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And We're Off

And We're Off

by Dana Schwartz

Narrated by Lauren Fortgang

Unabridged — 6 hours, 25 minutes

Dana Schwartz
And We're Off

And We're Off

by Dana Schwartz

Narrated by Lauren Fortgang

Unabridged — 6 hours, 25 minutes

Dana Schwartz

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13 Little Blue Envelopes meets Gilmore Girls in this fun, funny, and bittersweet summer adventure from Observer writer and the hilarious voice behind @GuyInYourMFA, Dana Schwartz. 

Seventeen-year-old Nora Holmes is an artist, a painter from the moment she could hold a brush. She inherited the skill from her grandfather, Robert, who's always nurtured Nora's talent and encouraged her to follow her passion. Still, Nora is shocked and elated when Robert offers her a gift: an all-expenses-paid summer trip to Europe to immerse herself in the craft and to study history's most famous artists. The only catch? Nora has to create an original piece of artwork at every stop and send it back to her grandfather. It's a no-brainer: Nora is in! 

Unfortunately, Nora's mother, Alice, is less than thrilled about the trip. She worries about what the future holds for her young, idealistic daughter-and her opinions haven't gone unnoticed. Nora couldn't feel more unsupported by her mother, and in the weeks leading up to the trip, the women are as disconnected as they've ever been. But seconds after saying goodbye to Alice at the airport terminal, Nora hears a voice call out: "Wait! Stop! I'm coming with you!"

And . . . they're off.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Audio

For the audio edition, voice actor Fortgang adds realism to the mother-daughter dynamic at the center of Schwartz’s debut novel. Aspiring artist Nora, age 17, is thrilled to be accepted into a prestigious summer program for young artists in Ireland, and even more thrilled when her grandfather, a well-known professional artist, pays for her to take a trip around Europe in the weeks leading up to the program. In addition to looking forward to immersing herself in art, Nora can’t wait to get away from her mother, who is unsupportive of her art and has been negative, nagging, and argumentative since Nora’s father left her and recently remarried. Unfortunately for Nora, at the last minute her mother decides to join in on her dream vacation. Reader Fortgang captures both the youthful frustration of a teenager yearning to be independent and the jadedness of a middle-aged mother whose life did not turn out the way she’d hoped. She is most impressive during the many arguments between mother and daughter, who they bicker their way through Paris, Amsterdam, and Ireland. Fortgang bounces back and forth between characters so effortlessly that it sounds as if two actors are providing the dialogue. Fortgang is also adept at accents, creating distinctive voices for Scottish, Irish, and Australian characters. Her lively and entertaining narration makes this fun story even more of a treat to listen to. Ages 12–up. A Razorbill hardcover. (May)

Publishers Weekly

Schwartz, a writer for the New York Observer and the creator of the popular @DystopianYA and @GuyInYourMFA Twitter accounts, debuts with the story of 17-year-old Nora Parker-Holmes, whose summer trip to Europe is upended by her mother’s spontaneous decision to tag along. Nora and her mother bicker their way through Paris, Amsterdam, and Ireland, where Nora has been accepted as a summer fellow at an art colony. She longs to follow in the footsteps of her grandfather, a famous artist who has paid for this trip and given her art-related assignments for each city, such as sketching portraits on Paris’s Left Bank. Nora’s time in Ireland and the friends she makes there (including romantic interest Callum) help her character deepen beyond her anger at her mother. This story follows a predictable trajectory as Nora comes to see her mother’s presence as lucky, but her journey to understand who she is, both as a person and an artist, is rewarding, as is the evident love behind her grandfather’s assignments and advice. Ages 12–up. Agent: Dan Mandel, Sanford J. Greenburger Associates. (May)

From the Publisher

"A joyous contemporary YA novel by journalist and Guy in Your MFA Twitter mastermind Dana Schwartz, And We’re Off is a tale of travel, romance, and plenty of mother-daughter banter. That this will be the first book in a long line of delightful literature from wunderkind Schwartz seems inevitable and lovely." —Vulture (New York Magazine)

And We’re Off is sure to steal your heart and inspire some serious wanderlust.”—HelloGiggles

