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Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe ~ Benjamin Alire Sáenz

January 27, 2018

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Genre: Young Adult/Contemporary
publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
359 pages
ISBN: 9781442408937
Source: Barnes and Noble

I have this list of books that I put off for the right time.

It’s not that I wouldn’t enjoy them on any given day; it’s just that some books are meant for moments of reflection  and calm. Some are meant for traveling and adventures. Some are meant for great days and some for wallowing days.

For whatever reason, I put of Aristotle and Dante until this random moment and it turns out, it was the perfect book for a reflective, rainy weekend.

The book, itself, has a myriad of awards but I’ve found that I am not always swayed by such things. Although, a Stonewall award usually means I need to read it, I’m always slightly skeptical of the things others gush about.

Don’t fear, though. The critics (and everyone else) were right about this one.

Aristotle and Dante, two high-schoolers who meet by chance, are these adorably flawed and, yet, still somehow perfect teenagers with flawed but perfect parents. As the title implies, the story is far less about action and adventure (though there is some of that) and far more about coming of age, coming to grips, and, yes, at some point, someone comes out.

The beauty in the book is that it pulls no punches (sometimes literally). The idea that boys either have to be emotionless bots or the rare, empathic saints is done away with, creating a wide range of emotions for males, both teen and adults. The intricate emotional tapestry of both generations involved in the story was the thing that stole my heart, painting young adult parents as humans with lives, as opposed to overlords.

I highly recommend this book and not just because it is going to be displayed prominently on my shelf as a therapist.

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