Monday, August 14, 2017

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

By the time this review posts, I will be the mother of a son. Perhaps that is why I was so affected by Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. Perhaps I don't even need that reason because the writing is so beautiful. Whatever it is, I listened to the entire audiobook in a day and loved it all.

Ari has always felt different--angrier and quieter than most boys. He never had a friend until he met Dante, who was everything he wasn't: outgoing, loving, and happy. Through their unlikely friendship, the boys truly come of age and learn who they really are. It's a story about all kinds of love: between best friends, between outcasts, between families, and between people who love each other.

Many YA novels have static parent characters or leave them out entirely. Benjamin Alire Saenz delves into the emotional lives of Ari and Dante's parents, who are complex and interesting. The mother in me nodded every time there was a reference to how much these teenage boys love their parents, even if they weren't able to say it out loud. It is hopeful and beautiful.

Part of the reason I finished the book so quickly was Lin-Manuel Miranda's narration of the audiobook. I could listen to him read anything, and he embodied the characters so well. I highly recommend adding this to a high school class library.

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