~ Happy reading ~
This book is summer, love and hapiness. It melted my heart with its wonderful words, its touching story and its gorgeous characters. I could tell you a lot about the story but that would just spoil the fun. Be warned it's not an action or adventurous story, the pacing is slow but never boring.
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz is a coming of age story. We first meet Aristotle (Ari) and Dante when they are 15 and become friends. The reader follows their lives until they both nearly turn 18. The story is told from Ari's pov. He is a typical teenager looking for his place in the world. At first he doesn't know what he wants and where he fits. And when Ari has an idea he denies it. Although he's often an angry and brooding kid he has a great sense of humour. His thoughts made me (often) grin like a Cheshire Cat while reading.
For example at the beginning when he listens to two guys talking bullshit about girls:
"And it really depressed me that there was the distinct possibility that I was going to grow up and be like one of those assholes. A girl is like a tree? Yeah, and a guy is about as smart as a piece of dead wood infested with termites."
In a way Dante is Ari's opposite. He's candid and friendly. He loves books and - even better - knows himself and what he wants to do with his life. I loved him although I saw him only through Ari's eyes. But that wasn't a problem because Ari loves his friend Dante too:
"I thought of Dante and wondered about him. And it seemed to me that Dante's face was a map of the world. A world without any darkness. Wow, a world without darkness. How beautiful was that?"
As different as they are they do have a lot in commom: They have a similar sense of humour, both have grandparents who imigrated from Mexico into the US and they share a passion for strange games.
I not only loved Ari and Dante but the side characters (aka their parents) too. All had their flaws (some minor, some major) hence were so loveable. Their interactions just felt real:
"My mother would listen sometimes as my father and I talked about B. But she would never say a word. I loved her for her silence. Or maybe I just understood it. And loved my father too, for the careful way he spoke. I came to understand that my father was a careful man. To be careful with people and with words was a rare and beautiful thing."
I've just re-read the last 15% this evening and there are so many great sentences in this book... I could go on and on.
Some questions about Ari's brother were still unanswered at the end but I didn't care and was quite satisfied with the whole story. If you haven't read Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe yet, go and get it. Highly recommended!