Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe [NOOK Book]

Overview

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 ...
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Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

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Overview

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.

Winner of the 2013 Pura Belpré Author Award
Winner of the 2013 Stonewall Book Award for Children's and Young Adult Literature
Winner of the 2013 Lambda Literary Award for LBGT Children's/YA Literature
A 2013 Michael L. Printz Honor Book

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—In the summer of 1987 in El Paso, TX, two 15-year-old loners meet when Dante offers to teach Ari to swim, and they have a laugh over their unusual names. Though polar opposites in most aspects other than age and Mexican heritage, the teens form an instant bond and become inseparable. This poetic novel takes Ari, brooding and quiet, and with a brother in prison, and Dante, open and intellectual, through a year and a half of change, discovering secrets, and crossing borders from which there is no return. Two incidents, one in which Ari saves Dante's life and his family's temporary move to Chicago, help Dante understand that he is gay and in love with his friend. Yet, Ari can't cross that line, and not until Dante is hospitalized in a gay-bashing incident does he begin to realize the true depth of the love he has for him. With the help of his formerly distant, Vietnam-damaged father, Ari is finally able to shed his shame—the shame of his anger, of his incarcerated brother, of being different—and transition from boy to man. While this novel is a bit too literary at times for some readers, its authentic teen and Latino dialogue should make it a popular choice.—Betty S. Evans, Missouri State University, Springfield
Publishers Weekly
Fifteen-year-old Aristotle (Ari) has always felt lonely and distant from people until he meets Dante, a boy from another school who teaches him how to swim. As trust grows between the boys and they become friends (a first for Ari), Ari’s world opens up while they discuss life, art, literature, and their Mexican-American roots. Additionally, the influence of Dante’s warm, open family (they even have a “no secrets” rule) is shaping Ari’s relationship with his parents, particularly in regard to a family secret; Ari has an older brother in prison, who no one ever mentions. In a poetic coming-of-age story written in concise first-person narrative, Sáenz (Sammy and Juliana in Hollywood) crystallizes significant turning points in the boys’ relationship, especially as Ari comes to understand that Dante’s feelings for him extend beyond friendship. The story swells to a dramatic climax as Ari’s loyalties are tested, and he confronts his most deeply buried fears and desires. It’s 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. Ages 12–up. (Feb.)
Booklist
"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."
The Horn Book
"Ari’s first-person narrative—poetic, philosophical, honest—skillfully develops the relationship between the two boys from friendship to romance."
Library Media Connection
"Sáenz is a master at capturing the conversation of teens with each other and with the adults in their lives."
James Howe
"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."
Michael Cart
"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!"
Judy Blundell
“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.”
VOYA
"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."
From the Publisher
"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
Children's Literature - Peg Glisson
Fifteen-year-old Ari is a loner who is trying to figure out his place in the world when he meets Dante, a boy from another school. Despite their many economic, social, and personality differences, they quickly become best friends. It's complicated though; Ari wallows in his loneliness and anger caused by family secrets around his older brother who is in prison and his father's service in Vietnam. Dante, on the other hand, is outgoing, open, and erudite. The novel quietly and poetically explores family relationships, sexual and ethnic identity (both boys are Mexican Americans), heroism, PTSD, and drug and alcohol experimentation without being overwhelming. Ari narrates the story and it's easy to slide inside his mind as situations play out. He calls himself "inscrutable" and readily admits he doesn't understand himself—and neither does the reader who lives Ari's confusion, loneliness and anger throughout. Saenz never minimalizes or sensationalizes events and feelings; rather he quietly explores Ari's hesitant journey from childhood to manhood. Both boys have incredibly understanding parents, especially given that the story is set in Texas the 1980s. Otherwise characterizations are extremely well done, as is the novel's pacing. The book reads quickly, yet the reader feels suspended in time, living the year with Ari and Dante. As Ari confronts his deeply buried desires and fears, it's his parents who help him realize that making mistakes is part of life and encourage his taking off his self-imposed the blinders. As much about family, friendship, communication as it is about sexual identity, this is a truly powerful story. Reviewer: Peg Glisson
VOYA - Joanna Lima
Fifteen-year-old Aristotle "Ari" Mendoza prefers his own moodiness to the company of others. He is shadowed by memories of his incarcerated brother, of whom his parents never speak, while his father has nightmares of his service in the Vietnam War. In the heat of an El Paso summer, Ari unexpectedly makes a friend: Dante Quintana, an expressive boy who confesses to being crazy about his parents, swimming, art, and star-gazing. The boys hang out, explore their hometown, and—most importantly—laugh together. The Quintanas' easy family relationship helps Ari begin to understand the ghosts haunting his family, and the boys' parents also bond. The end of the summer is nearing when, in the midst of a rainstorm, Ari pushes Dante out of the path of an oncoming car, sustaining severe injuries himself. In the aftermath of the accident, as his body slowly heals, Ari wrestles with the meaning and consequences of his actions—what moved him to risk his life for Dante? How does saving a friend's life change the friendship? To answer his own questions, Ari must face the inevitability of growing from a boy to a man. Readers familiar with Dance on My Grave by Aidan Chambers (/Macmillan, 1983/VOYA October 1983) will find parallels in Saenz's novel. Dante and Ari are similar to Barry and Hal, though without their reckless behavior and unhealthy obsessions. Ultimately, 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. Reviewer: Joanna Lima
Kirkus Reviews
A boring summer stretches ahead of Ari, who at 15 feels hemmed in by a life filled with rules and family secrets. He doesn't know why his older brother is in prison, since his parents and adult sisters refuse to talk about it. His father also keeps his experience in Vietnam locked up inside. On a whim, Ari heads to the town swimming pool, where a boy he's never met offers to teach him to swim. Ari, a loner who's good in a fight, is caught off guard by the self-assured, artistic Dante. The two develop an easy friendship­, ribbing each other about who is more Mexican, discussing life's big questions, and wondering when they'll be old enough to take on the world. An accident near the end of summer complicates their friendship while bringing their families closer. Sáenz's interplay of poetic and ordinary speech beautifully captures this transitional time: " 'That's a very Dante question,' I said. 'That's a very Ari answer,' he said.… For a few minutes I wished that Dante and I lived in the universe of boys instead of the universe of almost-men." Plot elements come together at the midpoint as Ari, adding up the parts of his life, begins to define himself. Meticulous pacing and finely nuanced characters underpin the author's gift for affecting prose that illuminates the struggles within relationships. (Fiction. 14 & up)
The Barnes & Noble Review

