Review Blog

Jan 29 2018

36 questions that changed my mind about you by Vicki Grant

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Hot Key Books, 2017. ISBN 9781471407086
(Age: Senior secondary) Highly recommended. Deciding to take part in a psychological survey about discovering whether two participants can get to know one another through asking and answering a series of questions, Hildy, a high school student, 18 years old, intelligent, and anxious because of her parents' worsening relationship, is partnered with a young man, of a similar age and seemingly quite different to her, with whom she will exchange answers to a series of 36 questions created to reveal their sociability, intelligence and attractiveness to the other participant. Paul is doing it for the money.
Their answers reveal many differences in their childhoods, family and social circumstances. The questions are challenging and personal, their answers revealing much about themselves. The discussion generated gradually brings them together despite his suspicion that she is 'out of his league'. The gentle flowering of the relationship is captivating, and heart-warming, as we notice how each offers the other an honest response to the questions, and sometimes more emotional responses than they would have expected.
This is a well-constructed depiction of relationships in the modern world, depicting the lives of two young people living in quite different circumstances in the west coast of the USA. We are drawn into their personal lives both through their question and answer times and in Grant's narrative sections where she reveals more detail about the two young people. The questions are intriguing and challenging and their determination to reply honestly gradually enables them to understand both themselves and their Q/A partner better.
This is a delightful and intriguing new 'novel' about young people and their relationships. I would highly recommend it for senior school students, parents and teachers as both an unusual and delightful introduction to how adolescents work out their place, ambition, and how they wish to live in the modern world.
Elizabeth Bondar

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