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Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of…

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe (edition 2012)

by Benjamin Alire Saenz

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6647014,446 (4.37)19
Title:Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe
Authors:Benjamin Alire Saenz
Info:Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (2012), Hardcover, 368 pages
Tags:texas, homosexuality, lgbtq, mexicans, mexican americans, violence, relationships, identity, family, meditative, thoughtful, 1980s, love, realistic, gr9, gr10, gr11, gr12

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Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz


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Saenz, Benjamin Alire. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. 2012. 359 pp. $16.99. Simon & Schuster. 978-1-44240-892-0. Ages 13 & Up.
Ari is doesn’t have any friends, and he prefers it that way. His parents refuse to talk to him about his brother who is in prison, his father still has nightmares from war, and Ari is beginning to have bad dreams of his own. Then Ari meets Dante, the educated and sensitive son of a Professor and a Psychologist. Dante is expressive and artistic, and wants more than anything to penetrate Ari’s tough exterior. As the two bond they question their sexuality and their identities as Mexican Americans and as men. But despite Dante’s influence, Ari still struggles to be honest with himself, and with the world, about his true feelings for Dante. A touching and honest story about coming-of-age and falling in love; the story will resonate with LGBTQ youth, minorities, and any youth struggling with issues of identity. ( )
  alovett | Nov 20, 2014 |
This book crafts a wonderfully moving story out of concepts that are historically underrepresented in young adult fiction. Aristotle (Ari) may at first glimpse appear to be the typical teenage boy with growing feelings of disillusionment and frustration at life, but it soon becomes clear that he is so much more than just another archetype. One boring summer, Ari happens to meet Dante, a quiet nerd who has trouble connecting to people despite his vibrant personality. Together the two come of age and learn to navigate the pressures of family life and school, but also learn what it means to be Mexican-American, how to respond to discrimination and the bullying of falling somewhere outside the sanctioned lines of traditional Americana, such as identifying LGBTQ. Although the writing style is fairly simple, the depth and complexity in portraying the characters lends the story a poignant sensitivity that is able to connect on a visceral level. At times, the plot can seem to rely too heavily on specific events in a formulaic ‘this happened, which led to that,’ but this fault can be forgiven when one considers the book as a whole. Ultimately it is overwhelmingly successful in highlighting the humanity in a segment of the population that is so often underrepresented in literature, prompting the reader to wonder, “Why aren’t there more books like this?” Recommended for purchase. ( )
  kornelas1 | Oct 23, 2014 |
While reading the book...
Me: oh my gosh.. oh my

After reading the book...
Me: Mom! Mom!
Mom: What??
Me: Can you call an ambulance?
Cause I'm having an heart attack
now. Please....
Mom: Seriously??

Okay. I fell in love everything
about the book. The characters,
Aristotle and Dante were very
adorable. I do really love them.

Just go to your nearest bookstore,
buy the book, read it and fall in
love with it. ( )
  Perco | Oct 11, 2014 |
Ari's always been something of a loner, but that changes during his fifteenth summer. That's when he meets Dante -- also something of a loner, though in most ways very different from Ari. The two boys quickly become fast friends, but can their friendship survive the turmoil that their teenage years will hold?

It's interesting: I've read a few reviews here and there from people who really disliked the writing style in this book. Now, granted, I listened to the audiobook, so I don't know if reading it on the page would have been different for me, but in listening to the story I found that Sáenz has an absolutely brilliant ear for dialogue. I was blown away by the writing here -- very simple, but just true in a deep, solid way. I loved the characters, Dante's parents in particular, and just when I thought this was going to be a quiet sort of coming-of-age story, a plot twist came along and punched me in the gut. All in all, this was one of the best books I've read (well, listened to) this year. It's not quite perfect -- I have a minor quibble with the ending, and there are a couple of minor characters that I'd have liked to know a little better -- but it's a really good book, and I definitely recommend it. And if you are an audiobook listener, this may be one of those rare titles that is better as an audio than in print. ( )
  foggidawn | Oct 2, 2014 |
When 15-year-old Aristotle (Ari) Mendoza first meets Dante Quintana in the summer of 1987, Ari is bored, miserable, and feeling sorry for himself. Certainly, he has a few good reasons: a distant father who can’t let Vietnam go, an imprisoned brother everyone acts like doesn’t exist, and a constant feeling of shame for reasons he can’t explain. However, his relationship with the charming and effusive Dante shakes up the introverted, emotionally-stunted Ari and forces him to reexamine all the things he (thinks) he knows about himself.

This is a rare young adult book that tackles many issues that the genre lacks: Ari and Dante’s identities as Mexican-Americans, Dante’s homosexuality, and Ari’s dysfunctional (yet loving) family. Sáenz, however, deftly balances all of these elements to craft a story about finding yourself in a world that isn’t always so kind. Despite all of these threads, the beautiful relationship between Dante and Ari is the heart of the book, and whether they’re overcoming a brutal beating or simply having a silly conversation about the existence of birds, readers will be deeply moved by these two boys and their relationship.

“Words were different when they lived inside of you,” Ari explains at the beginning. And maybe that’s what is so important about this story: the words of two teenaged boys discovering who they are--together and apart—will live inside of you long after you finish it. Highly recommended. Grades 7 and up. ( )
  krmajor | Oct 2, 2014 |
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added by gsc55 | editBoys in our Books, Susan (Nov 12, 2014)
added by gsc55 | editMM Good Book Reviews, Tams (Oct 2, 2014)
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One summer night I fell asleep, hoping the world would be different when I woke. In the morning, when I opened my eyes, the world was the same.
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Book description
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. [Simon&Schuster]
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Fifteen-year-old Ari Mendoza is an angry loner with a brother in prison, but when he meets Dante and they become friends, Ari starts to ask questions about himself, his parents, and his family that he has never asked before.

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