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Livets outgrundliga mysterier

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Aristotle Mendoza ar femton ar och arg pa varlden, livet, allt och alla – inklusive sig sjalv. Hans bror sitter i fangelse, hans pappa ar traumatiserad av kriget och han har inga vanner. En het sommardag traffar han Dante vid den lokala poolen. Dante som laser dikter, malar, grater, har intellektuella foraldrar och alskar att ga barfota. Deras vanskap ar osannolik men omed Aristotle Mendoza är femton år och arg på världen, livet, allt och alla – inklusive sig själv. Hans bror sitter i fängelse, hans pappa är traumatiserad av kriget och han har inga vänner. En het sommardag träffar han Dante vid den lokala poolen. Dante som läser dikter, målar, gråter, har intellektuella föräldrar och älskar att gå barfota. Deras vänskap är osannolik men omedelbar och tillsammans utforskar de livets outgrundliga mysterier – hur man ska lära sig att acceptera sin familj som den är, vad det innebär att växa upp, varför man känner som man gör och, framför allt, hur man ska veta vem man egentligen älskar.

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Aristotle Mendoza ar femton ar och arg pa varlden, livet, allt och alla – inklusive sig sjalv. Hans bror sitter i fangelse, hans pappa ar traumatiserad av kriget och han har inga vanner. En het sommardag traffar han Dante vid den lokala poolen. Dante som laser dikter, malar, grater, har intellektuella foraldrar och alskar att ga barfota. Deras vanskap ar osannolik men omed Aristotle Mendoza är femton år och arg på världen, livet, allt och alla – inklusive sig själv. Hans bror sitter i fängelse, hans pappa är traumatiserad av kriget och han har inga vänner. En het sommardag träffar han Dante vid den lokala poolen. Dante som läser dikter, målar, gråter, har intellektuella föräldrar och älskar att gå barfota. Deras vänskap är osannolik men omedelbar och tillsammans utforskar de livets outgrundliga mysterier – hur man ska lära sig att acceptera sin familj som den är, vad det innebär att växa upp, varför man känner som man gör och, framför allt, hur man ska veta vem man egentligen älskar.

30 review for Livets outgrundliga mysterier

  1. 5 out of 5

    Thomas

    3 STEPS TO BECOME ME, THOMAS: 1. Obtain a copy of Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. 2. Read the book. 3. Fall in love. Fall in love with the writing, the characters, everything. Read past midnight, read in school, read everywhere and all the time. Slam the book shut and whisper-scream oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh. At the end of the book, allow a single tear to run down your right cheek and say a silent prayer of thanks for the fact that you are able to read at all. Perh 3 STEPS TO BECOME ME, THOMAS: 1. Obtain a copy of Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. 2. Read the book. 3. Fall in love. Fall in love with the writing, the characters, everything. Read past midnight, read in school, read everywhere and all the time. Slam the book shut and whisper-scream oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh. At the end of the book, allow a single tear to run down your right cheek and say a silent prayer of thanks for the fact that you are able to read at all. Perhaps I’m making this book seem more dramatic than it actually is. It’s not dramatic at all, in the typical sense. There are no overtly sentimental Nicholas Sparks plot twists, no super sexy erotica Fifty Shades of Grey style, not even an ardent declaration of love via Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. This book is about two Mexican-American teens trying to find their way in the world, but before they do that, they find each other – Aristotle and Dante, the former a self-doubting silent guy, the latter an expressive, fair skinned swimmer. We experience the story from Ari’s perspective, from the first time he met Dante at his local swimming pool. I’d never really been very close to other people. I was pretty much a loner. I’d played basketball and baseball and done the Cub Scout thing, tried the Boy Scout thing – but I always kept my distance from the other boys. I never felt like I was a part of their world. Throughout the book, Aristotle and Dante are exposed and layered, continually growing more complex but also becoming more bare. Their coming of age story is shown beautifully. What seems like a simple story about friendship is a simple story about friendship, but there are profound themes woven in and the quality of the characterization is simply breathtaking. Dante, a lover of poetry and a passionate crier, reminded me of myself so much it hurt, while every ounce of Aristotle’s emotions – his confusion, his longing, his hate – resonated with me. I sometimes think that I don’t let myself know what I’m really thinking about. That doesn’t make much sense but it makes sense to me. I have this idea that the reason we have dreams is that we’re thinking about things we don’t know we’re thinking about – and those things, well, they sneak out of us in our dreams. Maybe we’re like tires with too much air in them. The air has to leak out. That’s what dreams are. Benjamin Alire Saenz has poetic prose. There aren’t many compound sentences or large SAT words in this book, but every word impacted me. Sometimes the shortest sentence flooded me with feeling. Every description of Dante’s laugh, every time the boys would call each other weird, every moment they spent together – it felt like I was there, experiencing their friendship and their bond. Have you ever heard that saying, if there’s a book you want to read but it’s not published, write it yourself? I won’t stop writing, but Saenz has accomplished that for me here. Saenz dedicates this book “to all the boys who’ve had to learn to play by different rules.” As a homosexual Asian-American living in Virginia, I’ve had to learn to play by the rules of my parents, my society, and most importantly, myself. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe will speak to Mexican-Americans, homosexuals, tom-girls, book nerds, loners, etc. Essentially, it will appeal to everyone who’s ever felt different, who’s ever felt like they weren’t sure of who they were. Highly recommended for all.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Rick Riordan

    YA realistic fiction. This book has won so many awards I could barely see the cover under all the stickers! After reading it, I understood why it gets so much praise. Sáenz tells the story of two young men, Aristotle “Ari” Mendoza and Dante Quintana growing up in El Paso, Texas during the 1980s. We follow their lives from age fifteen to seventeen, watching their relationship slowly grow, change and strengthen. Told from Ari’s point of view, the novel is crafted in short, lyrical chapters. The pro YA realistic fiction. This book has won so many awards I could barely see the cover under all the stickers! After reading it, I understood why it gets so much praise. Sáenz tells the story of two young men, Aristotle “Ari” Mendoza and Dante Quintana growing up in El Paso, Texas during the 1980s. We follow their lives from age fifteen to seventeen, watching their relationship slowly grow, change and strengthen. Told from Ari’s point of view, the novel is crafted in short, lyrical chapters. The prose sings. The dialogue is pitch-perfect. The story is quiet and gentle, but it pulls the reader through the narrative beautifully. Ari has loving parents, though his father silently bears the traumas of the Vietnam War, keeping him distant from his son. Ari’s sisters are a generation older, making him feel like the family mascot rather than an equal sibling. Most troubling of all, the family has erased all traces of Ari’s older brother, whom he barely remembers, who went to prison for a violent crime. Ari longs to know more and feels betrayed by his parents’ silence. Overall, Ari feels like his life “is a story written by someone else,” a sentiment I suspect many teens can relate to. Ari has no real friends, nor does he want any, but in the summer of his fifteen year he meets Dante at the swimming pool, and Dante offers to teach him how to swim. They bond initially over their unusual names, but soon they are spending the bulk of their time together. We follow them through funny episodes, horrific accidents and tragic losses, watching their awkward and tentative friendship turn into the sort of bond that will challenge what Ari believes about himself and his capacity for love. I won’t give away the ending, but I kept thinking about it long after I finished the book. It didn’t end the way I expected it to, perhaps because of my own point-of-view and life experience, but I now see it ended the only way it could, as Ari learns how to reject the story others have written for him and write his life himself. This would be a great book club choice to spur discussions about identity and acceptance. Highly recommended. I found this book thanks to the website Queer Books for Teens: http://queerbooksforteens.com/

