Monday, January 13, 2014

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

Happy Monday!

The snow is melting in Indiana and we're starting to get back to normal.  It's nice to be back on a schedule!

Today's review is on Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz.  I had heard so many people talk about this book and how it was beautifully written, so I couldn't wait to get my hands on it.  So let's jump right in!

  • Standalone novel
  • Realistic fiction
The Gist:
In El Paso, TX, fifteen-year-old Ari and Dante are growing up and discovering themselves--and then they find each other in the process.  They're in transition from being boys to men, and they're looking to discover themselves in the "secrets of the universe."  Ari struggles to learn about his brother Bernardo (who is in prison), his father's connection to Vietnam, and his first attempts at driving.  A story of discovery and growth.

What I Loved:
  • This was definitely beautifully written.  I felt invested in the characters and engrossed in the imagery.
  • I liked the set-up of the book; there weren't regular chapter breaks but had chapters within larger sections.  An interesting grouping that really added to the story.
  • There were some profound moments in the book that didn't seem pretentious or over-the-top.
  • There were only a few characters in the book, which really give you a good look at them.  And the parents were great characters--not weak as we so often see in YA lit.
What I Didn't Love:
  • This book is tough to sell to my students--a book about boys discovering themselves?  It's just not fast-paced enough for students to jump for it. 
My favorite quote: "I wondered what that was like, to hold someone's hand.  I bet you could sometimes find all of the mysteries of the universe in someone's hand."

An enjoyable read--not super fast-paced, but it kept me feeling invested.

 I'll be back on Wednesday with an inspired outfit for the guys!  See you then!

Poster preview

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