Review: Aristotle and Dante Discover. . .

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the UniverseAristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When I think about this book, my chest aches. Then all I want to do is laugh and curse. Ari and Dante would approve of both.

The funny thing is, I wasn’t supposed to be read this book last night. I was supposed to be working away at those 7 remaining books in my book club trilogy challenge. I bought this novel a few months back, based solely on a slew of vague comments about how lovely it is. Then last night, I wanted to play around with my new laptop and decided to “test out my Kindle app real quick, before I start writing.”

I pulled up this novel and flicked through the opening pages, getting a feel for the app. Then chapter one happened, and I didn’t stop reading the novel until the final sentence. I couldn’t put it down and even went so far as to neglect and largely ignore my house guests. I feel sure they spoke words to me. Perhaps I responded, but I have no clue what conversation occurred. I also didn’t get any writing done, nor did I make progress on my book club challenge.

All I cared about was Ari and Dante’s story. It’s so gorgeous. Every line was so simple but made me feel so much. I want to clutch the book to my chest, but that’s a bit awkward, seeing as I read on my laptop.

These characters are fresh and lovable. Watching them change and grow throughout the story seemed so personal and intimate. Sometimes I felt like I should look away, as if I was spying on something private or almost sacred, but of course I didn’t. Couldn’t.

I enjoyed the four parents almost as much as I did the two sons, and it was nice to see adults take on so much life and such interesting roles in a YA novel. That’s not to say adults don’t appear in lots of YA novels. They do. It’s just that outside of Dante and Ari, the next most interesting and enjoyable characters are their parents, which was pretty cool, all things considered.

I’ll feel a lot better about the world in general, once everyone reads this wonderful story. It digs its way deep inside you, but I’m good with it stealing away a piece of my heart. There are lines in this novel that might haunt me forever. But some stories are worth all that. Some stories give back so much more than they take, and this is one of them.

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