  3. 4 out of 5

    Ariel

    This book was so so beautiful. In actuality, it doesn't have a "plot". Not a main story or event that the characters center around. It's about a boy. It's a story about a boy who is sad and angry and can't figure out why. It's about him trying to love himself and others. It's about the teenage condition and mentality. Let's talk about why I loved it. Mainly, I loved the mood and tone. It made me feel mellow and warm. I liked that it was slow paced, that it felt like real life with small but import This book was so so beautiful. In actuality, it doesn't have a "plot". Not a main story or event that the characters center around. It's about a boy. It's a story about a boy who is sad and angry and can't figure out why. It's about him trying to love himself and others. It's about the teenage condition and mentality. Let's talk about why I loved it. Mainly, I loved the mood and tone. It made me feel mellow and warm. I liked that it was slow paced, that it felt like real life with small but important events happening. I actually really liked Aristotle, the main character, even though he's kind of a jerk. But the thing is he doesn't want to be a jerk. I loved the relationships, especially with his best friend, Dante. It was real friendship, not false or easy. I loved the emphasis on family. And the ending was beautiful. So beautiful. I really related to the main character, his struggles of culture and feeling lonely and regretting growing up. And when I didn't relate to him I still empathized. I just wanted to hug Aristotle. I didn't realize how much I loved this book until it ended. I flew through it so quickly that I didn't realize how beautiful it was, how happy it made me feel. This is absolutely a new favourite. I can't wait to reread it.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Whitney Atkinson

    I'M NOT CRYING YOU'RE CRYING

  5. 5 out of 5

    Kai

    “The summer sun was not meant for boys like me. Boys like me belonged to the rain.” I've heard so many good things about this novel and seen it all over Tumblr. I wanted to read this so badly, which is why I finally, finally got my hands on a copy and started reading right away. I also finished reading it right away. My thoughts: Well, first of all, I love the way I can identify with Ari and Dante, but especially with Ari. Sometimes his stubbornness got on my nerves and I wanted to shake him and te “The summer sun was not meant for boys like me. Boys like me belonged to the rain.” I've heard so many good things about this novel and seen it all over Tumblr. I wanted to read this so badly, which is why I finally, finally got my hands on a copy and started reading right away. I also finished reading it right away. My thoughts: Well, first of all, I love the way I can identify with Ari and Dante, but especially with Ari. Sometimes his stubbornness got on my nerves and I wanted to shake him and tell him that he should just go and love Dante. But on the other hand, everything just felt so real. Which leads me to my second point about how I kept on reading and nodding my head, smiling about how true some statements and feelings pictured in the novel felt. The thing is, Sáenz does not try to be philosophical and poetic. He doesn't have to. Third, you can see how Ari grows. In the beginning, he is a 15-year-old boy, he talks like a 15-year-old boy, he thinks like one. But as he grows older he learns and experiences things, especially through Dante, he changes. I just want to state that this novel is a perfect example of character development. What bothered me (just a little), is the ending. Yes, it's happy and lovely and that's what I wished for but I had the feeling that everything went too fast. Particularly the revelations about the past. And also I am kind of angry. Why, whywhywhy couldn't we read more about their happy ever after? I mean, I've been waiting for this the whole time and now I don't even get two whole pages of Ari&Dante as a couple! Not fair. I want - need - a sequel! Reread: I'm still very much in love with this book. There may have been something in my eyes, they got a little teary. Update: We're getting a sequel. Someone must have heard my prayers. Find more of my books on Instagram

  6. 4 out of 5

    Emily May

    I have been saving this book. Just waiting for the right moment for us to come together and love one another. And this book is fine, I guess. It's okay. But I really don't see the magic that prompted so many five star ratings and literary awards. It's weird because I was sure we were meant for each other. A Printz Honor book featuring a gay romance between two quirky characters - one of whom is a rough guy who gets into fights and has a complicated relationship with his father; the other being a I have been saving this book. Just waiting for the right moment for us to come together and love one another. And this book is fine, I guess. It's okay. But I really don't see the magic that prompted so many five star ratings and literary awards. It's weird because I was sure we were meant for each other. A Printz Honor book featuring a gay romance between two quirky characters - one of whom is a rough guy who gets into fights and has a complicated relationship with his father; the other being a sweet and sensitive boy who loves his poetry. Throw in some philosophical musings and a generous helping of poetic teen angst and you should be serving up a new favourite of mine, right? Apparently not. I love deep, complex and emotional contemporary YA that reminds me why I still read books aimed at teens. But, you know, I just didn't find this book as deep and meaningful as it was obviously trying to be. There were some intriguing passages thrown in that were clearly meant to tickle our inner emos, like: “The problem with my life was that it was someone else’s idea.” And: “I wondered what it was we were laughing about. Was it just our names? Were we laughing because we were relieved? Were we happy? Laughter was another one of life’s mysteries.” But it all felt like a good old example of trying too hard. The characters of Aristotle and Dante are two very different individuals who form an instant connection and go on to become close friends, but they never seemed like anything but caricatures of angsty teens with the pretentious poetry reading and frequent philosophical phrases that made me cringe. The dialogue was particularly unrealistic. There are some writers who can pull off floaty poetic speech between their characters, and then there are those who fail to sound more than fake, overdone and scripted. In my opinion, this book was in the latter category. However, I feel this way about John Green and everyone seems to love him too, so it's hardly surprising that I once again find myself in the minority. Not only does the constant waxing poetic feel a bit off, but the rest of the time we're treated to a choppy, fragmented narrative that gave me flashbacks to The Perks of Being a Wallflower. For example: “When I got home, I sat on my front porch. I watched the sun set. I felt alone, but not in a bad way. I really liked being alone. Maybe I liked it too much. Maybe my father was like that too. I thought of Dante and wondered about him.” I think I get what this book was trying to do and I also get what many people probably thought it was doing... but I can point you towards authors who do a similar kind of thing and make it seem less cheesy and far more real and meaningful: A.S.King, Melina Marchetta, Matthew Quick and Sara Zarr, to name but a few. When compared to the works of those authors, these characters and this writing just pale in comparison. In my opinion, anyway. Blog | Leafmarks | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Tumblr

  7. 5 out of 5

    Lola

    Oh gosh, my feelings are all over the place. It started in a very captivating way. I liked the narrator. Aristotle-nicknamed Ari-is a calm fifteen-year-old boy who prefers being alone...He doesn’t feel comfortable being around people his age but that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s a recluse. Everyone things he’s sad and lonely but, really, he doesn’t mind it. And then he meets Dante. Dante who made him see the world differently. Gosh, how much I loved that character. Everything about him made me th Oh gosh, my feelings are all over the place. It started in a very captivating way. I liked the narrator. Aristotle-nicknamed Ari-is a calm fifteen-year-old boy who prefers being alone...He doesn’t feel comfortable being around people his age but that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s a recluse. Everyone things he’s sad and lonely but, really, he doesn’t mind it. And then he meets Dante. Dante who made him see the world differently. Gosh, how much I loved that character. Everything about him made me think of an angel, a sweet sweet angel. I wish the world was filled with more people like Dante because this world would have been a much lovelier place. This is really a coming of age YA novel. Even though it’s shelved as LGBT (which IS true and shelved it myself as it too), there is a good part of this story where it doesn’t feel that way. It’s mostly about friendship, family, trust, loyalty and being honest to ourselves and who we truly are. Then, comes the LGBT part and romance as well. I have to say that I throughout the story craved to see some romantic affection between Ari and Dante. There aren’t many scenes at all that show some, because Ari isn’t gay… Or is he? I kept wondering while reading and felt like I knew, right inside me, the answer, except that I never could have been one hundred percent sure. Gladly, we do get an answer. Actually, every answer I could have had regarding events, characters and scenes were answered and that is a big plus to the book. The writing, at first, didn’t quite work for me to be honest. It’s a very simple style. The kind I could write myself without any problem. EXCEPT, we could actually feel as if it were really Ari’s writing and that is an exceptional thing and very a witty way of writing a story when I think of it. I do admit that sometimes I really wished we had Dante’s POV, just to know how he thinks and what’s in his mind. Wait, I do know what-or who should I say-he’s always thinking of. I just think at least one scene would have been so spectacular to have narrated by him. It’s weird because Ari has sisters (and a brother) but we never actually really got to meet them or get to know those sisters. I don’t even remember his sisters’ names, if the narrator even told us their names in the first place. Shame because I really wanted to get to know them. I’m so glad this story includes an animal, being the animal lover that I am. I feel like they usually bring a nice atmosphere inside a story and this one-a dog-sure did. Also, you need to know that this is a sad story. I mean, sure, there are many cute and happy moments, but drama usually follows. Plus, with that kind of atmosphere, how could I have held back my tears? Do I recommend this book? Like air...

