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Review of FIRECRACKER by David Iserson

David Iserson, a writer for “SNL,” “The New Girl” and “Up All Night,” made his YA debut with “Firecracker” this May. He was interviewed in the Los Angeles Times, reviewed at Reading Rants and featured in Entertainment Weekly’s Shelf Life and on ForeverYoungAdult.com. And you should love his star-studded book trailer for “Firecracker,” which you can watch below. This will be his first visit to Crossroads and we’re geeked. Meet him at Crossroads when you register by clicking here

Meaghan Walsh Gerard reviews FIRECRACKER by David Iserson

firecracker david iserson

“Firecracker” by David Iserson

Only once before have a read a YA book most of the way through before realizing it was categorized as such. I haven’t got anything against YA per se, but having been 29 for a couple of years now, I am generally uninterested in the adolescent themes they explore. But occasionally (though rarely) a YA novel manages to defy its genre conventions and just be a darn good story.

Our tempestuous heroine, and narrator, is Astrid Krieger and she lives in a rocket ship. Yes, you read that right. Astrid is the teenaged daughter of very wealthy if aloof parents. In short, Astrid is bored. Her only amusements are pulling the strings of those less perceptive than herself. She’s been recently expelled from her very exclusive high school for cheating – something she never denies doing but only determines to find out who turned her in.

Her therapist (and former dean) instead challenges Astrid to do at least three things that she doesn’t want to do. As an embittered, independent teen, the list of potential tasks is quite lengthy. But as Astrid embarks on her emotional scavenger hunt, she realizes that she doesn’t hate everyone/thing quite as much as she thought.

FIRECRACKER is a smart and funny novel, with a freshly modern voice. Angsty without being desperate, it also has a dash of classic 1980s high school movie mixed in. Astrid breaks the fourth wall quite often and speaks directly to her readers – and it works.

I probably don’t need to tell you what it’s like in a public school cafeteria. I mean, it’s very likely that you’ve been to one (or are sitting in one right now). And it you’ve seen one, I’m sure you’ve seen them all. But I’ll describe it anyway in case you are home-schooled (in which case, your mom is probably really upset that you’re reading this book because of the cursing. Loc 619 of 3004

And her descriptions of others are hysterical and spot-on.

Talia was feebly drunk. Drunk-Talia was like one of those inflatable people with swinging arms outside car dealerships. Loc. 808 of 3004.

And:

Mason was an aspiring bully, and that’s why I figured he would be outside smoking with Melty. They must’ve thought smoking cigarettes ft the part. But they should have known that if they really wanted to effectively inflict pain on a victim, it would help if they didn’t get winded while chasing someone up the staircase. Don’t smoke because it makes it a lot harder to beat someone up. That’s my public service message. Loc. 1974 of 3004.

Despite her flippant manner, Astrid is a complex and sympathetic character. When it comes time to implement her plan that is so-crazy-it-just-might-work, we are firmly in her camp.

Even if you are out of your teenage years (like me, by a good amount), this fast-paced book is highly enjoyable. I can only imagine if I had had Astrid to look up to when I was in 6th or 7th grade.

Watch the book trailer for FIRECRACKER below.

FIRECRACKER by David Iserson

ISBN 9781595143709 | 336 pages | 16 May 2013 | Razorbill | 9.25 x 6.25in | 12 – AND UP years

http://davidiserson.tumblr.com/

https://twitter.com/davidiserson

 
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Stars Launch ‘New Girl’ Writer’s YA Novel, ‘Firecracker’

In the sea of familiar faces at the 2013 Crossroads, you’ll find a few new, talented folks in the mix.

One of those will be David Iserson, who writes for “New Girl,” and wrote for “Saturday Night Live” and “United States of Tara” before that.

But Iserson is also a novelist. His YA debut “Firecracker” bowed in mid-May with one of the best book trailers we’ve ever seen.

It features more than a few stars including former Maconite Jack McBrayer, SNL alum Will Forte and stars from “New Girl” among others. (Watch it below or click here.)

MORE:

Interview with David Iserson at ForeverYoungAdult.com

Los Angeles Review of Books podcast with David Iserson

David Iserson’s Tumblr

Goodreads page for “Firecracker”