Thursday, September 19, 2013

Review: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

Title: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe
Author: Benjamin Alire Saenz
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Genre: YA, LGBT, Contemporary Fiction
Rating: 4/5

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.

Review: Well, first of all...COVER LOVE! I am so glad I got this hardback copy of the book because the cover is truly just gorgeous. That being said, I had mixed feelings about this book that turned into an overwhelming like, as I got towards the end.

No one can debate that the writing in this book is absolutely phenomenal. There is a certain kind of poetry to the words, and how they they on the page. While beautiful, I found that it took me quite a while to actually get into the book itself. I really think it had a lot to do with tone and narration. I wasn't instantaneously in love with the protagonist and it took a while for him to grow on me. Aristotle is a complicated character and his complexity only ever really became endearing to me through the second half of the book. Dante, on the other hand, was so sweet and likeable...almost tragic in a way.

The story of Dante and Aristotle's friendship grew in a natural pace, and their transition from young boys to teens was illustrated perfectly. That is not to say that the book had no issues. For me, it was really difficult to picture this story happening in the late 1980's. Nothing really put the story into that time period, other than Ari's father being a Vietnam War veteran, which I truly feel could have been adapted to a more modern conflict without issue. The attitudes and tolerant nature of the majority of the characters were certainly not common in the 80's, and it was a bit unbelievable.

Overall though, the ending of this book made the entire story so worth it and really, who doesn't love a good payoff? Without giving anything away, I'd have to say that the ending pretty much justified the indifferent attitude of Ari throughout the book. A solid, quick read.

Goodreads | Amazon

4/5 teapots

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