  8. 5 out of 5

    Virginia Ronan ♥ Herondale ♥

    ”Why do we smile? Why do we laugh? Why do we feel alone? Why are we sad and confused? Why do we read poetry? Why do we cry when we see a painting? Why is there a riot in the heart when we love? Why do we feel shame? What is that thing in the pit of your stomach called desire?” I think I rarely read an introduction to a book that touched me as much as this one did. It were exactly questions like that I asked myself when I was a young and confused teen. I was always more serious than the other kids ”Why do we smile? Why do we laugh? Why do we feel alone? Why are we sad and confused? Why do we read poetry? Why do we cry when we see a painting? Why is there a riot in the heart when we love? Why do we feel shame? What is that thing in the pit of your stomach called desire?” I think I rarely read an introduction to a book that touched me as much as this one did. It were exactly questions like that I asked myself when I was a young and confused teen. I was always more serious than the other kids and there were things they just didn’t understand. When I was seventeen life was tough for me, at least more tough than for other people my age. I asked myself questions they wouldn’t ask themselves for decades and I had to ask those questions because life and my personal experiences kind of forced me to. Just like Ari, I was thinking about so many things, wondering about my place in this world. Why did some things have to end? Why did others start? Why did my heart hurt so much? Gosh, I really wish I would have had this book in my teens, because it definitely would have made me feel better. “Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe” certainly is a book that’s important and needed! It’s one of those reads that is able to change you, to help you and I really, really wish I would have had it back then. XD It captured the problems of adolescence so damn well and because of that, it’s easily become one of my all-time favourites. =) ”Sometimes I think my father has all these scars. On his heart. In his head. All over.” The problem about those scars is that no one can see them and most people don’t even bother to try to understand. I loved that Ari truly wanted to know what his father felt and that he wanted him to tell him about his feelings and thoughts. But just like Ari (and basically everyone else on this world) his father was a creature of his experiences and his environment. The war he had fought had changed him and the experience with his eldest son had shaped him as well. It’s never easy to talk about things that are so close to our heart, but Ari’s father made an effort and I think that counts for something. ”You were looking for me,” he said. I looked at him. “In your dream. You were looking for me.” “I’m always looking for you,” I whispered. ”I got to thinking that poems were like people. Some people you got right off the bat. Some people you just didn’t get – and never would get.” I guess in some way this sentence explains a lot about the book. There were people Ari didn’t understand and there were people who understood him pretty well but couldn’t seem to be able to convey it. For instance his parents and Dante. Dante understood him more than anyone else and I think in some way he might have even hated him for it. At least at the beginning of the book. The more time passed the less he saw him as a threat. It’s just that Dante always asked the right questions, he is honest and very outspoken and therefore the complete opposite of Ari who always keeps his feelings and words to himself. While Dante admits that he loves Ari (and this pretty early on in the book), Ari isn’t only unable to accept his own feelings but also incapable to voice them properly. He’s overwhelmed and he feels helpless. So basically just like any other teen, right? *lol* ”I love swimming,” he said again. He was quiet for a little while. And then he said, “I love swimming – and you.” I didn’t say anything. “Swimming and you, Ari. Those are the things I love the most.” And even though Ari tells him not to voice those thoughts it’s still obvious that he feels the same way about Dante as well. Call me crazy but in some way this was really beautiful to watch. XD I mean we have a boy who knows exactly what he wants and we have a boy who questions everything and doesn’t even know who he is. Still, there’s no doubt Ari loves Dante too, because even though he can’t admit it, his thoughts speak their own language. ”And it seemed to me that Dante’s face was a map of the world. A world without any darkness. Wow, a world without darkness. How beautiful was that?” Despite all this, it was still amazing to see that their friendship was able to survive every blow of fate that was thrown their way. I just loved their dynamic and the fact that they knew each other inside out. Their friendship was #friendshipgoals and it were always those little, to some people rather insignificant moments, which touched me the most and automatically warmed my heart. ”How many burgers did you flip to buy the book?” “That’s a very Dante question,” I said. “That’s a very Ari answer,” he said. And then we started laughing and couldn’t stop. Also can I say how much I loved the way Ari described his relationship to his mother? Those two had me close to tears more often than once and I just adored the way they spoke with each other, how open and extremely honest they were. Ari’s and Dante’s moms definitely are #momgoals and I strive to become an awesome mother like that too! <3 ”I could feel my mom listening to me. She was always there. I hated her for that. And loved her.” ”And I knew that there was something about me that Mrs. Quintana saw and loved. And even though I felt it was a beautiful thing, I also felt it was a weight. Not that she meant it to be a weight. But love was always something heavy for me. Something I had to carry.” All told, I really loved this book and I can recommend it to every teenager who feels lost and alone. “Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe” is a wonderful and exceptionally beautiful read. It’s full of poetry and the important questions of life, it’s a journey with a beginning and an end and it’s so damn relatable that you can’t help but fall in love with it. I’m sure young and old will enjoy it and I hope everyone who reads it will discover the secrets of the universe as well. Sometimes the journey is everything that truly matters. ;-P (view spoiler)[The ending was sooo beautiful!!! <333 *sobs* ”All this time I had been trying to figure out the secrets of the universe, the secrets of my own body, of my own heart. All of the answers had always been so close and yet I had always fought them without even knowing it. From the minute I’d met Dante, I had fallen in love with him. I just didn’t let myself know it, think it, feel it. My father was right. And it was true what my mother said. We all fight our own private wars.” (hide spoiler)] ____________________________________ PRE REVIEW: I’m finally reading this!!! =)) I swear, I wanted to read this book for ages and even wrote it on my TBR list for 2018. Well and then I saw that it’s super expensive. Even for my kindle. I mean EUR 11,20 is a pretty hefty price for an e-book. (At least if you consider that you don’t even have an actual book after purchasing it!) >_< So I decided to wait and then something magical happened when I was at the library last week. I found “Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe” in the middle of a cart that was full of returned books and it almost felt like destiny wanted me to grab it. And that’s exactly what I did! *imagine a He-Man like moment with his precious sword, only that it was this book for me* XD I let out a delighted squeal (I doubt He-Man ever did this but that’s not the point) and rushed to the next best library terminal to borrow it for FREE!!! I’m still chuckling like mad and I’m sooo going to read the hell out of this book! Universe, this better be good! *lol* P.S: I think I read too much “Ready Player One” lately! Sorry! ;-P

