April 9, 2015

Book Love: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

I read this book on vacation last week and kind of fell in love with it. It's different from a lot of the books I've read of late. And I liked that departure. The book is sweet and honest and real.

And I miss the characters now that I'm done. That's always, for me, a sign that I loved a book.

So here is where you'd likely expect me to give you a brief overview of the book. A blurb of some sort that might get you interested in reading it and tell you what it's about. But I've been thinking about that. And I realized that I, as a reader, am less interested in a synopsis, in knowing what the book is about, than I am in knowing how it made a reader feel.

Did you love it? Did it make you cry? Did it make you laugh? Did it bring back memories of your childhood? Did it leave you awed? Was it fun? Was it beautifully written?

That's what I want to know.

I am not often reading book jackets before choosing a book these days. I'm reading reviews from people who loved the book. Then I get it. And I read it. And I am often super surprised by what it's about.

All I knew about this book before I started it was that it was Young Adult and that a blogger I trust highly recommended it. That's it.

I guess I like the surprise.

And surprised I was. A few chapters into the book I thought I knew what what going on between the main characters. But by halfway through I was certain that I'd been wrong. Then, at the end, we circled back much closer to where I'd started. But that's no matter, really.

What you need to know about this book is this: Saenz so beautifully and accurately captures this snapshot of his characters' lives that it makes my heart hurt (but in a good way). They are all, even the more secondary characters, so wonderfully drawn. Like an artistic rendering of emotions and life on a page. I said it before and I'll say it again: This book is sweet and honest and real. It is beautiful and true. It is heart-wrenching and uplifting. It is a portrait of love and friendship and family, and the sweet, aching beauty of adolescence.

I recommend it. In case you hadn't picked up on that yet.

Seriously. Go check out Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz.

Until next time, happy reading!

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