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Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe Kindle Edition
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|Length: 369 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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|Age Level: 12 - 99|
|Grade Level: 7 - 9|
- Book 1 of 1 in Aristotle and Dante
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* "A tender, honest exploration of identity and sexuality, and a passionate reminder that love—whether romantic or familial—should be open, free, and without shame." (Publishers Weekly, starred review )
* "Authentic teen and Latino dialogue should make it a popular choice." (School Library Journal, starred review )
* "Meticulous pacing and finely nuanced characters underpin the author's gift for affecting prose that illuminates the struggles within relationships." (Kirkus Reviews, starred review )
"Sáenez writes toward the end of the novel that “to be careful with people and words was a rare and beautiful thing.” And that’s exactly what Sáenez does—he treats his characters carefully, giving them space and time to find their place in the world, and to find each other...those struggling with their own sexuality may find it to be a thought-provoking read." (Booklist )
"Sáenz 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 )
"Ari’s first-person narrative—poetic, philosophical, honest—skillfully develops the relationship between the two boys from friendship to romance." (The Horn Book )
"Primarily a character- and relationship-driven novel, written with patient and lyrical prose that explores the boys’ emotional lives with butterfly-wing delicacy."--Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"Sáenz is a master at capturing the conversation of teens with each other and with the adults in their lives." (Library Media Connection, Recommended )
"This book took my breath away. What gorgeous writing, and what a story! I loved both these boys. And their parents! Don't we all wish we had parents like theirs? The ending - and the way it unfolded - was so satisfying. I could go on and on...suffice it to say I will be highly recommending it to one and all. I'm sure I'll reread it myself at some point. I hated having it end." (James Howe, Author of Addie on the Inside )
"I’m absolutely blown away. This is Saenz's best work by far...It’s a beautiful story, so beautifully told and so psychologically acute! Both Ari and Dante are simply great characters who will live on in my memory. Everything about the book is absolutely pitch perfect...It’s already my favorite book of the year!" (Michael Cart, Booklist columnist and YALSA past president )
“Benjamin Alire Saenz is a writer with a sidewinder punch. Spare sentences connect resonant moments, and then he knocks you down with emotional truth. The story of Ari and Dante’s friendship widens and twists like a river, revealing truths about how hard love is, how family supports us, and how painfully deep you have to go to uncover an authentic self.” (Judy Blundell, National Book Award-winning author of What I Saw and How I Lied )
- Publication Date : February 21, 2012
- File Size : 4857 KB
- Print Length : 369 pages
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Publisher : Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers; Reprint Edition (February 21, 2012)
- Enhanced Typesetting : Enabled
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Language: : English
- ASIN : B0055OJC78
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #30,485 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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One thing that impressed me about this story was the nuance in the relationship between Ari and Dante. There's so many subtle moments in their friendship that it wasn't until the very end of the book when I realised how things would turn out. Ari himself wasn't sure how he felt, and the reader wasn't always sure either. I've rarely seen a friendship with so much depth.
This was a contemporary gay YA novel featuring Mexican-American teenage boys. It was a very fast read, with many many very short chapters - I have a weakness for short chapters, so I liked this a lot.
It had wonderful characterization, and angsty teens who came across as actual angsty teens and not some sort of novelistic cliché. I especially loved that (minor spoiler at the end*) - I had that experience (with being trans) where other people knew before I did, and it is not something I see in fiction a lot. I also liked that the parents were well-rounded people and characters in their own right.
I also really liked the cover and the fact that 1. there was calligraphy on the cover 2. the calligrapher was credited (Sarah Jane Coleman).
But there was one part where I did feel that the book kicked me in the jaw, and not in a good sense. This is a major spoiler, and it is about anti-trans hate crimes:
(spoilers from here onward)
The crime that the protagonist's older brother is jailed for is revealed toward the end as.... he killed a trans woman ("transvestite" - sic) sex worker in what seemed to have been a "trans panic" episode. Now. It is made amply clear throughout the book that the brother committed a real crime, so I was glad that it was revealed to be a real crime and he wasn't innocent. BUT. The fact that a lot of the plot involves the family coming to terms with his being in prison, AND the fact that out of ALL possible crimes, the author had to choose this one, really made me feel uncomfortable. I will also probably not pick up the upcoming sequel, because I really don't want to see more 'coming to terms with' with that. This was just one paragraph in the book, but it really soured me on it. Without this paragraph, it would have been an easy five stars... but this changed the interpretation of an entire plotline, and in a way that felt gratuitious to me, especially seeing as this was the only time trans people appeared in the novel.
and the minor spoiler from above:
* - one of the characters had to be cluebatted about being gay
My usual disclaimer about where I got this book: I bought this one with my own money.