"The problem with my life," says fifteeen-year-old Aristotle, called Ari, "was that it was someone else's idea." The "son of a man who had Vietnam living inside of him," and nearly a generation younger than his other siblings, one of whom has been imprisoned for a mysterious crime, Ari has grown up lonely and uncomfortable in his own skin. Even his mother, a warm, candid high school teacher who knows a bit about feeling like an outsider in her own community — "I'm an educated woman," she tells him, "That doesn't un-Mexicanize me" — can't seem to get him interested in spending time with other people.

But that all changes when Ari meets Dante in the public pool in El Paso, Texas in the summer of 1987. Like Ari, Dante is the son of educated Mexican-American parents (his father is a professor, his mother a therapist) who don't quite fit any more within their own families. But while Ari often turns his discomfort to rage; Dante isn't afraid to read poetry in public and to cry over dead birds. "He looked a little fragile — but he wasn't," says Ari. "He was disciplined and tough and knowledgeable and he didn't pretend to be stupid and ordinary?. Until Dante, being with other people was the hardest thing in the world for me. But Dante made talking and living and feeling seem like all those things were perfectly natural."

After the summer, the two boys spend a year apart, and Ari begins to feel that his friendship with Dante might cause him more discomfort than it alleviates. But he realizes that, in order to grow up, he needs to finally get along in the company of others: "Man loneliness was much bigger than boy loneliness," he says. "I didn't want to live in my parents' world and I didn't have a world of my own." Saenz, the author of many novels and poetry collections for both adults and teens, uses expansive language and a subtle plot to show how two boys become men by creating a world they can live in.

