Aristotle and Dante discover the secrets of the universe
Benjamin Alire Saenz
Rating: four stars
I am probably the last person on earth to read this book. I did want to read it when it came out but I’m always cautious of overhyped books a bit like Carry On. So I waited for the hype to die down and read diverse reviews before finally reading it. And oh my! This book deserved all the hype it got!
I know everyone knows about the plot but I’m still going to describe it a little. It is the story of a teenage boy, Aristotle, who is going through the hardship of growing up. Ari is quite the loner and has several issues. He meets Dante another teenager and both start to share an unlikely friendship.
The great force of this book was the characters; each of them had a very distinct personality and they were all very interesting. Ari and Dante’s friendship is unveiling in front of our eyes (and developing into something more) and we see how hard/easy it is to trust a friend when you’re a loner. It also impacts on their family and leads to some harsh truth being said.
I am not going to dwell too much on the plot because I think it’s a book you have to discover on your own but I will say that it is not as light hearted as the blurb announces it. It is one of the best YA book I’ve read so far, it had a lot of feels and themes that are interesting. Usually these themes are not well dealt with in YA novels because the stories tend to focus on the relationship between the two main characters and they blur everything happening in the background. But here we have no plot holes (which is always frustrating).
Overall it is a beautiful book that anyone should read!
(sorry for the image quality….. watercolor and my camera are at war at the moment, we might reach a peace settlement for the next review xD)
My Salinger Year review:
Rating: five stars 😀
I am not one to read contemporary fiction, mostly because it bores me to death. Well, I gladly broke that rule for this book.
I have to say that I never plan on buying this book, it was given to me. First I thought ‘ugh contemporary….’ But I always give a chance to every book I own. So I started this book with no real expectations.
And it turned out great.
It is the autobiographical memoirs of Joanna Rakoff when she was working for the Agency, an editing house intermediate. She has the job of assisting the boss while answering letters from J.D.Salinger fans and sometimes reading some manuscripts.
I was very interested in her experience since I myself would like to work for an editing house. But even if you don’t want to, I think you can still commiserate with the characters.
Joanna is in that period of life when you are an adult but not sure where you are fitting in. This time frame when you are going through motions and starting to realize that maybe everything around you is wrong and you need a change.
I think that year was important for the character as a transitional year, a year to know what you want and perhaps found yourself. It may sound a bit cheesy but it is the simplest way to put it down.
It is very short but it has a big impact, by this I don’t mean its life changing, but it gets you emotional and you might think, ‘hey I actually know what she is going through’. I believe anyone can relate to what is happening in this book even without the whole bookish background that I loved.
Of course I couldn’t talk about this book without saying a word on Salinger. I never read any of his books. There I said it. I knew about them because of the whole John Lennon thing but I never tried. I guess I was curious but I always remembered it was a trigger for acting out. And we’re all scared of acting out. But enough about that. In this book J.D. Salinger has a central place without being here all the time and I think that’s great. It represents the weight of literature on your life or of certain authors, something everyone can relate to.