All the feels. So, so many feels. This story was so profound. I felt like I was Aristotle, or Ari to his friends. He was a lonely, lonely boy, and though I had good friends--great friends growing up, I remember feeling such an aching loneliness at times. I also remember being caught in my own private wars and living inside my head, keeping so many of my thoughts to myself.
Ari was a beautiful boy who was confused not only about himself, but about the entirety of his family. His father returned from the Vietnam war a shell of his former self--not that Ari would know that because he was born after his father returned from the war. It was as if whatever haunted his father was inherited by Ari. He grew up being so bothered by the fact that he didn't know his father because he wouldn't let anyone in. He grew up as practically an only child because his siblings were so much older than him. He grew up hating that his brother, who was in prison, was treated as though he didn't exist. He hated that there were so many secrets in his family, yet he didn't want to share any of his secrets either. There was so much anger and confusion roiling around inside of Ari. And it really came through in the writing. I just wanted to hug him, and I remember being him.
And then Dante came into his life. Dante was such a polar opposite of Ari, but like a light in the otherwise darkness of Ari's mind. They were a strange pair, Aristotle and Dante, but they fit so perfectly together. Dante taught Ari to swim, and became Ari's first ever real friend, let alone best friend. He immersed Ari int art, and books, and a different family life than he was familiar with. Dante made Ari feel things that he didn't want to. He made Dante want to share his mind, which was something Ari just didn't do.
Watching them fall in love... It was amazing and beautifully written. This was like a slice-of-life, but with a plot. I wasn't always certain they were falling in love. The author, in my opinion, keep me wondering. I figured Dante out pretty easily, but Ari, as Dante called him, was "inscrutable". Just when I thought maybe he returned Dante's feelings I was like, oh maybe not. Even when Dante was beaten badly enough to be hospitalized, and Ari found out one of the boys who had done it, he went ballistic and returned the favor to the little punk. Maybe I'm just clueless, but I certainly would destroy anyone who hurt my bestie, and I would definitely have pushed her out of the way of a moving vehicle. That's what besties do, or at least I thought so. Which is why it made sense to me when Ari continually said he hadn't done it on purpose, it had just been a reflex. Protecting people you love-no matter the manner of love--is a reflex. You don't think about it, you just do it. I honestly believed for the longest time, that Ari loved Dante as a friend. Their experimental kiss threw me off because the author tried very hard to make the romantic feelings seem one-sided...or as I said, I'm just clueless.
I'm not doing very well on this review. This book has got me shooketh. It was just a beautiful story, and I loved every page of it! It was sad and funny and exciting and heartbreaking. Dude, this book made me cry. Not full-on ugly cry, but I got misty and that's a good as tears when it comes to me. This book also triggered me a bit. But it was a me-thing. I was reminded, every time Ari thought about his father, of how much I miss mine. And like with many other books on my shelves, I can't believe it took me so long to read this.
Top reviews from other countries
That's all it took, the first sentence of this beautiful poetical book for me to fall in love with it.
The thing about this book, unlike so many others that I have read, I could relate to it very much. I laughed, I cried, and when I had finished it, I started the book again. Never have I re-read a book just after that I have finished it. Never. And I have read a few books. But this was something else. This was a book that I could open on a day I felt sad, and was convinced the world was against me, and it could make me smile and let me know that i would be okay, that there were going to be bad days, but there would also be good ones.
This is a beautiful book, which I know I will pick up over and over again, just to get that feeling of warmth through me.
If they gave me a chance to read a book for the first time again, it would be this one.
This is a very easy, charming book about 2 15 years old boys who are very good friends and the adventures they go through. They are really different from each other, but at the same time they are so loyal to each other, recognizing and appreciating their differences and what they love about each other. I thought it was a very heartwarming story reminding us real love and friendship. So, I would definitely recommend reading it. Or listening if you have Audible. It was fantastic!