Amy Benfer has worked as an editor and staff writer at Salon, Legal Affairs, and Paper magazine. Her reviews and features on books have appeared in Salon, The San Francisco Chronicle Book Review, The Believer, Kirkus Reviews, and The New York Times Book Review.

Reviewer: Amy Benfer

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781442408944
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
  • Publication date: 2/21/2012
  • Sold by: SIMON & SCHUSTER
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 21,384
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Benjamin Alire Sáenz is an author of poetry and prose for adults and teens. He is the winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award and the American Book Award for his books for adults. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe was a Printz Honor Book, the Stonewall Award winner, the Pura Belpre Award winner, the Lambda Literary Award winner, and a finalist for the Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award. His first novel for teens, Sammy and Juliana in Hollywood, was an ALA Top Ten Book for Young Adults and a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. His second book for teens, He Forgot to Say Goodbye, won the Tomás Rivera Mexican American Children’s Book Award, the Southwest Book Award, and was named a New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age. He teaches creative writing at the University of Texas, El Paso.
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Read an Excerpt


One

ONE SUMMER NIGHT I FELL ASLEEP, HOPING THE WORLD would be different when I woke. In the morning, when I opened my eyes, the world was the same. I threw off the sheets and lay there as the heat poured in through my open window.

My hand reached for the dial on the radio. “Alone” was playing. Crap, “Alone,” a song by a group called Heart. Not my favorite song. Not my favorite group. Not my favorite topic. “You don’t know how long . . .”

I was fifteen.

I was bored.

I was miserable.

As far as I was concerned, the sun could have melted the blue right off the sky. Then the sky could be as miserable as I was.

The DJ was saying annoying, obvious things like, “It’s summer! It’s hot out there!” And then he put on that retro Lone Ranger tune, something he liked to play every morning because he thought it was a hip way to wake up the world. “Hi-yo, Silver!” Who hired this guy? He was killing me. I think that as we listened to the William Tell Overture, we were supposed to be imagining the Lone Ranger and Tonto riding their horses through the desert. Maybe someone should have told that guy that we all weren’t ten-year-olds anymore. “Hi-yo, Silver!” Crap. The DJ’s voice was on the airwaves again: “Wake up, El Paso! It’s Monday, June fifteenth, 1987! 1987! Can you believe it? And a big ‘Happy Birthday’ goes out to Waylon Jennings, who’s fifty years old today!” Waylon Jennings? This was a rock station, dammit! But then he said something that hinted at the fact that he might have a brain. He told the story about how Waylon Jennings had survived the 1959 plane crash that killed Buddy Holly and Richie Valens. On that note, he put on the remake of “La Bamba” by Los Lobos.

“La Bamba.” I could cope with that.

I tapped my bare feet on the wood floor. As I nodded my head to the beat, I started wondering what had gone through Richie Valens’s head before the plane crashed into the unforgiving ground. Hey, Buddy! The music’s over.

For the music to be over so soon. For the music to be over when it had just begun. That was really sad.

© 2012 Benjamin Alire SÁenz

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 29 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(26)

4 Star

(3)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 29 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 1, 2012

    Best book ever

    I devoured the entire book in less than 24 hours. Ive never been so cptivated by a book that it changed my whole take on life. BEST BOOK YOU WILL EVER READ! SO READ IT!!!!!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 1, 2014

    This book was truly beautiful. I was not concerned where it woul

    This book was truly beautiful. I was not concerned where it would end, because I just loved reading the words on the page in front of me.
    Even more, the dialogue made the whole piece flow, because it was not plagued with "he said." More importantly, I felt very comfortable reading this book because there were no glaring explicit events, yet in no way was it an easy or young read. For those who enjoy quality writing and have been bored with dystopian futures, please read. :)

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 27, 2013

    I had to give myself some space from this novel after I finished

    I had to give myself some space from this novel after I finished it because I was so floored. I’m still not sure I can capture exactly how it made me feel or how much I loved it.

