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Book Review: Dying to Know You by Aidan Chambers

Friday, April 6, 2012
Dying to Know You
by Aidan Chambers

4 Stars: Recommended
Publication: April 1st, 2012
Pages: 288
Author: Website | Facebook
Publisher: Amulet Books
Buy it: Amazon (Hardcopy) | Kindle | B&N | Book Depository

Award-winning author Aidan Chambers has created an indelible portrait of a young man discovering his own voice in the world, and has constructed a love story that is as much about the mind as it is the heart. In this contemporary love story, a teenage boy named Karl enlists a famous writer to help him impress his girlfriend, Fiorella. She has asked him to write her a letter in which he reveals his true self. But Karl isn’t convinced he’s good enough with words, so he tracks down Fiorella’s favorite author and begs him to take up the task. The writer reluctantly assents, on the condition that Karl agree to a series of interviews, so that the letter will be based on an authentic portrait of Karl. The letter, though effective, has unexpected consequences for Karl, Fiorella, and the writer.
Dying to Know You is interesting and unusual in that while it is a book meant for young adults, the story is narrated by the seventy-five year old (unnamed) author Karl asks for help. Much of the story centers on the dialogue. I much prefer stories rich in imagery, so it was an interesting change from my usual reads.

The story is told in a manner that is simple and to the point. It doesn't feel drawn out, though the plot takes time to develop. The pacing is rather languid, and I felt distanced from the events taking place. The disconnection from the characters allowed me to observe the characters more objectively, as I neither truly connected with the characters though I did feel empathy and sympathy towards them.

Chambers touches upon loss, depression, and dyslexia. Both the narrator and Karl find healing of their own while working together, as the two have gone through similar situations, and both are keeping secrets. Their story is poignant and beautiful, filled with heartache and baring to the soul.

Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this book from the publisher. No payment was received in return for a review. The receipt of the book had no influence on the opinions expressed in my review.
3 comments on "Book Review: Dying to Know You by Aidan Chambers"
  1. I'm not sure about reading it from the POV of the older narrator - if it's about Aiden I'd prefer it from his POV, to see his insecurities.

    Maybe that's why you didn't connect?

  2. It's probably also because I love books rich in imagery and seeing more of the characters thoughts. I definitely would have loved to look from Aiden's mind though :D

  3. I loved that this story was so dialogue driven (my preference) but I often found myself confused with the pace of the back and forth and since there weren't enough "he said"s. I was very impressed with the writing though-a well-written contemporary!


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