Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz ☆☆☆☆
I learned something pretty cool when reading this book. When you know an author, have heard them read, and hear them talk on a regular basis...yeah you hear them reading the book to you when you're reading it. It was really weird, but amazing at the same time. Saenz is a professor of mine, currently and in the past, and hearing him read and talk so many times, I could hear his voice in my head reading the book to me. Another cool superficial thing about this book, the cover is extremely beautiful! Ok, now to the real stuff.
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe is about two 15 year old boys that each have a hard time identifying with other people and find friendship in each other. And although this book is about two teenage boys, I could still completely identify with it myself. Ari is angry all the time and many say he also always looks sad. He hasn't quite found his place in life and isn't sure he ever will find it. Dante is charming and easy going, but although people easily take to him, he doesn't easily take to other people. One of my favorite parts of YA Lit is that it covers the topics of trying to understand yourself and how you relate to the world. I'm working on my Master's and I still don't feel like I've found my place, so this book was a great look into the characters and also into myself. Many reviews have said that this is a great book for boys, but I would argue that it's a great book for anyone.
Now, obviously I wasn't completely in love as I only gave it four stars, but it was within reason. I felt like a lot of portions of the beginning were too predictable and actually took me out of the story because of it. After finishing it, I realize that those sections were completely necessary, but I do still feel that they could have been toned down a little. They weren't subtle enough. But I do still love this book and believe that it's another great example of his writing. It's also been my first experience with a lyrical novel and I'm looking forward to reading more of them in the future.