    Aristotle, or Ari, is angsty and confused. He’s angry that his parents won’t talk to him about his brother, who’s in prison. He’s also a loner, never feeling like he quite fits in with other boys. Dante is a brilliant boy who tries to look on the brighter side of life. The two seem to have nothing in common, but learn a lot about themselves through their friendship. Ari and Dante are the kinds of characters that feel very real and jump off the page, but you would be hard-pressed to find real people like them. I loved the literary references, commentaries on different aspects of life, and their parents. It’s so easy to find YA books with parents who are either never around or are unsupportive. Ari and Dante have wonderful parents who love them, talk to them, and want them to be happy. I wish everyone could have parents like them. The writing was so beautiful that I immediately wanted to read everything Saenz has ever written. I liked that the LGBT elements weren’t of the in-your-face variety. It’s just genuine. I also loved their struggle with where they stand as Americans and Mexicans. It was so refreshing to read about these topics when they’re handled subtly and well. This book definitely deserves all of the acclaim and awards. The narration was good, but I had to let it grow on me. I wasn’t sure about his voice in the beginning. After listening to nearly the entire book in one sitting, his voices became the characters’ voices to me. I’m already re-reading this one in print to pick up on any quotes I might want to tag and I can still hear the narrator’s voices in my head.

    Go read this book now!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 14, 2014

    Loved it. Doesn't have needless sappy drama like other YA books.

    Loved it. Doesn't have needless sappy drama like other YA books. I finished it in 2 days because I simply could not stop my self from reading it. I bought this on a whim and it was the best decision, you will not regret reading this story.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2014

    This book has left me speechless. The author is truly amazing wi

    This book has left me speechless. The author is truly amazing with his words and the story is unforgettable. It's truly a book to read over and over again. I'm in love with this work and I can't believe I didn't read it sooner. I finished this book in 12 hours, crying all the while.
    The characters are real and funny, they're sarcastic and full of wit. They are so much more than I had ever expected from this book. 
    This book made my heart ache more than any other book I've ever read, and I've read The Fault in Our Stars and many other ones of the sort.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 9, 2013

    ¿Title: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

    ¿Title: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

    Author: Benjamin Alire Saenz

    ¿Genre: fiction

    Review: 

    Okay, this novel wins the "longest-book-title" award hands down. What a mouthful to say--really, say it out loud now. Aristotle. And.
    Dante. Discover. The. Secrets. Of. The. Universe. Okay, I'm done talking about the book's title and am ready to actually talk about the
    contents itself.

    I found the main character, Aristotle (also known as Ari) to be intriguing. He's only fifteen years old yet he already feels like an old man.
    He's a loner, but he doesn't get bullied because he can fight good enough to defend himself, but that doesn't mean he has friends
    either. Ari feels that he has life basically figured out: it sucked. At least that's the way his summer his looking so far until he meets
    Dante at the community pool.

    Ari can't swim. Dante can. Dante's also friendly, brave, smart and quirky. Ari accepts Dante's offer to teach him how to swim and they
     quickly befriend each other. There really is not "climax" of the book (unless maybe if you count Ari getting severely injured to push Dante
     out of the way of an out of control truck...but that happens like 1/3 into the novel so I don't think that's the climax). I think the plot of
    Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe is more of a slow burn type of plot. What I mean is that the novel is engaging
    enough so that it keeps you flipping the pages and then the tension increases some, and some more and some more until you HAVE
    to finish the book. (Fast burn plots are are-on-the-edge-of-your-seat pacing.)

    The writing was beautiful. Sure Ari is a somewhat troubled kid and may drop a few swears here and there...yet many of the chapters are
     very poetic. Does that even make sense? Poetic swearing? Another thing about this book--the chapters are short. Like short shorts
    short. But I think it suits the book perfectly because each chapter tells a story. The story may be as big as describing an important event
    , or as small as conveying an emotion to the reader.

    This book is definitely a coming of age novel as the two boys struggle to discover themselves and find their place in the world. Here are
     some of my favorite quotes from the book:

    "That afternoon, I learned two new words. 'Inscrutable.' And 'friend.' Words are different when they lived inside of you."
    "I returned to the book of poems. I read a  line and tried to understand it: 'from what we cannot hold the stars are made.' It was a
    beautiful thing to say, but I didn't know what it meant."
    "If I switched the letter my name [Ari] was Air. I thought it might be a great thing to be the air. I could be something and nothing at the
     same time. I could be necessary and also invisible. Everyone would need me and no one would be able to see me."

