Can Love be Engineered? Find out here. Book Review: 36 Questions That Changed My Mind About You

36 questions

Title: 36 Questions That Changed My Mind About You

Author: Vicki Grant

Published by: Running Press Kids

About the Book & The Study It’s Based On 

This contemporary YA romantic comedy is based on the study by psychologist Arthur Aron on intimacy between strangers. After falling in love with his long-term work partner, Aron decided to do research on love. Some time after, he put together a procedure meant to create a sense of closeness with a stranger so that he could better study the way two people can build a relationship, and how that closeness can affect our hormones, our brain and our behavior. 

The procedure consists of 36 questions, divided into three sections, that go from light to intense. Dr. Aron states that the similarity between the participant’s answers isn’t the key to generating closeness, but rather the self-disclosure that occurs in a gradual way.

The original intent of these questions was to enable some sort of relationship and rapport between two people. However, some have claim to have found love through this experiment. Aron’s first try with this study was on two lab partners involved in another research. Neither of them knew what these questions were for. They fell in love and got married.

Due to its success and easy access, the study has been widely popularized, most notoriously on the New York Times Modern Love column.

Hildy’s story begins when she signs up for the university psych study and is paired with Paul. Hildy has her own special reasons for participating, Paul is doing it for the money. By the time they get to question number 36, Paul and Hildy have been through one big emotional rollercoaster ride. Did this ride bring them together or apart?

My Thoughts

I just want to say I was afraid this book was going to be overly cheesy or that it would feature some serious insta-love. 

But I was wrong! 🙂

It’s the perfect light and fluffy romantic comedy read, with just the right amount of teenage angst to make things interesting. 

Now, when I say this is light reading, I mean it! The narration of the story is told in different formats – texting, Q & A with some sort of screenplay layout, IM, some sketches from Paul, standard book chapters  – and although there is some drama here and there, the tone is super breezy, making it easy to read in a sitting or two. 

The characters were likable, easy to relate with and their answers to the study’s questions were realistic. The dynamic between Hildy and Paul felt just right from the get-go. My favorite part of this whole book was their banter – totally witty and downright hilarious. Plus, I am a sucker for the whole “opposites attract” trope, and I was living for it in this book. 

Final Verdict

If you are looking for a short read to distract yourself from more serious things, this is the book for you. It’s the type of book you need to go in with zero expectations because the only thing it will be sure to do is entertain you. I also think it would be a good book to get you over a reading slump. 

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