“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.”
I thought that this book was really good.
I’m someone who doesn’t read a ton of contemporary books but this is one that has been recommended to me over and over again so I finally decided to pick it up and man am I glad I did.
I listened to this on audio and this was the main reason why I picked it up in the first place. This book is narrated by Lin-Manuel Miranda. Yes THE LIN-MANUEL MIRANDA. The guy who wrote Hamilton narrated this book. I’m a huge fan of Hamilton so I was so excited to learn that Lin-Manuel was narrating this book.
I think he did a great job, Miranda really brought the characters of Aristotle and Dante to life and made me really start to appreciate them even more. As of writing this blog post, it has been 2 weeks since I finished this book and I’m already dying to get my hands on other books narrated by him (So if you guys have any recommendations, let me know!)
Aristotle and Dante were great characters to read from. I think that these characters really brought me into the world of what it was like to grow up as a LGBTQ+ man in the 1980s. It was very eye opening. I think both characters were great at doing that. They made me laugh and cry at the same time. I think that, if this book ever gets a sequel, I will pick it up in a heart beat due to the fact that these characters were so great.
The budding romance between Ari and Dante was heart warming. I could just see each of the character’s feelings for one another growing even when it wasn’t stated in the text. I now have a soft spot for romances like this just from the way that it was depicted in this book.
The plot was what brought the book down a couple of notches for me. It was a little slow getting into and there were some parts with a lot of info-dumping. The writing also seemed a little juvenile in my personal opinion and I think that it was just due to the fact of the ages of the character being a little younger than normal YA books. Other than those factors, I think that the plot perfectly did what the author wanted it to do.
The final thing I want to talk about was the amazing diversity. I had never, up to this point, read a book about two boys falling in love. Not only that but I had never read a book about Mexican-American characters either. This book had both of those elements and I really liked how they were portrayed. It brought me into the world of those kinds of characters and made me feel exactly how they were feeling and that is something that I always look for in books.
Overall, I thought this book was great. I will definitely be picking up future books by this author as well as books narrated by Lin-Manuel Miranda as stated before. This book will definitely make it on the list of my favorite contemporary books.