Monday, September 1, 2014

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

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.

Beth says 5 Stars...
Increasing diversity in YA books has been at the center of a huge conversation and I admit to being guilty of not reading enough books by or about people of color. This book is one that proves we need diversity, because it is beautiful, complex, and different. This book wasn't trying to be diverse; it couldn't exist any other way. The fact that Ari and Dante are Mexican-American and that culture surrounds them is fundamental to the story and completely natural. There isn't much of a plot to the book, it's centered around little episodes in the characters' lives, but that doesn't really matter. It's so much more of a character study, examining the lives of these young men and those that surround them. What's also wonderful is Ari and Dante have such different life experiences, and the book highlights how they respond to the same events in, at times, opposite ways. All of this is helped by some absolutely beautiful prose. This book really isn't in my favorite genre, but I couldn't stop reading it because the words were so enchanting.

The characters are just wonderful. It's as if Ari, Dante, and their families could really exist and are probably still bowling, reading, and talking (or not, as the case may be). What's so brilliant is the depth given to all of the characters, Ari and Dante especially. Ari and Dante both have to come to terms with the fact that they're at the cusp of manhood and discovering their own identities. However, several other secondary characters, particularly the boys' parents, also get significant backstories. Ari's dad, never recovered from his time in the Vietnam war, grows and develops outside of his relationship with his son throughout the book. I don't know what else I can say except for these are some of the most wonderfully written characters I've read in a very long time.

All I can say is that this book is wonderful. It will make you think, feel, and appreciate the relationships around you. And maybe, just maybe, you'll be able to discover a few of the secrets of the universe yourself.
book from library


Kristan Sarah Stephanie Ingrid said...

OK, you've convinced us. We've had this on our radar for a while, but you just pushed us over the edge from Maybe to Definitely. Thanks!

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