Dying to Know You
By Aidan Chambers
Expected publication April 1, 2012 by Amulet Books
Karl is crazy about Fiorella but he doesn't know how to say it. So when she asks him to answer some questions about himself for her, he does the only thing he can think of - asks Fiorella's favorite author to help him. What follows is a bittersweet tale of love and self-identity.
I don't think this is going to be a very good review. I'm just putting that out here at the top so that nobody is fooled. I'm not sure why this author is familiar to me - I don't think I've read any of his books before, but the name rings a bell. Anyway, this was one of the random books I grabbed at Midwinter. I thought, from reading the blurb, that I'd be reading a comedy of some sort - guy desperate to get his relationship with out of reach girl to work enlists aid of favorite author, hijinks ensue - that sort of thing. This is definitely not that kind of book. In fact, I'm not entirely sure what kind of book this is. I don't know if I can make any sort of sensible review happen so here are the things I've thought about while reading/since finishing this book. Why is the book narrated by the writer? I can see that it's an interesting choice, especially for a young adult novel, but it sort of creates a disconnect from the teenagers who are allegedly the subject of the novel. I'm not sure how readers will take this narrative choice - it may be off-putting and alienating. The title - I don't get it. I mean, I don't think it would be weird for me to say that I expected someone to die. And there may have been some close calls, but by the end of the course, there is no actual death. So what's with the title? I don't love Karl or Fiorella - I understand the idea and why there's conflict. And Karl is a complicated character who I felt like I should have been rooting for, but I just wasn't really. I found him frustrating. And I found the relationship between Karl and the narrator frustrating as well. However, I won't deny that the book is very well-written. It reads beautifully. And I can't say that I didn't enjoy the book - I kept reading and didn't feel like I wanted to quit. But this was a weird book for me.
Thanks to the publisher for an advance reader's copy.