Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the UniversePaperback
- Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
- Format: Paperback | 368 pages
- Dimensions: 138mm x 208mm x 28mm | 300g
- Publication date: 1 April 2014
- Publication City/Country: Nw York
- ISBN 10: 1442408936
- ISBN 13: 9781442408937
- Edition statement: Reprint
- Sales rank: 323
This Printz Honor Book is a "tender, honest exploration of identity" ("Publishers Weekly") that distills lyrical truths about family and friendship. Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship--the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through this friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be.
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By Ryann Dannelly 17 May 2014
This is one of the most beautifully written contemporary coming-of-age stories I've ever read. This is a love story at its core, but it's not a traditional love story. It's a love story about learning to love and accept yourself, your family, your friends, and your heart.
The book is from Ari's first-person narrative, which I really liked. He's brutally honest about some things, but will shy away from the truths of other thinks, like most people do when the truth is too much to confront at the time. Through Ari's voice, the reader also gets to know and understand Dante, the one person that Ari doesn't really understand but whom he's fascinated by. I fell in love with Ari and Dante as characters.
I really enjoyed both sets of parents in this book as well. In a lot of YA books, the story doesn't become too involved with the parents, which tends to keep them sort of two dimensional. But not this book. For the most part, when Ari and Dante aren't spending their time together, they're spending it with their parents. The parents add so much to this story. They each have distinct voices, thoughts, problems, and story arcs.
What makes this book stand out the most, however, is the writing. It's utterly perfect. It's poetic, lyrical, philosophical, and totally captures the essence of these two boys. Although the writing is simple and the chapters tend to be short, there's a lyrical quality to it.
The pacing is relatively slow. Not much happens in the story. There's not really even a plot in this book. These two boys are just coming into themselves in their own time. It's a character driven story about love, friendship, family, and their Latino culture.
The ending is perfect. The way this story comes to a close is just the cherry on top of a wonderful book. There were tears of happiness and a wonderful grin plastered across my face during those last few pages. Everything about this story is incredible. I couldn't put the book down (and clearly judging by this review, I simply loved it).
Anyone and everyone that enjoys YA contemporaries should definitely check out this book. The story focuses on two Latino families and dapples in the GLTB genre, so readers outside of the YA contemporary, that might be your in too. But really, just go pick up this book, everyone and anyone. I promise you'll enjoy it!
"Saenz has written the greater love story, for his is the story of loving one's self, of love between parents and children, and of the love that builds communities, in addition to the deepening love between two friends."--VOYA