Book Review: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

April started out kind of poorly for me reading-wise. I found myself in a bit of a reading slump and I still cannot figure out how it happened. I think I wasn’t enjoying the NetGalley ARC I was reading and so it just ended up ruining my entire reading experience. So much so, that I wasn’t able to enjoy any book. I think it took me like 4 or 5 days before I was even able to read more than 50 pages of Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz. But finally, the clouds opened up and angels started singing, and I was finally able to power through this lovely book.

This Printz Honor Book is a “tender, honest exploration of identity” (Publishers Weekly) that distills lyrical truths about family and friendship.

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.

Okay, okay, I’m sure you have all heard this time and time again but you’re about to hear it again. The writing in this book is phenomenal. There’s at least one line on every page that is worth being quoted. I will never understand how some authors can just think up some of the most profound and beautiful phrases in the English language. It makes me sick to know that I am just not that creative, sick with jealousy. Me. Constantly. I mean, I’m a pretty decent writer when I try to be but I know that it will never even amount to a fraction of what Sáenz is able to create.

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For me, what really drives this story are the characters. This is one of those stories that if you don’t connect with the characters then you won’t enjoy it. But don’t worry, you will connect with them. Aristotle and Dante are two of the most interesting and well developed characters that I have ever read about. Aristotle has some serious emotional baggage, and is full of angst and struggles with his relationship with his family. I loved watching him grow and confront all of his issues at the end. And Dante is one of those people that if you met in real life, you know you would immediately become best friends.

But I think my favorite characters were actually the family. Unlike most YA novels, the parents in this book are actually caring and really involved in their children’s life. They support them, love them, and are always there when they need them. I know that in real life there are plenty of absent families, but YA just makes it seem like that’s the only family life there is. Thank God for this book. But the truth is, there are TONS of loving families and I’m a bit tired of always having to read otherwise. I don’t want to have to feel bad about having a great support system every time I read a book. And luckily, that wasn’t the case here.

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I didn’t have very many issues with this book. It’s a contemporary so it’s not a very fast-paced story or full excitement, it just moves along at a steady pace. I do wish there would’ve been a bit more development on the whole issue with Ari’s brother in prison but it wasn’t too bad the way it was finally handled. I just would’ve liked to have seen a bit more of a build-up to the big reveal or whatever. It just seemed like there was nothing and then BAM, now you know the whole story. I wish it would’ve been a bit more gradual.

When I finished this story, I had to spend a few minutes gathering my thoughts. Like I knew I enjoyed it but I wasn’t sure if it blew my mind like it had for some people. But the longer I sat there, I started to realize that this book is a quiet beautiful. I just felt really peaceful while I read it. The subject matter was a little heavy but still, I felt at peace. I truly loved it. It helped pull me out of a reading slump and if that doesn’t prove how good it is, I don’t know what will.

Final Verdict: 5/5 Stars


Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Did it make you feel peaceful too, or am I just some crazy person?

Musing Mondays – April 11th, 2016

Musing Mondays is a weekly theme hosted by the lovely MizB @ Books and a Beat, that asks you to answer one of the prompt questions and that week’s random question.

PROMPTS:

  • I’m currently reading…
  • Up next I think I’ll read…
  • I bought the following book(s) this past week…
  • I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I can’t wait to get a copy of…
  • I wish I could read ___, but…
  • I blogged about ____ this past week…

THIS WEEK’S RANDOM QUESTION: Name a book everyone should read at least once.


I Blogged About #HypeorLikeFriday This Past Week…

So I’m sure y’all are tired of me mentioning the creative baby of Jill @ Rant and Rave About BooksBritt @ Geronimo Reads, and myself. But I’m just so damn proud of it, that I’m going to mention it again. You’re so excited, right?! Hell yes, you are!!!

Anyway, Hype or Like Friday is this awesome reading group/meme that all are welcome to join. Basically, we all vote on one hyped book to read for that month and then discuss it and post a blog about it on the last Friday of the month. Then you get to rate it “Hyped It” or “Liked It”. It’s super easy and casual. If you don’t want to read the BOTM for that month or have already read it before, that’s totally fine to skip it. You can even just choose another hyped book from the poll if you would rather do that. This is really just a fun way to connect with some other bloggers and tackle some really hyped and popular books from your TBR. You can find out more Hype or Like Friday and join our group HERE.

The meme side of it is also just a really fun and easy way to fill up an empty post for each Friday. We give you a prompt and then all you have to do is answer it in a post. We’ve got all kinds of prompts, from lists to discussion questions. It’s all there. Just a super quick and easy post to do.

If you’re a fairly fast reader with an enormous TBR and want to get a bit ambitious along with me, then you can also choose a different hyped book each week to read and talk about in your meme post. This is a totally optional thing to do. Right now, I’m pretty sure I’m the only one who is doing this but it’s helping motivate me to read more of the TBR books that I already own. And I already average about 2-3 books a week and at least one is hyped read. So why not talk about it?!

Name A Book Everyone Should Read At Least Once…

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Come on, you knew that was coming!

However, if you’re looking for a more challenging and controversial read, then you can be like 14 year old and me and tackle this behemoth. That’s right. I read this book in 8th grade. While I get that it’s not for everyone, it is a book that I think everyone should read at least once. Debating is fun and there is nothing that will stir up a good debate at a book club more than a novel written by Ayn Rand. This women’s beliefs and work cause so many polarizing opinions that it absolutely fascinates me.

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Leave a link to your Musing Mondays post in the comments. What do you think about my choices? Do I know how to pick them, or what?! Hahahah!

Disclaimer: I’m in bed sick today and all hyped up on medication. If I sound like a crazy person…It’s because I AM a crazy person. Not because of the meds. 🙂