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36 Questions That Changed My Mind About You

Reviewed By Bayan Saidam, Teen Advisory Council
 
Bright Pink Book Cover36 Questions That Changed My Mind About You is a White Pine 2019 nominee written by Vicki Grant, an author of 14 award-winning novels native to Canada. This book follows the story of two polar opposites, Hildy and Paul, that end up in a University psychology study made to test if two strangers can fall in love by answering 36 intimate and deep questions. Hildy is an awkward and quirky goody-two-shoes that comes from a privileged background whereas Paul is a complete bad boy who lived a rough life and likes to hide his struggles from the people around him. Paul signed up for the study to earn the $40 that was promised whereas Hildy did it out of pure curiosity and the science behind it. Will 36 questions be enough to make these polar opposites fall in love?
Although this is a light-hearted comedy, Hildy and Paul both hide major incidents that changed each of their individual's lives immensely. This story touches on family, loss, trust and moving on. Personally, I felt like the characters opening up came a little too late in the book and it didn't give the reader much time to develop a relationship with the characters and their struggles. But I also think it leaves room for us to create our own solutions in terms of how each character handled their problems afterwards. Some people argue that the dialogue towards the end was a little awkward and rushed but maybe that's the raw aspect to it. Not everything we say will come off well-spoken and it's okay to be awkward in this setting - especially as teenagers falling in love under such strange circumstances.
I never thought I'd ever see myself reading a book in dialogue or third person so when I found out this book contained both, I was shocked that I got through the first chapter. Unlike the usual, "she went to the store" narratives, Vicki Grant attaches you to the characters from page 1. For example, Hildy's actions were clumsy and awkward and it felt like eavesdropping into her thoughts and personality. Grant has a way of creating attitude and characterization with her characters using the way they speak and their experiences as the main source of character development instead of how they feel at all times. She has a way of exaggerating cliche personas and makes them entertaining from young adult readers. Alternating between an Omniscience Limited point of view (third person narrative that follows the character's thoughts and experiences) and dialogue, 36 Questions That Changed My Mind About You offers a unique text structure that allows it to be a fun light-hearted and fast read that will definitely leave you 'aww'ing. And maybe in tears, because let's be real, we all fell in love with Paul's charisma and if he's hurt, then so am I. So if you love rom-coms or just want a light-hearted YA fiction book that also touches on life struggles, then this book is for you.