21 Questions: A Novel

21 Questions: A Novel
Age Range
Release Date
August 03, 2021
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In Laguna Beach, California, sixteen-year-old Kendra Dimes is preparing for the 2010 USA Surfing Prime West. She’ll be competing this year in honor of her brother, who was a surfer too, but who died from a drug overdose. Kendra has suffered anxiety attacks ever since her brother’s death, and surfing is what’s been helping her heal. Brock Parker is the new bad boy at school; he deals drugs to the high school clientele for his parents, who work for a Mexican drug lord. Though Brock and Kendra come from two different worlds, sparks fly when they meet at the homecoming dance—their attraction is magnetic. When they start a game of 21 Questions one night, they begin to learn more about each other—and, surprisingly, about themselves too. But some questions aren’t answered with the whole truth; after all, Brock can’t tell Kendra what his parents do for a living. As Kendra and Brock experience all of life’s most exciting firsts, they prove that even when life throws you the perfect storm, you can make it through and come out stronger than before. 21 Questions is a coming-of-age journey packed with passion and heartbreak, risk and romance.

Editor review

1 review
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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