Fourth Grade Journey

A Fourth Grade Teacher's Journey Through the World of Books

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz...

How I Heard About It:  I first heard of this novel back in January 2014 when the award winning books where announced.  I kept hearing this title for many different categories.  I wrote it down for my TBR list, but didn't get to it until just recently.  

What It Is About:  Aristotle (Ari) and Dante are teenage boys living in the Southwest during the year 1987.  Ari meets Dante at the community pool and a friendship begins.  They both deal with issues regarding their ethnicity being Mexican boys growing up in the United States.  Ari is a bit shy and very quiet.  He prefers to spend his days alone and doesn't have many friends.  Dante is the exact opposite.  He is outgoing, sure of himself, and wants to make his mark on the world.  Dante wants to take Ari under his wing and show him all the world has to offer.  They spend the summer together, but then Dante and his family move to Chicago for the school year.  Each boy lives their life apart from his new friend, but keep in touch via letters.  The following summer Dante returns and resumes his friendship with Ari.  They learn to depend on each other while dealing with family and friendship issues.

What I Thought Of It:  This was a beautifully written story that I absolutely loved.  Once I started it I could not put it down.  The story was unique and each of the main characters (Ari and Dante) were one of a kind and I won't soon forget them.  I enjoyed the writing and took in all of the beautiful sentences and paragraphs, but also kept reading at a frantic pace because I wanted to find out all of the "secrets" of each boy.  The author captured both of these young men and I found the story to be quite realistic and could feel the "pain" that each of them were experiencing.

Who Should Read It:  I saw that certain sites stated that this novel was geared toward readers in grade 7 and up, but in my opinion it is better suited for high school readers and adults.  There are certain subject matters that I'm not sure middle-school readers would be able to handle and/or grasp.  I'm going to be recommending this book to all of my adult reader friends.  Happy Reading!  

Rating:  5 STARS out of 5 Stars

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