Friday, March 30, 2012

Review: Dying to Know You

Dying to Know You by Aidan Chambers

Publisher: Amulet books
Publication Date: April 1st 2012
Pages: 288
Format: ARC
Source: For Review from Publisher
Genre: Contemporary, Relationships
Challenges: Contemporary, Standalone 

In Dying to Know You, 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.
This is a very unique story that I really think shouldn't have been called Young Adult. The story in its self I found enjoyable but I don't think that this story fits in the category in which it has been placed. This is the story of a boy who, in a desperate attempt to keep his girlfriend meets with her favorite author to get help writing about himself as his girlfriend requested. Through the story Karl and the writer meet many times on a journey to help them both.

The part of this book that really set me off the most is that this story is told, not by a teenager or even a young adult, but by the 70 year old author that helps Karl. Because of the narrator being so much older than the book's recommended audience the story was almost kind of...awkward. Most, if not all young adult books I have read before have been told by characters under the age of 20, so when I realized that the whole story was being told by this older perspective I was very surprised. It was also very weird that the narrator was never given a name. When a name was needed they always called him "Author" or "Mr. Writer" and I would have much preferred a name for him. The author of this book is British and the publisher is American. Upon reading the story I discovered that it was in British English spellings and slang which was, for me, an fun extra.

The story was very simple and at times very dry. Very little happens in the story and it was really a very simple self-discovery tale that could have had a little more meat. My very favorite part of the whole story was how it was written to be as if the Author had actually met and worked with all the characters in the story even though it was a fiction story.

In all the story was plain and the narration was a little more cross-over adult-young adult than I would have liked with the older narrator.

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