  9. 4 out of 5

    karen

    i really thought this was going to be a slam-dunk of a book. all those prestigious awards and recognitions, a gay coming-of-age story that got the coveted dana stamp of approval, that cover…. and it is not a bad book, not by a long shot; i definitely enjoyed reading it. it just doesn't transcend its YA status like so many YA books do. this is an excellent book for its audience, but for me, it doesn't have that crossover appeal that so many recent YA titles have had. it gets points for featuring a i really thought this was going to be a slam-dunk of a book. all those prestigious awards and recognitions, a gay coming-of-age story that got the coveted dana stamp of approval, that cover…. and it is not a bad book, not by a long shot; i definitely enjoyed reading it. it just doesn't transcend its YA status like so many YA books do. this is an excellent book for its audience, but for me, it doesn't have that crossover appeal that so many recent YA titles have had. it gets points for featuring an untraditional LGBT protagonist; a young mexican-american boy with few social attachments, dealing with his distant war-haunted father, his much older, clucking sisters, the (figurative) ghost of his brother, about whom no one has spoken since he was incarcerated, and his own inability to make emotional connections, or even feel much of anything except a simmering, inarticulate rage. his mother is very loving and supportive, but ari lacks a true male role model figure, since his father is shuttered in a cage of his memories of vietnam and drifts through ari's life without being any kind of real presence. ari has always felt apart, particularly from the world of boys and their interests. I’d never really been very close to other people. I was pretty much a loner. I’d played basketball and baseball and done the Cub Scout thing, tried the Boy Scout thing – but I always kept my distance from the other boys. I never felt like I was a part of their world. his is not a case of being a bookish, indoor kid who doesn't relate to the rough and tumble world of "normal" boys; he likes to fight and drink and he wants a truck and a dog - he has just never felt comfortable in the company of boys. until he meets dante. dante is definitely one of the indoor boys. he is sensitive, he reads poetry and draws, he is emotional and frequently cries, and asks probing and highly personal questions with his deeply inquisitive mind. he is also mexican-american, but has only a tenuous relationship to his cultural heritage, and this discomfort affects him deeply, even though he is very self-assured in other aspects of his character. for some reason, the two boys find something in each other that just clicks, and they become inseparable over the course of a summer. the novel traces their relationship and their various insecurities and their growing attachment to each other from ari's perspective, as he struggles with his identity and his inability to recognize what it is that he wants out of life. and that is gripe number one. (view spoiler)[ari never comes out, in the traditional sense. no, he is sat down by his mother and father who basically inform him that he is gay and in love with dante. which, for someone so closed-off emotionally, makes a little bit of sense, but is very clumsy narratively-speaking. it takes away the opportunity for character-growth, basically, and the revelation lacks any impact it could have had if ari had come to that conclusion himself. it's a little uncomfortable, actually; what teenager likes being told what to do by their parents, let alone being told to whom or to what gender they are attracted?? and since this takes place in 1987 with a mexican-american family, it seems way more progressive than should be expected. while i very much appreciate the novelty of ari as a gay protagonist , the "not every gay male is emotional or theatrical or even, frankly, likable," i think it would have been a stronger scene if he had discovered this about himself, instead of just being coaxed into it. (hide spoiler)] my second gripe is the writing style, particularly the dialogue. there are people who have a knack for dialogue and people who do not, and people who have a facility for writing stilted stylized dialog that doesn't "ring true" but is still effective, like david mamet. but here, the dialogue didn't feel natural and these characters never came alive for me. there was a lot of repetition in their speech, and a lot of those snappy, witty moments you find in YA contemporary fiction, but it never felt relaxed. to use this portion of a david foster wallace interview i just read: That's why people use terms like flow or effortless to describe writing that they regard as really superb. They're not saying effortless in terms of it didn't seem like the writer spent any work. It simply requires no effort to read it - the same way listening to an incredible storyteller talk out loud requires no effort to pay attention. Whereas when you're bored, you're conscious of how much effort is required to pay attention. and i wasn't bored - i am not saying that, but i think the same rule applies to things that are so overly manipulated that they don't feel the way people really speak or interact. i mean, it's a novel - we all know it is a construct, but sometimes even a construct can feel… effortless. for example, i just don't buy this kind of emo-poetic musing coming from a kid who pushes down all his emotions and is battling all his violent urges: Even though summers were mostly made of sun and heat, summers for me were about the storms that came and went. And left me feeling alone. Did all boys feel alone? The summer sun was not meant for boys like me. Boys like me belonged to the rain. but enough of my griping - there are some really touching moments in here, although for me, the most resonant ones came from ari's relationship with his parents rather than his relationship with dante. good stuff, just not the lingering heartbreaking tenderness i was anticipating. come to my blog!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Claudia Ramírez

    I'M CRYING. THIS BOOK WAS BEAUTIFUL.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Kassidy

    Absolutely beautiful.

  12. 5 out of 5

    ✨ jamieson ✨

    “Maybe we just lived between hurting and healing.” I put off writing this review for months and months. Not because I didn't want to write it - I did. Believe me, I've worked this draft over and over like it's my magnum opus. I just wanted to get this review right, and to really communicate exactly how much this book means to me. I failed, but I did my best. This review is going to be grossly personal, because this book meant so much to me personally. To me it wasn't just a cute book or a fun “Maybe we just lived between hurting and healing.” I put off writing this review for months and months. Not because I didn't want to write it - I did. Believe me, I've worked this draft over and over like it's my magnum opus. I just wanted to get this review right, and to really communicate exactly how much this book means to me. I failed, but I did my best. This review is going to be grossly personal, because this book meant so much to me personally. To me it wasn't just a cute book or a fun read - it felt like someone had gone into my brain and tore out all the thoughts and feelings I didn't want everyone else to know about. This is many, many gay ya readers favourite book and it is so easy to get why. “Words were different when they lived inside of you.” It was after reading this quote at 1.06am on a saturday night I started to cry - I know because I have a snapchat photo of me crying about this book which is timestamped. Anyway, the reason this is the line that earned my very rare book tears because I related to it so hard, because this line had summarised in 9 words all the tumbling turning thoughts I had about being out to myself in my head and not to the world. "I guess I'm going to tell my dad. I have this little speech. It starts something like this. Dad, I have something to say. I like boys. Don't hate me. Please don't hate me, don't hate me don't hate me." Another line that earned a giant sob from me. It was amazing how Benjamin Alire Saenz was able to pinpoint some of the exact thoughts and feelings about living closeted and considering coming out. I truly don't think you can understand unless you've experienced it or are experiencing it what it's like, and its impossible for me to explain, but this book got about as close as you can get to putting it into words. And Aristotle and Dante as characters are incredibly sympathetic and complex and their pain is mine too. This is probably the book I am most protective over because it meant so much to me and people bash Ari all the time just because they didn't understand him. These characters struggle with so much, internalised-homophobia, shame, deep-rooted social stigma and violent homophobia and yet they rise, and they are so brave. Aristotle comes to terms with his own internalised homophobia, and not only that he conquers it. Dante deals with so much violence and hate but he's so strong and he never backs down and I love him for that. I hate that people make this book about Ari and Dante relationship as a couple and don't think about their growth as people - or their deep friendship that was already a relationship before the final pages. Their relationship is important, and trust me I adore those final few pages - but what I also liked was how realistic this was, how it looked properly at why gay teenagers, especially boys, are struggling and why homophobia is still so persistent. So here is the crux of this review: this is one of those books I can say is for us gay kids.Sure, you can read it if you're straight and you can enjoy it ect ect but this is one of those books that so truly captured my experiences and thoughts and I justdon't think you can get it if you've not experienced the same It breaks my heart, it is so painful and raw and true. But it also makes me so happy, because it's so hopeful and honest and brave and I have such a deep admiration for Benjamin Alire Saenz too, because I know how he's struggled too. I genuinely don't think I could ever give this book justice in a review - characters and everything else aside the writing is gorgeous - stunning. Truly one of the most beautiful and poetic books, and I think the book I have saved the most quotes from. Every word was a blow, some really really hurt - but some gave me relief. It is an intense and indescribable relief to have something you've been feeling but couldn't really put into thoughts written down in hard words right in front of you. (by junknight on tumblr) Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe changed my life, I deadass am not joking when I say this. I don't think any book has as accurately depicted how I was feeling. Few books have ever truly moved me, or made me cry. I can count the ones that have on my hand. Ari and Dante is one of them, it's so incredibly poignant and beautiful and raw it's impossible not to be taken on a wild emotional ride. It truly plays with your heart, and delivers lessons which are inspiring and hurtful. It was like having all my pain laid down at my feet. But reading this was also such a catharsis, like for 300 pages all the pain and confusion was sucked out of me and finally here was an author and here were two characters who got me, and accepted me, and understood. I don't just enjoy this book, I am so grateful for it. It changed my life, truly. It is a masterpiece and no review I could ever write would do it justice. But please know I do love it, so so much. “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.”

