped her arms around me. She pressed her lips to my ear, close enough that I could make out the words.
"Perry," she said, "I had a very nice time tonight."
I asked the author a few questions by email.
Q. There are a lot of musical references in the book. (I blasted the horn again. Back in Boy Scouts, we’d learned Morse Code, and I tried to remember how to do SOS, but settled for a series of irregular, spastic-sounding honks, hoping it sounded desperate and not just like a malfunctioning car alarm or the drum part from “My Sharona,” a song that Inchworm sometimes played at our live shows, but only ironically.) Do you play an instrument? Have you ever been in a band?
A. I've never been in a band, or played an instrument -- but I've hung out with a lot of musicians, and housemates of mine were in a band in college. I've been to a LOT of live shows, and the bar in the East Village that Perry and his friends play at is based on Brownies, the (now sadly closed) NYC bar where a ton of great bands played back in the 80s/90s, and my friend tended bar for years.
Q. It’s was incredibly easy to picture the events as a movie, and I know film rights sold to Paramount in August of 2010. Where does the movie stand now?
A. Movie is in development and moving forward with Josh Schwartz attached to direct. I met the screenwriter working on the adaptation when I was in LA in July and I think it's in very good hands, so fingers crossed.
Q. Is there going to be a sequel to AU REVOIR? Please say yes! If so, when will it come out? Does it have a title?
A And yes, there is a sequel. PERRY'S EUROPEAN PLAYLIST is due out in 2012 -- it's about what happens when Perry's band Inchworm goes on a European tour, only to run into Gobi in Venice on a mission of her own. I went with my family to Venice, Paris and Switzerland last fall to research it -- a lot of fun..