Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

Monday, November 03, 2014

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe
Author: Benjamin Alire Saenz
Published by: Simon and Schuster

Aristotle, Ari, is a lonely, 15 year old boy living in El Paso when he meets Dante. Ari, who's always been angry and self-deprecating, is immediately drawn to Dante's confidence and the optimistic way he looks at the world. Spending the entire summer together, the two friends become close. When Ari saves Dante's life their relationship gets complicated but they both realize that now they're in each other's lives forever.

I always have a soft spot in my heart for Young Adult books that tackle complex adult subjects. I also love me a good melancholy tone. With Aristotle and Dante, Saenz does both.

Being able to relate to a 15 year old boy who is angry at the world was a lot easier than I thought it would be. I was an angsty teenager myself with tons of attitude and a very bleak outlook on life. I didn't fit in, thought that most of what the "cool" kids were doing was stupid, and even then my patience was little more than zero.

I read the entire book in one sitting but it isn't action packed with spies or guns. It's interesting in the way that life is interesting. In small moments that you witness and commit to memory. In the way someone you've never met before can have such a quick impact on your life. It's interesting because you can relate to Ari. You can remember what it was like to not fit in, to not understand all the changes your body, your mind, your family go through when you're at such an in-between age.

It's interesting because sometimes not even parents have all the right answers. So all you can really do is learn to listen, love, and accept yourself. It's going to be hard, it's going to take patience and practice but really what better feeling in the world is there to finally be content and happy with who you've become? And it's even better when you finally meet someone who not only understands you but who loves you even when you don't.

I give this book 4 out of 5 cateyes.

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