  13. 4 out of 5

    Riley

    This book is perfection

  14. 4 out of 5

    Regan

    Such an amazing story about love, identity, and family. I really feel everyone should read this book.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Hailey (Hailey in Bookland)

    Update Feb 2017 Lowering my rating to 3 stars since I think 4.5 was super duper generous 4.5* I just didn't really love it as much as I had thought I would. Another case of a book being too hyped up for it to possibly live up to my expectations unfortunately. That being said I did still really enjoy it and thing it was a beautiful story, pretty similar to some other books I've read though.

  16. 4 out of 5

    jessica

    okay, im bumping up my original rating because sometimes i find myself randomly thinking about this book, even months after finishing this, so obviously i liked it more than i initially thought i did. this was a sweet and touching story, but i keep coming back to the way the story was told. the writing was honestly of the highest quality. it was pure and raw and just so dang honest. i dont think i have ever related to a teenaged boy before, but this book changed that. the characters were just so okay, im bumping up my original rating because sometimes i find myself randomly thinking about this book, even months after finishing this, so obviously i liked it more than i initially thought i did. this was a sweet and touching story, but i keep coming back to the way the story was told. the writing was honestly of the highest quality. it was pure and raw and just so dang honest. i dont think i have ever related to a teenaged boy before, but this book changed that. the characters were just so well executed, making them easy to relate to and even love. this book is dedicated ‘for all the boys who have had to learn to play by different rules’ and i couldnt describe this story more perfectly than that if i tried. but i also think this novel has something to offer to every single person. its one of those books that transcends boundaries because at the heart of it is a message and lesson that everyone needs to read. as you can tell, i enjoyed this, so check back again in a few weeks because i will probably bump the rating up again. :P ↠ 4.5 stars

  17. 5 out of 5

    chloe ✨

    2nd read: March 2019 (audiobook) ★★★★★ I loved this even more than I did the first time. An absolute favourite. 1st read: Sep-Oct 2017 (audiobook) ★★★★★ speechless.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Cait • A Page with a View

    That was just straight up beautiful. I put off reading it for so long because I saw everyone's reviews that they were crying and I thought this book would be depressing. But it's not. Not at all. I usually don't get as into books that are mostly dialogue, but this one totally pulled me in... I could feel everything Ari went through. And I know I'm like the last person left to get to this story, so I'll just say that the hype is real.

  19. 5 out of 5

    C.G. Drews

    REREAD: JULY 2017 Okay wow. Just wow. You know how there are some books you love but then when you come back to reread, you realise you truly adore them SO MUCH YOU HAVE NO WORDS??? Because I'm having that moment. This is an emotional, painful and beautiful book and I hAVE feelings. omg. I swear I love this 53 x more than the first time I read it. I need more stars?? SMOL LIST OF THOUGHTS DURING MY REREAD: • I listened to the audio (narrated by Lin-Manuel Miranda!) and it was sooooo good. Absolutel REREAD: JULY 2017 Okay wow. Just wow. You know how there are some books you love but then when you come back to reread, you realise you truly adore them SO MUCH YOU HAVE NO WORDS??? Because I'm having that moment. This is an emotional, painful and beautiful book and I hAVE feelings. omg. I swear I love this 53 x more than the first time I read it. I need more stars?? SMOL LIST OF THOUGHTS DURING MY REREAD: • I listened to the audio (narrated by Lin-Manuel Miranda!) and it was sooooo good. Absolutely perfect narration. • I'm 99% sure Ari actually has depression, just undiagnosed because it's the '80s and he has no "reason" for it. Although there was one scene where the mum took him to the doctors after his flu (he was super miserable still) and the doctor said there was "nothing wrong with him" and the mum looked mad for a minute. Ari didn't know why. I wonder if she knew he probably had depression? • SO MANY HEADCANONS. I DON'T EVEN KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH MYSELF. • Also I so so freaking love Ari. He is beautiful and angry and sweet and a little bit sassy. • I actually didn't find the story slow or meandering AT ALL in this reread. Every page, every line was perfect. • 1000% appreciation for how dialogue heavy it is. • I ship this ship so much. • all the shipping • why are they so precious, the deluded little cinnamon toasts • I think the entire book is so quotable?!? I just want to hug these beautiful sentences and thoughts and words and wish I could write like this someday. • I LOVE the family relationships. Two boys, both with two sets of loving/caring/healthy parents. Wow. WOW. • Did I mention the writing is so beautiful? • My only thing about the ending, in retrospect is, (view spoiler)[I kind of wish Ari had made some indication that he loved Dante romantically. I mean I KNOW it was there in his actions and he was denying it the whole book because hew as ashamed. But I would've liked to see just even a heartbeat of something? Like when they kissed the first time and Ari lied and said it "didn't work for him"...that was it. The end. We get no hint. I think there should've been more hints? I get that you can hide things very deeply from yourself, but I also think sometimes you wonder. I would've liked to see the wondering. (hide spoiler)] • Legs. <3 <3 • Introversion appreciation. <3 <3 <3 • GOD, THIS BOOK IS SO PERFECT. ~~ Also I JUST REMEMBERED THERE'S GOING TO BE A SEQUEL. HOLD ME. FIRST READ: JUNE 2014 That was so positively swoon worthy I just...I just need a moment. OMG. THAT WAS BEAUTIFUL. I was pretty sure I'd like this book...I'd been recommended it enough! But still! Eeeh, what if it wasn't for me? But of course it was. I just 100% fell in love with Ari and his confused dealing of being a teenager and the world. And Dante too, with his buoyant personality and thing for hating-shoes. Dude, shoes suck. Absolutely. This is a beautiful book teens absolutely need to read. And scrap the "Teen" part, because EVERYONE SHOULD READ THIS. I was just going to give this a 4...and to be truthfully it's like a 4.5. BUT LIFE IS SHORT. So it's getting a 5! And I love it! And yes I'd recommend it. What I really loved was how it broke stereotypes and considered how confusing the world is. I don't know about you, but I've always felt the world is super confusing. Ugh. What is even going on, life? And just Ari's thought process was so vivid and really personal. I felt sucked in immediately. The writing is gorgeous. It's very crisp. No fluff. I LOVE THAT. Also: dialogue. Dialogue everywhere. My only twitchy face comes at how slow it was. It basically takes place over 2 years...which is a long time. People grow. People change. It's all very interesting and I felt very invested. But the first 50% I just kept wondering if something was going to happen. And then BOOM plot twist and everything really fell apart. So, I admit, I was dubious for a while. Maybe a little bored. But then I couldn't put it down. And can I just say something about the parents in this book?? There are TWO sets of parents, Ari's and Dante's. Both are still married. Both still absolutely love each other. That is so beautiful and sweet and I just spent os much of the book thinking, "Finally. Awesome parents." Parents are often shoved into a corner of "annoying and useless" in books, but they're actually goldmine's of what it is to grow up. And the parents just continually out-sweeted themselves. I was won. I'm so glad Ari had parents like he did, even if it wasn't always smooth sailing. I love Dante's parents too. I'm still sniffling, because the ending is positively heartbreaking AND IN THE BEST WAY POSSIBLE.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Hershey

