Dying to Know You by Aidan Chambers
Karl is 18, dyslexic, and in love with his girlfriend, Fiorella, but he is quiet and doesn’t like to talk about his feelings. In an attempt to make him come out of his shell a little Fiorella gives him a list of questions to answer in writing, thinking it make it easier to understand how he’s feeling. But for Karl, writing is even harder than talking, so he asks Fiorella’s favorite author to rewrite his answers. The author, who is also the narrator, accepts, and they become friends. As his relationship with Fiorella deteriorates, Karl becomes depressed and has to learn how to draw on his own strength.
Dying to Know You is different than any book I’ve ever read. It’s certainly the only YA book that I’ve ever read narrated by an old man, so it has a different viewpoint and a generally calmer tone. It’s also one of the more thought heavy books I’ve read. There is very little action, mostly talking and ruminating on emotions and how they are represented in our lives between the author and Karl. It’s interesting and deep, but sometimes I felt like it was trying to be purposely deep, not letting the characters behave naturally. Something about the writing seemed forced to me.
My favorite aspect of the book was the characters. They are beautifully flawed, but aren’t bad people. The characters work well within the book’s theme of growth. Karl, especially, changes his own ideas and goals, so I really enjoyed that. Character growth is something that I want and expect from books.
Dying to Know You gets a 4/5 starts from me. I really liked it and it made me think, but I wasn’t in love with the writing style. It’s the kind of book that you need to start with the expectation that it’s not a fast paced or packed with action.
Leah F. is is a dedicated reader with an extensive vocabulary who can’t spell, and a cross-country runner with a sprained ankle. However, she perseveres and hopes you enjoy her review.