20 Questions I Have About And We’re Off

If you didn’t already know, Dana Schwartz, writer for the Observer and parody Twitter powerhouse, released a YA novel last week called And We’re Off. As a rule, with the exception of a brief stint in my early 20s with The Hunger Games, I lost the bug for YA (young adult, to the non-literary among us) at least a decade ago. However, Dana’s writing is my favorite, and Universe bless Twitter for bringing her fresh perspective and undeniable wit into my life.

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And We’re Off is a universally-relatable text about completely, fantastically un-relatable things; though I don’t know anyone who went on a fabulous EuroTrip at 18, much less one instigated by acceptance to a prestigious art program, who among us doesn’t have a fraught, tense relationship with a parent? Whose passions haven’t been tested and questioned? Who hasn’t anguished over crushes or second-guessed their abilities? Nora is all of us, which is part of what makes her tale so compelling—she is a reminder of the Tumblr-dwelling nerds we used to be (or still are), but a shining example of the feminist adult we hope to become. I mean, she slams Donnie Darko in front of a cute hipster boy at a pub—she is #goals.

Plot is, of course, secondary in any great tale, but And We’re Off certainly left me with some burning questions! Is it too meta to write fanfiction about a book that references fanfiction?

  1. Will Nora get into RISD?
  2. Will Nora finally be honest with Lena about sleeping with Nick?
  3. Will Nora truly, finally realize that Nick is a dumpster fire of a person and move on?
  4. Will Callum and Nora ever see each other again, or will Callum just become a EuroTrip anecdote?
  5. Are there actually cute teen boys out there who read and reread the works of the Oxford Fantasists?
  6. Is Nora talented enough to make it as an artist or should she heed Alice’s practical warning?
  7. Would Nora have gotten into the Deece without Robert’s letter of recommendation?
  8. Will Nora ever pronounce Áine properly?
  9. Will Nora ever learn and retain the Californian boy’s name? #whiteboyfacialblindness
  10. Can Ophelia in Paradise be real, and if so, can I have a drawing of Drarry?
  11. Will Nora realize that cartooning is real art, and that she can have a viable, amazing career by leaning on her strengths?
  12. Will Valentine Neverwoods be the next Katniss Everdeen? Just kidding—she already is!
  13. Will Maeve get out of Donegal Town and take the art world by storm?
  14. Will Nora seek out her British author biological father?
  15. Will Nora’s father’s marriage to the math teacher work out? I mean, peach and mint green as wedding colors can’t bode well for the union.
  16. Will Nora and Alice’s relationship repair and go on to fill the void left in our hearts by Lorelai and Rory Gilmore?
  17. Will Alice sue her firm for wrongful termination (because frankly that shit seems like ageism to me)? Actually, fuck that. Will Alice start her own firm and bury them?
  18. Can Alice and Evelyn please be the late-in-life lesbian power couple that we all deserve?
  19. Where can I buy a print of The Reader and the Watcher?
  20. Is Belgium really a garbage country?

So, what are you waiting for? Go buy her book! But don’t worry, And We’re Off was most definitely not written by Guy in Your MFA.

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