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A Reading Vocation

"I Must Read, Read, and Read. It is my Vocation." - Thomas Merton

This is where I chronicle my reading life.  I also blog about writing at Lacey's Late-night Editing.

 

Book 38/100: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamine Alire Saenz

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

I've been putting off writing this review because this is one of those books that, while well-written and engaging enough, didn't leave me with strong feelings. I gave it four stars because the writing is quite lovely in places, and the characters, especially Dante and Ari, are incredibly vivid. I fell totally in love with Dante and his open, earnest, brave nature--just as I've adored people in my real life who are able to wear their hearts on their sleeves the way he did. I liked that the story was focused on Ari's and Dante's friendship, with their realization of their attraction to one another unfolding in gentle undertones. Ari is probably one of the most believable teen males I've ever read, especially in his determination not to let his feelings show. He's been "taught" to keep things bottled up based on experiences in his family, but he's also a lot like the many teenagers, boys especially, who don't show emotion just because it isn't "cool."

Dante's and Ari's sets of parents made a nice change from the homophobe parents typical in YA, although the mothers seemed almost interchangeable. The author seemed to have a bit of a fetish with illness and injury, considering that he uses them as plot devices three times in this not-all-that-long story. A minor complaint.

All-in-all, a worthwhile addition to teen literature and to literature with queer themes, but not one that I find myself wanting to thrust into people's hands with the insistence that they must read it now.