Author : Benjamin Alire Sáenz
Publication date : February 21st 2012
Publisher : Simon & Schuster Books
Genre : YA Contemporary
Synopsis : 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. (From Goodreads)
“Another secret of the universe: Sometimes pain was like a storm that came out of nowhere. The clearest summer morning could end in a downpour. Could end in lightning and thunder.”
I picked this book up expecting a cutesy romance and that’s not what I got. Instead I got a story about family, friendship and wounds that not even time can heal, and I liked it.
This is the story of Aristotle Mendoza, a sad troubled loner who’s trying to figure out what’s “wrong” with him and why he felt the way he felt, never happy, always looking for something more. That’s when he meets Dante Quintana, who’s his opposite, he is an optimistic kid with a peculiar view on life and the world, and they become bestfriends. And that relationship begins to change him. For the better that is.
I fell in love with the family aspect of it which is huge. I’ll forever be grateful to Sáenz for making it such an important part, because YA novels are really REALLY lacking it and it is sad. My favorite characters are actually the parents, both sets, with their qualities, their flaws, their heartaches and their joys. I loved how caring and involved in their sons’ lives they were, it felt real, it WAS real. Unlike in most YA, they set rules, boundaries, they got mad and grounded them. They knew when to intervene and when to give them space, but not too much though.
Now, Aristotle. He annoyed the hell out of me. I know that he was trying to figure himself out. Been there, done that. Maybe not in the same way, but we’ve all, at some point, questioned everything that previously made sens in our lives. It’s just that he overanalyzed everything, even the meaningless things that he shouldn’t waste time on, I just wanted to scream “STOP MOANING AND MOVE YOUR BUTT!”. Too much self-hate. Too much self-pity. That was for 90% of the book , but by the end, I really liked the person he became. They way he made peace with the idea that his family wasn’t perfect and he came to truly love them inspite of everything. Dante, I sadly didn’t care much for (I’m sorry okay? Don’t kill me, please?) I didn’t hate him but I didn’t love him either, the thing that I enjoyed about him is that he felt good about who he was, he didn’t quite know who he was yet but he was okay with it. Weirdly enough, I LOVED their relationship, it was so cute and innocent, and most of all RAW. I don’t know how to explain it but it felt honest, the way that sometimes Ari hated (so to speak) Dante for no apparent reason was just normal.
The writing was poetic at times and I really loved that about it but the dialogue didn’t feel natural to me at some points, especially between Ari and Dante. The way they said each other’s names at the end of most of the sentences just felt weird to me.
Over all, it was very enjoyable and quick to read, I was able to finish it in 2 sittings. This novel is about a boy’s journey into manhood, finding out, among other things, his history, his sexualty, his likes and dislikes … Himself, to keep it short.
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That’s it until next time.
Did you read Aristotle and Dante discover the Secret of the Universe ? If so, what did you think of it?
Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.
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