Imagine that you are two 18- or 19-year-olds who have agreed to participate in a psychology study. You are in a room together with 36 questions and you have to answer them honestly to each other. What do you think would happen? In the story, the study is testing to see if a sense of connection can be fostered by this type of communication. Bob and Betty (our test subjects' code names), seem to be such total opposites that they may not make it through all the questions without some sort of violence. It doesn't help that Betty is dealing with a tense situation at home and isn't eating or sleeping well. The fact that Bob seems to be there only for the $40 stipend, and is sarcastic and grouchy, isn't helping. In classic rom-com style, opposites make sparks fly and also make progress on the questions despite all the interruptions and delays that come up. Everything from tropical fish, snow storms, and doodles on a restaurant table play into the final resolution of the question. Can a connection be fostered by requiring two people to be honest with each other?
Based on an actual study that used this type of organization, the story of Bob and Betty (aka Paul and Hildy) will have you laughing, wincing, groaning with despair, and perhaps even suffering from spillage out of tear ducts that are too small. The characters of Hildy's friends Xiu and Max are entertaining as support cast in the drama unfolding between the two test subjects. And I must say that Kong, for a nonverbal fish, manages to add quite a bit to the mood of the story.
A great pick for fans of tales such as "Ten Things I Hate About You," The Only Thing Worse than Me Is You, or YA romantic comedies in general. I read an e-book provided by the publisher through NetGalley.