Review Detail

Young Adult Fiction 433
Romeo and Juliet Set in 2010
(Updated: August 06, 2021)
Overall rating
Writing Style
21 QUESTIONS by Alexandria Rizik is a YA coming-of-age novel about Kendra Dimes and Brock Parker, high school students who both are harboring their own secrets. Kendra moved to Laguna Beach after her older brother died of a drug overdose, but never told anyone in her new town of her loss. Still, her need to win in the upcoming surf competition is fueled by wanting to do it in his honor. Brock Parker would be Kendra’s worst enemy as his family peddles drugs across the west coast, making Brock their mule— but as fate would have it, Brock and Kendra start falling for each other, which changes the course of their lives forever.

It's clear in reading this book that Rizik has a strong command of story. The conflict she sets up between Brock and Kendra is what propels the tension for the entire book as we see how special their love for one another is, but know their secrets and the practicalities of their lives will tear them apart. Rizik is a visual storyteller, which probably has to do with her filmmaking background, and the last scene especially is so cinematic. It broke my heart.

The story is set in 2010, so the way people speak and refer to one another may feel a bit jarring to a modern reader. However, it does capture that time period accurately. That being said, the dialogue in general doesn’t read the most natural, nor does the description. I was constantly distracted by the way reactions and setting are described as there is a lot of repetition and showing.

Overall, though, 21 QUESTIONS is a compelling story that I’ve been thinking about for days since putting the book down. It’s a true, real-life drama that has a life past the page— and would make a great film!
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