Scott Ferdowsi has a track record of quitting. Writing the Great American Novel? Three chapters. His summer internship? One week. His best friends know exactly what they want to do with the rest of their lives, but Scott can hardly commit to a breakfast cereal, let alone a passion.

With college applications looming, Scott’s parents pressure him to get serious and settle on a career path like engineering or medicine. Desperate for help, he sneaks off to Washington, DC, to seek guidance from a famous professor who specializes in grit, the psychology of success.

He never expects an adventure to unfold out of what was supposed to be a one-day visit. But that’s what Scott gets when he meets Fiora Buchanan, a ballsy college student whose life ambition is to write crossword puzzles. When the bicycle she lends him gets Scott into a high-speed chase, he knows he’s in for the ride of his life. Soon, Scott finds himself sneaking into bars, attempting to pick up girls at the National Zoo, and even giving the crossword thing a try—all while opening his eyes to fundamental truths about who he is and who he wants to be.


E A R L Y  P R A I S E

"Witty, smart, and inspiring, the novel celebrates life’s big and little surprises and the connections made between people that lead to profound changes."
Publishers Weekly, starred review

"Arvin Ahmadi’s novel shares a lot in common with its irrepressible hero, Saaket. It's quirky and charming, wise and unpredictable, and, dare I say it, full of big-hearted grit."
—Khaled Hosseini, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Kite Runner

"Arvin Ahmadi's earnest debut is a charming romp of a book, a heartfelt tour of a city through the bright eyes of a hopeful heart. Ahmadi proves his grit and then some with Down and Across."
—David Arnold, New York Times bestselling author of Kids of Appetite and Mosquitoland

"Arvin Ahmadi's voice will be a dynamic entry into YA literature. Down and Across is a thrilling game-changer that touches on the universal journey of self-discovery with a deft hand and riotous humor."
—Adam Silvera, New York Times bestselling author of More Happy Than Not and They Both Die at the End

"Charmingly funny, intensely relatable, and unexpectedly moving—Down and Across is a big-hearted gem of a debut from an exciting new voice." 
—Jasmine Warga, author of My Heart and Other Black Holes and Here We Are Now