    Likes:
    *touching story of friendship
    *many life lessons
    *interesting characters
    *unexpected twist at the end
    *friendship between Dante and Ari can be relatable (like when you share an inside joke with a friend and both burst out laughing when you see something that triggers it)

    Dislikes:
    *how the characters often repeated each others words

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 16, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    If I had to use one word to describe this book it would be beaut

    If I had to use one word to describe this book it would be beautiful. The story, the characters, everything. This is not my usual kind of book and it's the first time I've read anything dealing with this particular issue but I feel like Sáenz handled it flawlessly.

    The first thing I fell in love with was the writing. It's the kind of writing that I want to endlessly gush about it. Sáenz has a talent for conveying an overwhelming amount of emotion in very few words. His simple prose and utilization of short sentences and chapters is usually not the kind of writing that works for me, but his writing is so lyrical and evocative that I was instantly engaged and couldn't stop reading until I was done. His is the kind of writing that gives you the sense that every word was selected with great love and care.

    The second thing I fell in love with was Ari, and through his narration I fell in love with all the other characters as well, from Dante to the dog Legs. It was so easy for me to relate to Ari, despite the fact that we have nothing in common other than an overwhelming sense of loneliness. In a lot of ways he reminded me of Holden Caulfield of The Catcher in the Rye, who is one of my favorite narrator's ever. Ari's mind and narration is honest, thoughtful and of course beautiful. It is also brutally painful and caused me to have all sorts of aching emotions. Honestly, as I was reading I felt like I was growing up right alongside Ari.

    Dante and both sets of parents are also lovely. While the book is told exclusively from Ari's POV, it is so easy to feel as if you understand Dante and the parents just as well as you do Ari by the end of it. Sáenz developed all of his characters masterfully and there is not a one who is not a complexly layered fully developed individual. So often in first person narrations the secondary characters do not get the development they deserve but that never becomes an issue here.

    However it is the relationships that are hands down the best part of this book. Dante and Ari's friendship is completely organic and realistic. The love the parents have for their sons, their insight and understanding of these boys made my heart melt because they are the truest child/parent relationships I've ever read.

    This really was one of the most honest, thoughtful, and genuinely realistic books about the importance of family, love and finding yourself that I've ever had the pleasure of reading. This is the book that should be studied in every high school and I will be recommending it to everyone I know until they all read it.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 14, 2014

    Amazing

    This one of the best books ive ever read. Its truely amazing and beautifully written.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 8, 2014

    The best book I ever read!!!!!

    The best book I ever read!!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 20, 2014

    Incredible

    I picked up the book and thought it would be something about philosophy. I was half wrong. It wasn't about the historical philosophers but I was pleasantly surprised. This book makes you think and has a new take on philosophy. I found myself able to relate to the main characters and I really liked how it was written. The main characters were beautiful developed and the story was incredible. I'm so happy I read it.

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  • Posted August 19, 2014

    My favorite book in the universe. Really, so beautiful and tende

    My favorite book in the universe. Really, so beautiful and tender and I just love all the characters, even Legs and Fidel. 

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 3, 2014

    I want to start by saying this... If you are part of the LGBTQ,

    I want to start by saying this... If you are part of the LGBTQ, if you are an ally, if you are straight, if you are trapped in the "ecotone" of gender identity... I urge you, do yourself a favor and read it... It definitely won't be a waste of your time... This book deserved it all: the hype, the awards, all of it if not much more...

     Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe is a coming-of-age story that is told mostly from the point of Aristotle as he goes into a deep and thoughtful exploration of discovering his identity and coming to terms with his own sexuality. Along the journey he meets Dante, another boy who seems to be nothing like him. It was that fateful encounter that changed everything and we are then entertained with a story of discovery, friendship, family and love...

    I really loved the way this book was written. Some chapters were really short (just a portion of the page with a few dialogues). Yet, I still felt it was very lush with just the right amount of details. The prose and dialogues, were so simple yet so good, I would go so far as to call it lyrical at most. I had to stop reading this book at times because it was just that good and it kept tugging hard at my emotions. It was very easy to get lost in this book. There were a lot of times while I was reading this book, that I had some "Eureka!" moments wherein I needed to stop a bit just to completed absorb all the profoundness that is hidden within  the very straightforward and honest way it was presented. 