    Do you remember the feeling you get when you watch the sun rise or set? Do you remember the feeling you get when you're so happy that you felt like flying? Do you remember the feeling you get when you're so sad and alone that you felt like curling yourself into a ball and wishing you never had to move on? Do you remember the feeling you get when you're so mad that you don't know why your mad? Do you remember the feeling you get when you wished you knew the mysteries of life? Well, this book brought u Do you remember the feeling you get when you watch the sun rise or set? Do you remember the feeling you get when you're so happy that you felt like flying? Do you remember the feeling you get when you're so sad and alone that you felt like curling yourself into a ball and wishing you never had to move on? Do you remember the feeling you get when you're so mad that you don't know why your mad? Do you remember the feeling you get when you wished you knew the mysteries of life? Well, this book brought up all those feelings. I don't know what to say about this book. There are tons of emotions warring inside me. So many that I cannot even state them. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe is beautiful. The Universe is you. You need to discover yourself. And that was what this book was about. Discovering one's true self. "Someday, I'm going to discover all the secrets of the universe."

  21. 4 out of 5

    may ➹

    you know what??? it was a REALLY good idea to reread this book I mean it’s not like I sobbed myself to sleep at 1am last night or anything

  22. 5 out of 5

    Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin

    Reread for a challenge in one of my groups and omg, I forgot how much I loved it! One of my favorite quotes: So I named myself Ari If I switched the letter, my name was Air I thought it might be a great thing to be the air I could be something and nothing at the same time. I could be necessary and also invisible. Everyone would need me and no one would be able to see me www.melissa413readsalot.blogspot.com There are almost no words for how much I loved this book. I got chills, I cried, I got mad, Reread for a challenge in one of my groups and omg, I forgot how much I loved it! One of my favorite quotes: So I named myself Ari If I switched the letter, my name was Air I thought it might be a great thing to be the air I could be something and nothing at the same time. I could be necessary and also invisible. Everyone would need me and no one would be able to see me www.melissa413readsalot.blogspot.com There are almost no words for how much I loved this book. I got chills, I cried, I got mad, I fell in love with both boys. Ari and Dante are both different from other people. They are loners, they don't really know how to react to people, although Dante is a little more outspoken than Ari.... well I guess you could say Dante is a big soul just trying to be contained :) They become friends at the swimming pool when Ari is sort of floating around because he doesn't know how to swim and Dante offers to help him. They become fast friends in their own strange way. It was so wonderful to read this story unfold right before my eyes. Ari has a lot of problems with never have been allowed to meet his brother who is in jail. No on in the family will mention his name, there isn't even a picture set out of him. Imagine turning seventeen and still not know your own brother. Ari has two older sisters as well and they have families of their own and they won't talk about him either. Ari's parents are nice people, his dad has problems from the war and is not to outspoken. This causes some issues with Ari as well. Dante is so funny and quirky, he just does whatever he feels like doing. He doesn't worry about what people think of him. His parents are wonderful and a little quirky too. I hate when I get to this part because I don't want to give away any spoilers!! I just felt like these are two boys I could be friends with if they would let me :) They have their own little world where they take care of each other. I mean one almost dies for the other one. That's the part that gave me chills! It was emotionally draining, but such a feel good book. Happy Reading! Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾

  23. 5 out of 5

    Elise (TheBookishActress)

    I remember I finished this book crying so hard I was shaking, in a good way, and then reading it twice more in the trip I finished it on because I loved it so much. * This review contains spoilers. Aristotle Mendoza is young and angry. With his brother in prison for assault, and his father loving but haunted by the Vietnam war, his main solace is in his friendship with a boy named Dante. Friendship would be his description of their relationship; when Dante kisses him around halfway through, he t I remember I finished this book crying so hard I was shaking, in a good way, and then reading it twice more in the trip I finished it on because I loved it so much. * This review contains spoilers. Aristotle Mendoza is young and angry. With his brother in prison for assault, and his father loving but haunted by the Vietnam war, his main solace is in his friendship with a boy named Dante. Friendship would be his description of their relationship; when Dante kisses him around halfway through, he tells Dante it does not work for him. His internal narration in this scene cannot tell us differently, as it completely disappears. Aristotle and Dante begins with Ari believing he must become a man in the patterns of masculinity that have come before him: he must be violent, protect himself and his friends by physically fighting back against bullies (as he does) and denying his feelings the chance to get in his way (as he attempts). “The problem with my life was that it was someone else’s idea,” Ari says in the first chapter of the book, encompassing the conflict: how is he meant to find his way as a man when there is only one path, one he does not fit? In Ari’s mind, love is vulnerability; loving a man is both vulnerability and hurt, meaning violence from others. (His brother, as we find out towards the end, is in prison for a hate crime — the violent assault of a trans woman.) Loving a man does not fit the role of a man, and so he represses. As Dante tells Ari: “I guess I'm going to tell my dad. I have this little speech. It starts something like this. Dad, I have something to say. I like boys. Don't hate me. Please don't hate me, don't hate me don't hate me.” We, as the audience, can see everything clearer; we figure out quite soon into the story, when he jumps in front of a car to save Dante, that Ari is falling in love. In fact, it is clear that some readers found it frustrating to read Ari deny himself feeling so completely; the Goodreads reviews should point to that. Yet for me, and for many other queer youth, seeing Ari’s self-denial rings true. Falling for a best friend is a uniquely devastating experience, and one most of us experience early on but are quick to repress. (I say us, here, to mean people who are not heterosexual. My data pool for this statement is almost every queer person I’ve ever known.) But for Ari, this is not a devastating experience; it is an experience in learning love and trust before even dating someone. Their friendship begins by a pool, joking about two ridiculous first names; it progresses into talking about everything under the sun. “He was the first human being aside from my mother who had ever made me want to talk about the things that scared me,” Ari says of Dante (although, of course, only in his head). Aristotle and Dante ends with Aristotle realizing his feelings for Dante and confessing to him that he loves him: in other words, his ending is to realize that love is not a weakness. The conflict is his development into a man, but Ari’s realization that he likes Dante, and boys in general, is inextricably wound with his development into a man. Finding himself through the perils of toxic masculinity, in other words, is his coming of age. I mean, don't get me wrong, this book is gorgeous on every level. The prose of this book is excellent without being overtly pretentious. (I swear it flows across the page like music - it's like John Green except less forced and never tiring.) I feel like I've explained this, but the character work outshines at least 99% of literature - Aristotle's character development is amazing?? Incredible?? Changed me as a person?? Also, I could go on and on for this point, but the main characters have such a beautiful slow-build relationship - I could go on and on about how perfect Ari and Dante are together, and how sweet their interactions are. I also generally think this was one of the first books that taught me about narrative weight and narrative critique - there is homophobia deeply buried in this book, beneath the surface and on the page, but Alire Saenz is careful to acknowledge and understand it. It's an exploration I doubt I'll ever forget. I think it's, above all, that this is a book meant for us. It's a book meant for our specific experiences, it is a book meant to be an exploration of us, not for anyone else. This is a deeply important book, for me, on a personal level. And I think it will be for many other readers. **I want to note here that Alire Saenz's behavior towards reviewers has not been ideal; sending emails to reviewers because you disagree is genuinely never okay, and though I believe there was a public apology for this (that I can no longer find) it's something to be aware of when reading and reviewing his work. Stay safe, y'all. TW: violent homophobia and transphobia, discussions of hate crimes. Blog | Goodreads | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube

