I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Dying to Know You by Aidan Chambers
Published by Amulet Books on April 1, 2012
Genres: Realistic YA Fiction
Karl, aged seventeen, is hopelessly in love. But the object of his affections, Firella, demands proof, and poses him a series of questions regarding his attitude to the many sides of love. But Karl is dyslexic, and convinced that if Firella finds out, she will think he is stupid, and unworthy of her, and leave him.
So Karl asks a local writer to help him construct his replies - and an unlikely, but extremely touching, friendship develops between the two men. They both come to learn a great deal about about life from a very different perspective, and when an act of violence shatters their calm, they find their respective appraisal of life shifting in profound ways.
“OK. Let me sum up and you can tell me if I’ve got it right. You’ve met a girl you admire and would like to keep her as your girlfriend. She fancies you and she wants to know about your private life, your intimate self, because she believes that real friends – let’s say, lovers – tell each other about their secret selves. And she insists on you writing this. But you don’t like talking about yourself, and writing would be torture because of your dyslexia. So you’ve come to me, who you know nothing about except that I write books Fiorella likes. And you want me to help you by writing for you what she wants you to write for her in proper English. Is that it?”
“That’s about it, yes.”
Alright, I admit it. It was really the cover that made me want to read this book. What can I say? I’m a sucker for a cute goldfish apparently.This is a very simple story that only somewhat managed to draw me in. I prefer that my contemporary novels have an original edge and a storyline that I can’t see from a mile away and this one was pretty straight forward. It’s also tagged as a YA novel but the writing seemed geared towards a more mature crowd.
It was a pleasant read that focused primarily on dialog only. I wanted more explanation about the characters; more detail that wasn’t always conveyed in the dialog. I also didn’t understand the immediate blooming relationship that occurred between Karl and the writer. I can understand his desire to help Karl and set up a couple of interview sessions so that he can find out more about him personally, but shortly after meeting and they’re already taking a fishing trip together? Just seemed a tad unrealistic to me, but maybe I’m just not friendly enough. haha
All in all, I liked it, it was well written, but it fell short of missing the mark.
“Sometimes the course of our lives depends on what we do or don’t do in a few seconds, a heartbeat, when we either seize the opportunity, or just miss it. Miss the moment and you never get the chance again.”