Dying to Know You – Aidan Chambers

This story hit me like a breath of fresh air right from the beginning.  A stream of back and forth dialogue is used at the start of the book and is employed heavily throughout the novel.  This approach made me feel immersed in the characters’ worlds and minds. Karl, an 18-year-old British plumber, stops by the home of his girlfriend’s favorite author. The girlfriend, Fiorella, wants Karl to write to her about his feelings and thoughts so they can get to know one another.  Karl is dyslexic and has difficulty writing, but then he is not terribly verbose to begin with.  He doesn’t feel up to the task alone.  So he asks the author, who is the narrator for this story, for help translating his thoughts into these letters.  Over time, the aging author and Karl develop a close friendship.  They help each other through difficult times.  Karl’s father passed away 6 years earlier, and the author’s wife had died just a few years ago.  These losses fuel much of the emotion of the story.  There is such an honest, raw presentation of love, depression, death, heartbreak, and self-discovery.  Dying to Know You is an emotional, character driven story both captivating and thought-provoking, reeling the reader in and taking hold.  Highly recommended and best for older teens.

 NetGalley Review     Publication date 4.1.12

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