By Beth Clark • February 05, 2019
Choose Your Own Disaster is actually the second book that journalist, writer, and Entertainment Weekly correspondent Dana Schwartz has authored. Her first was a YA novel called And We're Off that was published in 2017 and named one of the best books of the year by Seventeen Magazine. She's also written for The New Yorker, the New York Observer, The Guardian, Marie Claire, Glamour, Mic, GQ, and MentalFloss, been featured in Buzzfeed, and interviewed by numerous publications, including Vanity Fair magazine. For someone who has no idea who she is, by all accounts, she's hilarious, unflinchingly truthful, relatable on the most human of levels, and #nailingit IRL and on Twitter.
In fact, Twitter effectively launched Schwartz's career after she attracted attention (LOTS of attention) as an undergrad by creating GuyInYourMFA (you know, that guy), parodying pretentious and condescending aspiring writers. DystopianYA followed, set in a dystopian future and parodying young adult fiction like the Hunger Games. Internships with Conan O'Brien and Stephen Colbert followed, which led to a being hired as an entertainment writer with the New York Observer. An open letter to the owner of the Observer further catapulted her popularity, and ultimately helped catapult her to mainstream recognition…and a book deal.
Before all that, she was a high school debate champ, varsity golfer, and Presidential Scholar who grew up in Highland Park, Illinois. She went to Brown University on a public policy and pre-med path, where she sang in a Jewish a'cappella group and had the intention of becoming a doctor. Instead, she succumbed to the compelling desire to be a writer, which seems to be working out pretty okay for her so far.
If you've ever unintentionally (or not) chosen disaster, lost your way, temporarily misplaced yourself, or wondered what the point of adulting is, or if there even is one, you'll love Choose Your Own Disaster.
"I wrote this book about love and sex and eating disorders and traveling and career uncertainty. I hope you read it and maybe feel less alone." — Dana Schwartz
Choose Your Own Disaster is a hilarious, quirky, and boldly honest memoir about one young woman's terrible and life-changing decisions while hoping (and sometimes failing) to find herself that's written in the style of Never Have I Ever and Adulting. Join Dana Schwartz on a journey revisiting all of the terrible decisions she made in her early twenties through the internet's favorite method of self-knowledge: the quiz. Part-memoir, part-VERY long personality test, Choose Your Own Disaster is a manifesto about the millennial experience, modern feminism, and how the easy advice of "you can be anything you want!" is actually pretty fu*king difficult when there are so many possible versions of yourself you could be. Dana has no idea who she is, but at least she knows she's a Carrie, a Ravenclaw, a Raphael, a Belle, a former emo kid, a Twitter addict, and a millennial just trying her best.
And We're Off was a Seventeen Magazine Best Book of the Year and loved by NYT bestselling author Jennifer Weiner, who called it "A winsome, hilarious tale about losing the map and finding a better way to a happy ending."
The gist of And We're Off from the publisher: 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.