Monday, October 20, 2014

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

 Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

 Author: Benjamin Alire Sáenz
Pages: 359
Challenge: Goodreads Challenge 2014
Genre: Contemporary
Acquired: Library
Rating: ★★★


Goodreads Summary:

A lyrical novel about family and friendship from critically acclaimed author Benjamin Alire Sáenz.

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.


 My Thoughts:

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe is told from the POV of Aristotle (Ari). This book is more of a coming of age story about a teenage boy and how he comes to understand the meaning of life rather than your typical contemporary novel. With strong focuses on family and friendship, this book was an incredible account on the pressures and the uncontrollable nature life and the surprises it brings.

Although Ari is one of those characters that you grow to love, in the beginning it was hard for me to understand him well enough to connect with him. His negative nature in the beginning made it difficult to want to get to know him as a character. Dante, on the other hand, was completely lovable from the moment he was introduced. I found myself loving all the characters in this book especially Dante's parents. I even loved Legs!

I liked the realistic elements and problems the characters faced in this book like bullying, moving states, and acceptance. All very strong issues in this book that made the story even more powerful. All the problems the characters faced were believable and allowed the reader to better connect to the story's message because of how most can relate with common issues such as bullying.

I was very pleased that Ari changed throughout the novel for the better and I thoroughly enjoyed reading his story and how different events that happened in his life went into shaping his character and personality. I really loved that this story wasn't what I had originally expected it to be. It was better I feel to go into this story blind, you get more out of it that way. I feared that the hype would kill my love for the book by setting my expectations too high, but for me the hype was rightfully deserved!

My favorite scene had to be Ari's recovery. It put a lot into perspective and allowed me to understand why he behaved as he did. I liked the friendship between Ari and Dante the most.... Duh lol.... it's the main focus of the story's plot. I liked the bullying aspect least for obvious reasons. It was heartbreaking but served its purpose in the novel.

I feel that the ending was very well done and I was left content with how it ended. I would recommend this to those looking for a coming of age story from a boy's POV. I would not recommend this to someone who is close-minded or judgmental. I feel that you have to be open-minded to really enjoy this story and appreciate it for what it is. I rated this 5/5 and rate the cover 8/10 despite the novel's crazy long title! It's a very quick, enjoyable read with amazing writing. I was thoroughly pleased with this novel and can say that it is different in a good way from what I have read in contemporary lately!


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