  24. 5 out of 5

    Ryan

    "As Dante was watching me search the sky through the lens of a telescope, he whispered, 'Someday, I'm going to discover all of the secrets of the universe.'" All of the stars in the universe - an instant favourite. As some of you may know, I'm a sucker for a good coming-of-age love story, and this one completely delivered. I read this in one sitting. One. I don't think you understand, I'm ADHD, I hardly ever finish a book in one sitting. But this book? I refused to put it down. I said I'd read "As Dante was watching me search the sky through the lens of a telescope, he whispered, 'Someday, I'm going to discover all of the secrets of the universe.'" All of the stars in the universe - an instant favourite. As some of you may know, I'm a sucker for a good coming-of-age love story, and this one completely delivered. I read this in one sitting. One. I don't think you understand, I'm ADHD, I hardly ever finish a book in one sitting. But this book? I refused to put it down. I said I'd read the first chapter before I went to bed, and before I knew it, it was 2 am, and I was a complete mess, crying, and hugging this book to my chest because it was so damn good. I swear, if it wasn't 2 am, I would have turned back to page one, and started all over again. (Drinking game: Take a shot every time I say "universe" in this review. Or don't, you may get alcohol poisoning by the second half.) I've always had an all-consuming fascination with the universe and how utterly complex and thrilling all of it is. I once read my astronomy textbook from cover-to-cover for fun. Yeah, I'm that kid. I completely understood what Dante and Ari where always talking about - how they wanted to discover the secrets of the universe. I've been looking for the same things. "I bet you could find all of the mysteries of the universe in someone's hand." I loved all of these characters, and loved how raw and real everything was. Ari was a fantastic narrator, and Dante was added to my list of fictional characters too pure and good for this world. The ever-present family and heritage aspect in this book were also wonderful. Though I am not Spanish myself, all of my babysitters growing up were from Spanish-speaking countries, so I've had a love for the Hispanic culture ever since I was little. "The summer sun was not meant for boys like me. Boys like me belonged to the rain." Funnily enough, in my review of Eleanor & Park, I mentioned how I disliked that the book took place in the eighties. Aristotle and Dante took place (correct me if I got the dates wrong, please) in the summers of 1985 - 1987, yet it seemed to flow much nicer, and much more naturally in this book. Everything just fit in it's place perfectly. "We all fight our own private wars." The last scene left me with tears in my eyes. Happy tears, but tears all the same. I've been emotionally impacted by a book many times over, but this one was practically life-changing. (view spoiler)[ "All this time. That's what was wrong with me. All this time I had been trying to figure out the secrets of the universe, the secrets of my own body, of my heart. All of the answers had always been so close and yet I had fought them without even knowing it. From the minute I'd met Dante, I had fallen in love with him. (...) I took Dante's hand and held it. How could I have ever been ashamed of loving Dante Quintana?" That was such a perfect last paragraph, and such a perfect last line, I just (hide spoiler)] Suffice to say, I absolutely adored this book. I could go on for hours about Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, but instead of that, I'll end the review with my favourite quote from it: "'There are worse things in the world than a boy who like to kiss other boys.'"

  25. 5 out of 5

    Elena

    I was fifteen. I was bored. I was miserable. As far as I was concerned, the sun could have melted the blue right off the sky. Then the sky could be as miserable as I was. This started off well, continued to, and was living up to my expectations, but then everything went down a little. I noticed things I didn't notice before. I wasn't even gonna bother with writing a review for this but I got 2 friends telling me to hurry up and write it although I got other things to do that involve school since I was fifteen. I was bored. I was miserable. As far as I was concerned, the sun could have melted the blue right off the sky. Then the sky could be as miserable as I was. This started off well, continued to, and was living up to my expectations, but then everything went down a little. I noticed things I didn't notice before. I wasn't even gonna bother with writing a review for this but I got 2 friends telling me to hurry up and write it although I got other things to do that involve school since school starts again next week. One of them is very picky and annoying and I'm just questioning our friendship, another one just became a good friend and I don't know what else to say and think decided to become a traitor and now I don't like him because he left me alone, triggered. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe doesn't even have a plot, to be honest, which is something I hated, so I can't really summarize this. I'm just gonna say this: Aristotle and Dante become really good friends who end up doing things none expected to do together and just want to discover the hidden secrets of the universe. That's really it. Like I said, there was no plot. It was hard going into this book and reading every single word and just telling myself "something is gonna happen" when really, nothing exciting did. I understand there is a message behind this, I do, but that wasn't the whole problem with this. It really depends on the reader and how he or she takes the book, reads it, and reacts to everything happening. A lot happened, yes, but there was still no plot. The book was going from one place to another and it was confusing to follow along at times and that's why it can be hard for the reader to understand what the book really is about. Dante and Ari were characters that one can enjoy reading about, maybe even relatable to some, but there was still nothing that was even interesting about either one. One thing I completely loved about this was the relationship between Dante and Ari. They were such different characters but they managed to get along and just share a lot in common. Both were frustrating, but I've always been a fan of characters that are so different from each other and manage to grow up and like each other. I've always been a fan of characters who have such different personalities and attitudes but blend in such beautiful ways with each other because they're different. Ari and Dante were cute together, they're both cute, and the ending was even bittersweet. They didn't see each other for quite some time but still understood each other, looked out for each other, and were there for each other. They aren't one of my favorite couples, I will admit, but they were still without a doubt really cute. They didn't do many things that couples do because they were afraid to admit that they loved each other, but they still found each other. They didn't find the secrets, after all, they couldn't, but they had found each other and found each other's hidden secrets. Hidden paths. Hidden messages. Hidden light. I must say, the only reason I completely dived into this one was because of the author himself. Benjamin was born in New Mexico in a city I haven't heard of but a state I live in. I was born in New Mexico, Santa Fe, NM, and finally reading a book written by an author that was born here is really really refreshing. You always get these authors and writers and artists born in the most popular or common states like California, Florida, hell even Texas, but never New Mexico. I mean, Demi Lovato was born in Albuquerque and when she came here for a concert, she treated her fans differently even when she was "home" and barely even mentioned Albuquerque. What I mean by different isn't the good different, it's the bad one. You couldn't hug her? HAHAHA, WHAT?? Yeah well, I couldn't, at least. New Mexico sucks y'all, don't move here. We got green chili and that's about it. Other than that we got a shit load of dirt and no grass. We don't have any trees. We don't have plants. We don't have nice pastures. All we got is sand, dirt, chili, mountains, and a shitty weather. What else is there to say about this? The characters were relatable, especially Ari. He was miserable, a teen who was miserable and was still finding himself. I'm a teen, I'm sixteen, and I'm still trying to find myself. Some look at me like I have everything planned out for my future, what I want to do and become, where I wanna go. Yes, I have plans, but that doesn't mean those plans are actually gonna happen and work out. I wanna first graduate high school, then go to UCLA to study and get my B.S and prove myself that I was successful. Then I wanna move on to medical school, attend the required pediatric internship and residency, attend the required training of the fellowship and then, finally become the neonatologist I've dreamed of becoming, but I don't know if I will. Ari is kind of like that, minus the school and studying part. He doesn't know what he is really gonna do and who he will become. I don't either. They look at me like I might do, but I don't. Ask me how successful I think I am on a scale of 1-10 and I'll answer you with the number 3. I don't think I'm successful in any way. It's insecurities.. It's stress.. It's sadness.. It's struggles.. It's having no support. It's having no inspiration. It's feeling lonely. It's feeling sad. It's feeling alone. It's feeling abandoned. It's feeling useless. Out of all the characters I've read about, Ari is one of the most relatable. He was relatable in almost every way. Like me, he doesn't think before he acts, he just does it. He is frustrating at times and stupid because of the decisions he takes. Actually, he doesn't take decisions. He makes them. He still had troubles being open to himself and everyone else and couldn't control himself at times. He found himself to be a mystery just how he found his own family to be a mystery. It was hard reading about him, but it was also easy. I was impressed by the way he managed to actually grab my attention and captivate me, keep me going and reading, and although his point of view was not the best, I still enjoyed him very very much. I loved his character, and I didn't find him to be annoying. In fact, I felt bad for him. He didn't have any friends, he felt lonely, he was sad, he felt miserable, he was finding himself and had trouble discovering himself, he didn't have anyone, his parents were a mystery, he had a brother in prison, and he had twin sisters older than him which didn't make anything any better. He didn't have any friends that even his mom had to remind him. He would have dreams where he was lost and was looking for his dad and although his dad lived with him and his mom, he was never really able to talk to his dad and have a meaningful conversation. It was just sad. Until he met Dante. So, I also felt bad for Dante. Many would say Ari was an asshole? Annoying? Frustrating? A hard character to get into? Not understandable? Well, in my case, that was definitely not it. In my case, Dante was not an asshole, and not annoying, but he was a character that was hard to get into and understand. Dante was very confusing, more confusing than Ari. He would cry at times because a bird was dying and was getting shot at (coming from a supporter of animal rights I understood that but I didn't feel any emotion) and he would go from being a guy who would argue with Ari and then is laughing along with him. The reason I felt bad for him was because he was in love with Ari but he couldn't express it or tell him. He would even try to make him somewhat jealous but failed too. Although romance isn't the biggest thing in this book - more about friendship and finding yourself - Dante had trouble expressing his feelings to Ari. It was hard for him because he knew who he was and already had discovered himself, but Ari hadn't. Look, they were just such different characters but they managed to blend in with each other and I loved that. The writing of this was the easiest thing to follow, but it was also something else I didn't like. Sometimes, reading a book that I could fly to is the best for me because I'm simply flying through it, but with this one, that wasn't it. I wanted to read more but I couldn't because chapters were so short and so were the sentences. Dante and Ari would be having a big conversation and the whole pages were just small sentences. “Nothing?” “Nope.” “Okay. It sure worked for me.” “Yeah. I think I get that, Dante.” “So, well, that's over with then, huh?” “Yeah.” “Are you mad at me?” “A little.” .... “Don't cry, okay?” “Okay.” “You're crying.” “I'm not.” “Okay.” “Okay.” OKAY OKAY OKAY I WAS NOT OKAY AT SOME PARTS BUT OTHER TIMES I WAS LIKE "OKAY NOW WHAT" "OKAY WHAT" "WHAT DO YOU MEAN OKAY". Some chapters were 1 page short, others like 5, and the max was probably like 7. It wasn't boring, really, but the chapters could've been either longer and added more entertainment to make the story more entertaining and better in general. There's really nothing else I could say. Ari and Dante were, cute, but they were not the cutest. Lately, for some reason, I've been reading LGBTQ+ novels and for some reason been so interested in them and find them cute. This one didn't have many expectations but out of all the expectations I had, not many were met. Every LGBTQ+ book I've been reading and have read is actually very underrated or has no hype but then I'm quite glad about that because there's no hype so I end up enjoying it while others don't even bother. It's refreshing.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Raeleen Lemay

