Tuesday 8 May 2012

Dying to Know You - Aidan Chambers

Dying to Know You – Aidan Chambers

Pages: 275
Publisher: Bodley Head (RHCP)
Release Date: 26th April 2012 
Edition: UK hardback

Other Titles by this Author: The Kissing Game

Shy, likable Karl is in love with clever, beautiful Fiorella. To prove his affection, she demands that he bare his soul to her in letters. The difficulty? Karl is convinced he can’t write, or at least not well enough for Fiorella, who loves books and words. In a Cyrano de Bergerac-like twist, Karl sets out to persuade Fiorella’s favourite novelist to write the letter for him. When the famous author unexpectedly agrees, a series of misunderstandings ensues, resulting in a startling revelation, a near tragedy, and an unexpected friendship that transforms the lives of all three.

In this smart, exhilarating book about love, identity, and finding one’s own voice in the world. Aidan Chambers shows once again why he has been called “one of young-adult literature’s greatest living writers” (Booklist). 

Dying to Know You is a soft and unassuming novel about love, friendship, loss and finding yourself in the most surprising places and with the help of unexpected people.

I hadn’t read any reviews of Dying to Know You before I began reading it so I didn't really know what to expect from it; a very rare occurrence now days, and you know what, it was lovely. I was actually quite shocked when I started reading and found that the story was told from the perspective of the unnamed writer that Karl asks for help. I loved how their friendship developed. It was a touching relationship that really helped both Karl and the writer to move on and to discover and re-discover their talents. 

One of my favourite elements of the novel was how Aidan Chambers connected the ideas of love, communication and language; it was a very thought-provoking way to approach all of the issues that arose in the novel. Everything from love, grief, dyslexia, ageing, friendship, art, writing and depression was either discussed or experienced by the characters in Dying to Know You and yet it wasn’t heavy and suffocating as an issue-novel can be, but gentle and contemplative.

Dying to Know You is a thoughtful and insightful novel and after turning the last page I was left with the impression that just maybe this writer’s story could be Chambers’ too...

For my 2012 Contemporary YA Challenge



  1. Sometimes I think it's sad that well-written contemporaries don't seem to get as much press as the flashy paranormals and dystopians but then I read a gem like Dying to Know You and I'm so happy that I didn't know much about it going in. It made it a sweet surprise!

  2. This sounds really good and like nothing I've read before *makes a note to read more contemporary*. Fab review :)

  3. I have this at home, I can't wait to read it now :)

  4. I haven't seen very many reviews of this one either, but I figured it was because it's in HB? Either way, I'm really looking forward to it, it sounds lovely.

  5. I was left with the same impression of this book, that it could be something Chambers had experienced in some way himself. I loved it, really loved it and it restored my faith in Chambers as an authorr as I didnt fully get on with his collection of short stories - The Kissing Game - I would really recommend this book though!
    Great review as always Sophie! :D


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