    Personally, I don't know if I've connected and empathized more with any other characters other than Ari and Dante. Everything seems so real and the writing just seems to resonate with something I know I've struggled with in the past. I guess I should have expected much when I read the dedication: "To all the boys who've had to learn to play by different rules...". This book turned me into a blubbering mess and still, I loved it. Everything about this book was beautiful: the cover, the characters, the love,the story, and the writing style. This is definitely one of my best reads of the year... ♥♥♥

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 9, 2014

    Very good, short, easy read.

    Very good book, great characters, was somewhat upset at abrupt ending. Would love a follow up book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 6, 2014

    This book was completely amazing. I had heard of it before and r

    This book was completely amazing. I had heard of it before and randomly decided to purchase it, and I must say that I have absolutely no regrets. I'm so glad that I read it sooner rather than later. An excellent book that I highly recommend!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 27, 2014

    Possibly the best book I've ever read. I read it so quickly and

    Possibly the best book I've ever read. I read it so quickly and was in tears for the most part. GAHHHH it was just too good. Definitely recommend.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 24, 2014

    An Amazing Story

    This story is so lovely and just impossible NOT to love. Aristotle is a young man who is constantly searching for something to fill his angry voice. Then comes in comes Dante and shows him a path he'd never even dreamed of taking before.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 5, 2013

    Detailed, entertaining, funny, and beautifully written. A great

    Detailed, entertaining, funny, and beautifully written. A great story for teenagers and parents. A must read!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 15, 2013

    One of the best books I've ever read!

    One of the best books I've ever read!

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  • Posted June 18, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    this book was awesome and unforgettable.  i loved reading about

    this book was awesome and unforgettable.  i loved reading about Ari's and Dante's developing and blossoming friendship and enjoyed staying with Ari as he grew up and discovered so many things about his life.  there were some great lines in this novel; some were funny while others were sobering.  i highly recommend this book to anyone- it is a great story about friendship, life, and growing up and discovering yourself.  bravo to Benjamin Alire Sáenz!

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  • Posted May 21, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    AudioBook Review:  The award winning author Benjamin Alire S

    AudioBook Review: 




    The award winning author Benjamin Alire Sáenz, has crafted a thoughtful story, that starts a bit slowly, but each and every sentence is important, and brings a sense of the characters as they are introduced.  Patience is rewarded, the characters grown and change as they learn about each other and the reader learns about them. While not linear, the point of view narration does jump about as one thought leads in to another, that quiet interior contemplation that we all understand but never voice.








    Aristotle is a darker, more reserved kid: he’s thoughtful with a pessimistic outlook on the eventual outcome of situations.  Dante is far lighter, one who (in the author’s words) is not good at keeping all of his laughter inside.  Dante is truly the more intellectual of the two: sharing poetry and authors, ideas and concepts, all delivered in his perfectly constructed English.  Ari is far more insecure, holding secrets closely and often amazed at the honesty Dante displays, insists on in living his life. 




    As a coming of age story, set in the ‘new revised rules’ of summer this is a wonderful story that encompasses friendship and forgiveness, deals with issues of race identification, sexuality and even self-confidence as the two come to appreciate one another, and form true bonds.   




    The narration, provided by Lin-Manuel Miranda is wonderful, small distinctions in cadence delineate the characters and without great fuss, the characters of Ari and Dante are unique and instantly recognizable.  His clear enunciation and smooth delivery provide the listener the ability to listen to the words being spoken, incorporate their meaning and flow, rather than be distracted by overly exaggerated characterizations. 




    I thoroughly enjoyed this book – a winner for parents and teens alike.  And, while the main characters and issues are fairly specific, the story is not ‘just for boys’. There is something for everyone, and it is wrapped in a story that is very compelling, and suited to that time, when you are 15 and not really a “person” yet.   




    I received the audiobook version from the publisher via AudioBook Jukebox for purpose of honest review as part of the Heard Word.  I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility. 

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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