Thursday, January 31, 2013

Book Review: Dying to Know You, by Aidan Chambers

I'm not sure how to categorize Dying to Know You. It's a contemporary, but after that....? I guess the best assignation is "coming of age" because the characters do grow quite a bit, and that's the main outcome of Dying to Know You.

The narrator is an elderly author who is never named. His doorbell rings one day and a young man, Karl, asks him for help. Karl's girlfriend, Fiorella, has asked him to write the answers to 50 questions, so she can get to know him better. What she doesn't know is that Karl is dyslexic, and writing is almost an impossible task for him. So Karl goes to Fiorella's favorite author to ask him to help Karl write his answers.

Things don't go as planned, of course. The story moves at a steady, although somewhat slow, pace. There are some unexpected twists, but this is a contemplative story -- no "shockers" here.

Dying to Know You is a lovely story, and it's beautifully written. I never really wanted to put it down, but I did become a little impatient to know, "When is something going to happen?" Well, it's not about what happens, it's about the effect on the characters. Karl is trying to find out why we are who we are. He's dealing with the death of his father and trying to build a relationship with Fiorella. The way it all turns out is very special, and that's all I'll say because I don't want to give specifics.

A couple of irrelevant comments: I don't know where the title came from. Also, Karl loved to fish for trout. I guess that's what translated to goldfish on the cover. (Although it is a really cute cover.)

My teen book club is reading Dying to Know You for February. This is one of the few books we've read that I haven't suggested -- they picked it. I can't wait to hear what they have to say. I see Dying to Know You as having limited appeal to teens. I know teens that will read it, but I don't think it will be picked up by many of them. Good thing it has that cover -- that will help.

Published by Amulet Books, April 1, 2012
Copy obtained from the library
275 pages (qualifies for my Books You Can Read in a Day Challenge!)

Rating: 3/5

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  1. This sounds like a good one, I'll have to borrow it from my school library!

  2. I've been wondering about this book for awhile, but I haven't heard too many reviews of it. Glad you found it beautifully written. I'll definitely check this one out!


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