Jun 28, 2015

REVIEW: ARISTOTLE AND DANTE DISCOVER THE SECRETS OF THE UNIVERSE by Benjamin Alire Saenz

12000020Aristotle 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.

NON SPOILERISH PART OF THE REVIEW:
To be careful with people and with words was a rare and beautiful thing.
I have to be honest. When everyone was gushing about this book last year, all I could think about was "How a book about two boys being friends can be that good? They must be exaggerating."
I hate over-hyped books. I tend to wait until the buzz dies before venturing into the story. With this book I didn't.
I don't regret it. Not a little bit. It deserved all the hype it got.
I hated being volunteered. The problem with my life was that it was someone else's idea.
The writing was exquisite. It was a work of art. It was poetry. It was perfect, yet simple and engaging. It was addictive.
Another secret of the universe: Sometimes pain was like a storm that came out of nowhere. The clearest summer could end in a downpour. Could end in lightning and thunder.
I had a feeling there was something wrong with me. I guess I was a mystery even to myself.
I loved that the story was character driven since it showed better Ari´s emotional growth. I connected with him deeply, and I feel like I got to know him really well.
The thing is, Ari is the kind of boy you shouldn't like because he's a jerk. You can't help but love him, even if he's so angry at the world. You want him to find his HEA, because he's just confused and he deserves to be happy!
He's a good guy at heart.
But love was always something heavy for me. Something I had to carry.

Words were different when they lived inside of you.

SPOILERISH PART OF THE REVIEW:
This is a teenager´s struggle to come to terms with his sexuality, his journey towards acceptance. He finds his way in life, and accepts himself as he is.
The thing I loved the most is that you realize Ari's true feelings, and his sexual orientation, alongside him. It's a coming of age story where it almost seems like you're experimenting all these things with Ari.
I had learned to hide what I felt. No, that's not true. There was no learning involved. I had been born knowing how to hide what I felt.

Maybe we just lived between hurting and healing.

The summer sun was not meant for boys like me. Boys like me belonged to the rain.
What I liked the most was that they became friends first, and then lovers. I watched them grow and I LOVED THEM BOTH. As individuals. And once they got together? I loved them even more. The thing about this book is that the tension is palpable throughout the whole book, and just at the last minute, at the last page, at the last paragraph, everything comes together. It's beautiful.
I wanted to tell them that I'd never had a friend, not ever, not a real one. Until Dante. I wanted to tell them that I never knew that people like Dante existed in the world, people who looked at the stars, and knew the mysteries of water, and knew enough to know that birds belonged to the heavens and weren't meant to be shot down from their graceful flights by mean and stupid boys. I wanted to tell them that he had changed my life and that I would never be the same, not ever. And that somehow it felt like it was Dante who had saved my life and not the other way around. I wanted to tell them that he was the first human being aside from my mother who had ever made me want to talk about the things that scared me. I wanted to tell them so many things and yet I didn't have the words. So I just stupidly repeated myself. "Dante's my friend."
His family was super supportive, they had a great dynamic.The fact that they were latinos was executed beautifully, and I say this being latina so, job well done Benjamin Alire Saenz!
Sometimes, you do things and you do them not because you're thinking but because you're feeling. Because you're feeling too much. And you can't always control the things you do when you're feeling too much.
I bet you could sometimes find all the mysteries of the universe in someone's hand.
How could I have ever been ashamed of loving Dante Quintana?



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