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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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7448112,508 (4.35)25
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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Showing 1-5 of 80 (next | show all)
RGG: Sweet, gentle story about friendship, teenage angst and self-discovery, and figuring out one's sexuality and one's friendships within that context. Reading Level: YA.
  rgruberhighschool | Mar 28, 2015 |
Breathtaking. Absolutely gorgeous. ( )
  vanessa-c | Mar 27, 2015 |
Aristotle foresees a lonely, unremarkable summer until he meets fellow Mexican-American teen Dante. Dante's sensitive and expressively open personality complements Ari's secretive and angsty outlook on life. The two form a strong bond and unravel truths about themselves and each other.

Benjamin Alire Sáenz’s poetic and understated prose that reflects the pacing of a sedate summer and deliberately unravels two coming-of-age stories. The youths experiment with unexpected romances and illicit substances as they struggle with their personal multifaceted identities. The relationships and bond Ari and Dante have with their parents are profoundly heart-warming and uplifting. ( )
  thelittlestacks | Mar 27, 2015 |
So, I will probably lose followers for this review, but this book, while an easy and fairly enjoyable read, was just not what I had hoped it would be. Due to all the hype, I thought it was going to be this enlightening, educating novel that treated the LGBTQ experience with sensitivity and grace. And in a way it was, it did, and in a way, it really missed the mark for me.

The book is about two boys who become friends and turbulent times in both of their lives, and it explores their relationship to each other, to their families, and to the world. As the mother of a little boy, I often read novels with this subject matter more from an educational view: how will Ari and Dante's struggle reflect as my son grows and how can I learn from their mistakes and/or triumphs to help my son become a better man?

I think in general, contemporary YA literature as a genre is hard for me to read unless I frame it around mothering a child that will eventually go through these struggles. Those books that really deal with teenagers in their element are no longer relatable to my experience, being 20 years removed, and after lots of alcohol, blissfully forgotten. Perhaps I've just lost my empathy, or it's been too long, but I could not get behind the whiny, ungrateful obnoxiousness of the main character, Aristotle. I get it, you're 15, things are hard, blah blah blah. By the end, I needed him to realize that he was being a brat, but instead, he was like, "Oh, I'm gay, that fixes everything," and poof he was all better. It just felt...I don't know. Unreal.

And I am certain that there are many many many people out there that read this book and think, "Oh my gosh, that's me, that's my life, this is beautiful, this is real" and it touches them in some wonderful way. And that's who this book is for. That's why the YA genre exists, to give representation and voice to young adults, who not only have to deal with the transition of going from teenager to adult, but have to deal with all the loss of identity and self that comes with it. One of the ways that this book did resonate with me was in the character of Ari and Dante's mothers, who both treated the idea of their sons in transition as beautiful, not scary, and worthy of love and patience and understanding. I can only hope to be that type of mother to my son.

Some books treat the teenage predicament with less of a kid hand, and its those books I can get into. But this one was almost too simple, and it failed to truly impress me past the easiness of reading the prose. ( )
  Shiraloo | Mar 25, 2015 |
I actually cried at the end of this book because I didn't want it to be over. Such a powerful book. I will be reading this again and again ( )
  beearedee | Feb 14, 2015 |
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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
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.
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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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