Title: Dying to Know You
Author: Aidan Chambers
Publisher: Amulet Books
From the Publisher: 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.
I was honestly disappointed with this book. It didn’t hold my attention and I found myself trying to multitask as I read it – something I never do with my books.
The story is a basic one. Boy wants to impress girl and finds a way to do so. Boy grows up and life happens. In essence, that’s the message of the book: life happens. And it’s a good and novel message, but if I’m going to read about mundane life I want to be able to get lost in the writing. And this writing was, at best, mediocre. I was never able to let go and fall into the story the way I usually do when I enter a book.
I didn’t dislike the book, but I didn’t particularly enjoy it either. I did want to know what happened to Karl and Fiorella at the end, but it was nothing I couldn’t have guessed. It was all rather ordinary. The problem is, ordinary stories need to be written extraordinarily.