The book is easy to get absorbed in, I also listened to parts and Lin-Manuel’s voice brings to life these young Mexican boys, you can almost imagine them being real life people. It brings together so many themes seamlessly from growing up, family, mental health and LGBQ, and woven a perfect story out of it.
Saenz has developed 2 main characters that you fall in love with and want the best for, their friendship is such a key factor in the book and they influence each other positively. The act that binded Aristotle and Dante together was so real you could visualise it happening.
The other positive aspect of the book is the 2 sets of parents. Aristotle’s parents although they have flaws and secrets themselves, are always there for Ari no matter what and want him to be happy and simply to have friends. Dante’s parents are accepting both of Dante and Ari and their love shines through the book.
I loved this book and would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a young adult read about growing up with some LGBQ themes.
Aristotle, known generally as Ari, is miserable. Its summer and he doesn't have any friends. He's the sort of character who chooses to be aloof and distant from people. He doesn't seem to want any friends. But one morning he goes swimming and meets Dante Quintana. Dante offers to teach Ari to swim and perhaps because they share "weighty" names or perhaps because of Dante's laugh, Ari accepts. It's the beginning of a friendship which fills the book.
There is drama in this book. Great big, undeniably huge plot turns. I don't want to give too much away about those but for a book which is essentially about getting to the heart of a character, it really does surprise you with action. That being so, it is a reflective book. Ari succumbs to bouts of melancholy. He's in limbo. He's no longer a boy but not yet a man. He lacks control of in life - his mother is often telling him what he should be doing. He still has to go to school and at a later stage he gets a job. He's also divided by cultures - he's Mexican living in America and although Ari feels he is truly Mexican, Dante is constantly seeking to be more so.
This novel is in part about growing into the person you want to be or rather realising who you are and being happy about it. But it's also about communication. Ari's father is a war veteran and keeps his son at a painful distance. Ari desperately wants to know more about his father and to share his pain. Ari also wants to speak about his older brother who is not around. But neither his mother nor father is willing to do so. In contrast to this fragile code of silence, is Dante. Dante who never shuts up, who is stubborn as hell, who lives with his heart on his face, who is impulsive and wonderfully alive.The relationship between the two boys is touching. It's complicated but it's meaningful.
The chapters of this book are really short. I read this book in two days and I am so glad that I bought it. The title captured my attention and it won an award in the US recently so I figured it was worth taking a chance on it. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe is a rewarding, heart-warming read. The writing is exquisite. Yes, I am definitely more than a little in love with this book. I can't wait to read something else by Benjamin Alire Sáenz.
I enjoyed this book, but I didn't absolutely love it. I expect this book was still just too overhyped for me as I had expected something much more from this. I had a love hate relationship with the characters, and this is where many of my problems with this story started. First off, I didn't like Ari for the first two thirds of the novel. I found him irritating, immature (in comparison to Dante) and just totally lacking any likeable features. He acts like the world owes him something and I found it hard not to imagine him as just some spoilt little brat. This did change towards the end of the book, which was nice to see as I enjoyed watching his character develop. I didn't totally buy his character change though, simply because his parents and Dante's parents seemed to push him into who he was, and he just suddenly jumped and accepted their view and went along with it, as if everything was all now puppies and rainbows.
Now for what I liked about this novel, of which there are many things. First of all, I absolutely adored Dante and I'm not sure what he saw in Ari to be honest. Dante is just an adorable character, I loved reading about him as his personality really shined. Dante is that gay best friend that I'd love to have in my life.
I also really enjoyed reading about Legs, Dante's family and Ari's family. It was so refreshing to read a book that had such an extensive family life portrayal in it. I love Ari's mum and dad, and found it interesting to learn about all their family secrets and what made them the way they are.
Everything felt so rounded off beautifully in this story, and I love it when there are no loose ends. I did find the ending a little too rushed though.
This book covers LGBT topics in a really great way, and I loved the whole message behind the narrative, which I believe puts out such a strong positive message to people who read this book. I also love how race was discussed on a regular basis, though I think this could have perhaps been developed a little more.
Finally, the chapters in this book are wonderfully short. I enjoy books with short chapters as I feel like I'm making progress so much faster. I do think that this made the story feel a little too choppy at times though. Also, I would have loved to also get the story from Dante's perspective as I think this could have really developed the novel more and made it even more interesting and insightful.
Overall, this is a wonderful book that I highly recommend to everyone. I do think you should exercise caution though, over the fact that this book is just too overhyped.