    BEAUTIFUL. THAT WAS BEAUTIFUL.

  27. 5 out of 5

    may ❀

    So, this is probably going to be the last review I write bc I don’t think I’m going to survive the boycotting my friends are going to inflict on me after I roast this book. Firstly, I want to apologize to the world. Secondly, WHAT THE HECK WAS THE POINT OF THIS BOOK??!!?? So the beginning was cute. It was cute in a middle-school-book kinda way. But going in thinking this was YA and getting an onslaught of 99% CONVERSATION and 0% PLOT made me feel ripped off. I must say though, I appreciate the di So, this is probably going to be the last review I write bc I don’t think I’m going to survive the boycotting my friends are going to inflict on me after I roast this book. Firstly, I want to apologize to the world. Secondly, WHAT THE HECK WAS THE POINT OF THIS BOOK??!!?? So the beginning was cute. It was cute in a middle-school-book kinda way. But going in thinking this was YA and getting an onslaught of 99% CONVERSATION and 0% PLOT made me feel ripped off. I must say though, I appreciate the diversity. That’s definitely one of the only things I enjoyed about the book. Portraying Mexican boys and from a realistic perspective, v appreciated. But that doesn’t erase the fact that I’m unsure what the point of this book was and so I grew bored V V quickly and began skimming to a HIGH DEGREE. The writing was easy to read, though it was very choppy and all over the place. Ari pissed me off multiple times, even though I kinda get it, but why he HAS to be a JERK for NO absolute reason, like plz youre 15 get over yourself. I’m positive everyone is getting their torches ready to burn me at the stake, especially, amy and pragya BUT LISTEN HERE, WE CAN BE ADULTS AND WE CAN HAVE OPINIONS AND WE CAN STILL BE FRIENDS OKAY. Anyways,,, Everyone is coming out of here crying and sobbing and being all sappy and I’m just like So if anyone is willing to forgive me and maybe explain to me why this was such a beloved book that’d be great. Kay thanks, sorrynotsorry bye. “Maybe we just lived between hurting and healing.” 2 stars!! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ this is only happening bc of peer pressure i hope youre happy

  28. 4 out of 5

    Liam

    This is the second time I've read this book now and I still have no words... This book is honestly the most beautiful book I have ever read. It's so precious and I deeply connect with it in a way that I don't often do when reading a book. This book truly is a blessing and I beg you all to read it. It's so important and well written and real and stunning and precious and true and perfect I just can't even express it!!!!

  29. 5 out of 5

    (Bern) Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas

    4 Stars for Ari & Dante - a quick, easy read centered around the coming of age friendship of two mostly loner boys. Yet, it's also the kid of story you'll want to savor slowly. I enjoyed Ari & Dante and their friendship. I allowed myself to become a third wheel of sorts as they forged the bonds of their friendship. Dante was so sweet, loving and honest (he was my favorite character hands down!). Ari always so angry and confused yet loyal and deep in his own way was a bit more complex. I 4 Stars for Ari & Dante - a quick, easy read centered around the coming of age friendship of two mostly loner boys. Yet, it's also the kid of story you'll want to savor slowly. I enjoyed Ari & Dante and their friendship. I allowed myself to become a third wheel of sorts as they forged the bonds of their friendship. Dante was so sweet, loving and honest (he was my favorite character hands down!). Ari always so angry and confused yet loyal and deep in his own way was a bit more complex. It was easy to see how they balanced and complimented each other. Saenz effortlessly brings us into their world, allowing the reader to witness their friendship grow, unfold & change over time. One of my favorite things about the book was the boys' parents - I LOVED how honest and supportive they were. It was interesting to see how in touch they were with the boys, how invested they were in them and how much genuine love there was between everyone. It warmed my heart to see such strong, accepting family relationships. This is definitely one of those books filled with characters that will remain nestled in my heart for a long time to come.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    Ahh this was everything I hoped it would be and more. Full Review on YouTube: https://youtu.be/vtntRxbpS4c

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