"You haven't seen banter this quick—or a bond this tight—since Rory and Lorelai." —Seventeen

"[Schwartz] deftly mixes humor and tenderness....This funny, whimsical tome isn't easy to put down once you start."Rolling Stone

"Funny, chock full of heart and wanderlust, And We're Off feels like traveling with a good friend. A fun debut with a superb voice." —Adi Alsaid, author of Let's Get Lost and Never Always Sometimes

“Fun, poignant, and funny. I want to travel with Dana, and after reading this, so will you.”  —New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Maureen Johnson
“An engaging and heartfelt book. Dana Schwartz truly knows what it is to be young and talented.” —Mara Wilson, author of Where Am I Now?

"[Nora's] journey to understand who she is, both as a person and an artist, is rewarding, as is the evident love behind her grandfather’s assignments and advice." —Publishers Weekly

"It’s hard to beat a European holiday for vicarious fun. The up-to-the-minute details about travel in Europe make this an engaging, enjoyable, and even informational read." —Kirkus Reviews

"Nora’s European adventures, very real fears, and endlessly entertaining narration keep this exploration of what it means to be a creator, a friend, and a daughter firmly grounded, and readers will be happy to come along for the ride." —Booklist

"...nicely balanced with dry humor, delightful description, and a little bit of naughty pleasure...A fun choice for summer reading shelves." —School Library Journal

School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up—Art has been Nora's passion as long as she can remember. A junior in high school, she's already making money selling fan fiction cartoons through her Tumblr account. And now Nora is one of the select few chosen to attend the Donegal Colony for Young Artists in Ireland this summer. Her famous artist grandfather is paying for her to travel through Europe before and after her three weeks at the school. But the best part—Nora will be on her own, away from her judgmental mother for the first time. She has visions of wandering carefree along the streets of Paris, Brussels, and Florence; making new friends at the youth hostels; and sipping cappuccinos with gorgeous boys. Then, on the way to the airport, her mother announces that she's decided to tag along, and Nora's dream summer takes on a decidedly nightmarish hue. This light mother/daughter tale is told in the first person. Readers will feel Nora's mounting resentment toward her mother warring with the sympathy and understanding on which her mother is counting. When Nora is forced to question the extent of her artistic ability, then finds her summer crush in the arms of another, she sees all of her dreams crashing down around her. The protagonist's ever-present worries and frustrations are nicely balanced with dry humor, delightful description, and a little bit of naughty pleasure. Teens will relate to Nora's plight, delight in loathing her mother, and appreciate the satisfying conclusion. VERDICT A fun choice for summer reading shelves.—Cary Frostick, formerly at Mary Riley Styles Public Library, Falls Church, VA

Kirkus Reviews

Seventeen-year-old Nora Parker-Holmes has only one obstacle to her upcoming European grand tour: her mother, "five foot three inches tall, newly minted paralegal, and parental nightmare." The white teen's artist grandfather has prepared a treasure hunt for her with clues to various artworks in different European cities. Nora is excited to go abroad for the first time and to pursue her dream of becoming a great artist, but her enjoyment is cut short by her mother's insistence on accompanying her and micromanaging her every move. Her mother regards art as a disposable hobby and strongly discourages Nora from pursuing it—which makes Nora more determined than ever to succeed. She finally comes into her own during an intensive art course in rural Ireland, where her social life perks up considerably when she meets a charming Irish white boy and his friends. Rapprochement between mother and daughter comes in Florence, in front of a painting of her grandfather's that incorporates Nora's fan-fiction cartoons. In a satisfying conclusion, Nora's ambition is vindicated in her mother's eyes, and mother and daughter learn to appreciate each other for who they truly are. Nora's first-person narration does not particularly stand out from the crowd, but her artistic bent gives her character some individuality, and it's hard to beat a European holiday for vicarious fun The up-to-the-minute details about travel in Europe make this an engaging, enjoyable, and even informational read. (Fiction. 14-18)

Product Details

BN ID: 2940172051081
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Publication date: 11/15/2019
Edition description: Unabridged
Age Range: 10 - 13 Years

Customer Reviews