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.
I’ve heard so many good things about this book, but I have never expected it to be this good. I absolutely loved it. This book definitely deserves all the hype it gets and even more. If you haven’t yet, go pick it up!
There is no much plot in this book, but surprisingly, it works very well anyway. It’s a self-discovery story about friendship and family and accepting who you really are. I loved that this book was mostly character-based and that we saw how certain moments in Ari’s life affected him and made him who he is now. ANother thing I really appreciated was the family aspect and Ari’s relationship with his parents. They were far from the perfect family, but they all loved each other. I have to admit, I liked Dante’s family a bit more, but I guess that’s because they were more outgoing and had less problems.
The whole LGBTQ aspect of this book was done very well and I really lke the direction it took. It wasn’t forced, everything seemed very realistic and I loved it (though it sometimes frustrated me) that Ari took so long to accept his emotions for Dante, even though Dante himself was very open about who he is and what he wants.
I really liked Ari as a protagonist. At some parts, I could totally connect with him and I found a bit of myself in him. He is far from perfect, but he’s great the way he is. He’s insecure, doesn’t know where he belongs, doesn’t have the best relationship with his parents, but he is also very caring and a great friend to Dante. I love it that he didn’t judge Dante and that he accepted him for who he is and still wanted to be his friend. That probably why I like him the most. He was not a jerk.
Dante was another amazing character. I love how open he is about how he feels and also how he can make Ari talk about everything. I loved all the letters he sent to Ari when he was away and how he didn’t give up on writing to him even though Ari didn’t write him back. Dante didn’t care what other people thought of him, he always said what was on him mind and that’s why I love him so much.
Ari and Dante’s relationship is beautiful and I ship them so, so hard. They’re just a perfect match. It was killing me that Ari didn’t want to admit his feelings for Dante (though it was quite obvious to everyone), but when he finally did, I melted. IT. WAS. SO. CUTE. Great, now I’m overwhelmed with feels all over again.
The writing style is amazing. I love the short chapters and simplicity of dialogues. It worked perfectly with the story. I also really like the bits in Spanish (I was so happy that I could understand it), it just added another layer to the story. The ending sentences in chapters are so amazing! You just have to continue reading.
I just realized that Benjamin Alire Saenz never used the word gay or homosexual in this book. Instead he used different terms and that was so new and refreshing, and also very original. Loved it!
I love the message this books sends and I think everyone needs to read this book. Also, I recommend listening to it via audiobook. For me, it was an amazing experience because the narrator is just awesome. Just go read this book! It’s truly amazing.
P. S. I know I used word loved way too many times in this review, but I don’t care. I LOVED this book.