I would like to thank the people who put together the Hub reading challenge because I love it. I just finished reading Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secret of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz and the book was amazing.
(I'm not the greatest at book reviews but here goes.)
So, first this book is not what you may think from reading the title. My original though was it would involve the historical versions Aristotle and Dante, but not so much. Aristotle, Ari, and Dante are two teenage boys who live in new Mexico and meet one summer at the swimming pool. Ari is on, what seems to be, a never ending mission to understand himself, and the secrets his family are keeping from him. Although his relationship with his mother is, at times, that of friendship (their witty banter is always fantastic), Ari's relationship with his father borders on nonexistent. Ari's father was in Vietnam, his father never speaks of his times there, and in fact, rarely speaks at all. Ari has two sisters who are years older than he, so they don't have much of a relationship, and Ari has a brother who's been incarcerated since Ari was four but no one will tell him why. Aristotle is the narrator of the story and I think that was a great idea on the authors part. It allows us to see the change and growth not only in Ari as he makes his first friend in Dante, and builds a relationship with his father, and learns his family secrets, but we also see the growth in Ari's father. Both father and son are incredibly similar in action and manner, so it's great to see the person changes and growths in both of them.
Dante is Ari's total opposite. He knows who he is, although he too, keeps some of it hidden at times, for the most part, however, Dante isn't afraid to yell from the rooftops and defend what he believes (like his hatred of shoes). At one point in the story Aristotle says that on the outside he's like his father, silent and mysterious, but on the inside he wants to be like Dante. He wants to be able to walk up to his father and give him a kiss on the cheek hello, or tell people exactly what he's thinking. Because we as readers know that Ari wants to be more like Dante it's interesting to watch them both interact,
I don't want to give away the plot because I think everyone on the planet should read this book, but I will say the ending almost drove me to tears and it took me two days to organize enough of my thoughts to put all of this down on paper... well not exactly paper but close enough.
So everyone, go out and get this book and love it as much as I did :)