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.
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?
- Will Nora get into RISD?
- Will Nora finally be honest with Lena about sleeping with Nick?
- Will Nora truly, finally realize that Nick is a dumpster fire of a person and move on?
- Will Callum and Nora ever see each other again, or will Callum just become a EuroTrip anecdote?
- Are there actually cute teen boys out there who read and reread the works of the Oxford Fantasists?
- Is Nora talented enough to make it as an artist or should she heed Alice’s practical warning?
- Would Nora have gotten into the Deece without Robert’s letter of recommendation?
- Will Nora ever pronounce Áine properly?
- Will Nora ever learn and retain the Californian boy’s name? #whiteboyfacialblindness
- Can Ophelia in Paradise be real, and if so, can I have a drawing of Drarry?
- Will Nora realize that cartooning is real art, and that she can have a viable, amazing career by leaning on her strengths?
- Will Valentine Neverwoods be the next Katniss Everdeen? Just kidding—she already is!
- Will Maeve get out of Donegal Town and take the art world by storm?
- Will Nora seek out her British author biological father?
- 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.
- Will Nora and Alice’s relationship repair and go on to fill the void left in our hearts by Lorelai and Rory Gilmore?
- 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?
- Can Alice and Evelyn please be the late-in-life lesbian power couple that we all deserve?
- Where can I buy a print of The Reader and the Watcher?
- 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.