Saturday 20 January 2018


Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe (Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, #1)
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

OMG. I LOVED this book. SO much!

My daughter bought and read this book a few years back, and has been telling me to read it for ages. She said I would love it... so when I was putting my current TBR pile together, she added it on there.

And my gosh, she was right. I did love it. As soon as I started reading on Friday afternoon, I was hooked. I just wanted to get a taste, but Ari's voice grabbed my attention and I ended up reading the first 50 pages in one sitting.

How could I not be intrigued by his very intimate voice? Or that the story starts with the mention of a Heart song, followed by Los Lobos? Yeah. I was totally there. Plus, everyone knows I have a thing for the 80s.

Aristotle and Dante meet the summer they're both 15. When Dante offers to teach Ari how to swim, these two very different boys embark on an unexpected friendship.

Ari's a bit standoffish, doesn't have any real friends, and spends a lot of time in his head. His parents are lovely, but between having an older brother in prison and his father's time in Vietnam, they hoard too many secrets.

Dante's the kind of guy who shares just about everything he's feeling. He loves art, likes animals, and hates wearing shoes. His parents are both professionals. They're also very kind, and are open about everything with their son. And for that, he loves them in a way most teenagers don't seem to.

Together, the boys develop an intense friendship that forms a deep bond neither is able to break. No matter how hard Ari tries to stay aloof, Dante's under his skin and as they get older and the world changes around them, they'll both realise just how much they mean to each other...

Wow. This book is totally captivating.

I loved spending so much time in Ari's head. I loved how wonderful Dante was. I loved how their parents seemed so different, but really weren't. I loved how the bonds of friendship is explored in such a raw and honest way. I loved how it developed into something deeper, yet the narrator refused to see it. And I absolutely loved how this story delves into the different levels of what it means to be an immigrant's child.

It was amazing how much I related to being caught between two cultures. I know because I lived through exactly this. In the 80s. While growing up, I was always caught between not being Australian enough for Aussies, and not being Spanish enough for Spaniards. No wonder I love this book with an intensity I didn't expect!

Not to mention the parents. Both sets of parents are real people with their own awesome qualities, flaws and ambitions. They love their kids so much they unintentionally end up hurting them with such fierce protectiveness. Not realising how they're damaging their kids. This is especially true with Ari's parents. The family secrets don't help Ari, thet haunt and change him.

Everything about this story wormed its way into my heart. I couldn't put it down. Didn't want to. It's honest, heartbreaking, happy, sad, tragic--and everything in between. Plus, Legs! That dog was as adorable as this story.

Why did I wait so long to read this beautiful book? It was such a joy.

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