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A lyrical novel about family and friendship from critically acclaimed author Benjamin Alire Sáenz.
Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship—the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through this friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be.
That was so positively beautiful I just…I just need a moment.
I was pretty sure I’d like this book…I’d been recommended it enough! But still! Eeeh, what if it wasn’t for me? But of course it was. I just 100% fell in love with Ari and his confused dealing of being a teenager and the world. And Dante too, with his buoyant personality and quirk of hating-shoes. (Dude, shoes suck.) This is a beautiful book teens absolutely need to read. Okay, cut the “teen” part, because EVERYONE SHOULD READ THIS.
What I really loved was how it broke stereotypes and considered how confusing the world is. I don’t know about you, but I’ve always felt the world is super confusing. I’m pretty sure everyone deals with this — teens more so, because we’re just learning how to adult. Ari’s thought process was so vivid and really personal. I felt sucked in immediately.
The writing is gorgeous. It’s very crisp. No fluff. I LOVE THAT. Also: dialogue. Dialogue everywhere. There is barely description, just dialogue and interior thoughts.
My only twitchy face comes at how slow it was. It basically takes place over 2 years…which is a long time. People grow. People change. It’s all very interesting and I felt very invested. But the first 50% I just kept wondering if something was going to happen. And then BOOM plot twist. So, I admit, I was dubious for a while. Maybe a little bored. But then I couldn’t put it down.
And can I just say something about the parents in this book?? There are TWO sets of parents, Ari’s and Dante’s. Both are still married. Both still absolutely love each other. That is so beautiful and sweet and I just spent so much of the book thinking, “Finally. Awesome parents.” Parents are often shoved into a corner of “annoying and useless” in books, but they’re actually goldmines of knowledge and information and care. The parents in this book just continually out-sweeted themselves. I’m so glad Ari had parents like he did, even if it wasn’t always smooth sailing.
I’m still sniffling, because the ending is positively heartbreaking BUT IN THE BEST WAY POSSIBLE.