Aristotle and Dante discover the secrets of the universe /
Benjamin Alire Sáenz.
edition
1st ed.
imprint
New York : Simon & Schuster BFYR, c2012.
description
359 p. ; 22 cm.
ISBN
1442408928 (hardcover), 9781442408920 (hardcover)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
New York : Simon & Schuster BFYR, c2012.
isbn
1442408928 (hardcover)
9781442408920 (hardcover)
abstract
Fifteen-year-old Ari Mendoza is an angry loner with a brother in prison, but when he meets Dante and they become friends, Ari starts to ask questions about himself, his parents, and his family that he has never asked before.
catalogue key
8946893
target audience
Ages 12 up.
A Look Inside
Awards
This item was nominated for the following awards:
Michael L. Printz Award, USA, 2013 : Nominated
First Chapter

One

ONE SUMMER NIGHT I FELL ASLEEP, HOPING THE WORLD would be different when I woke. In the morning, when I opened my eyes, the world was the same. I threw off the sheets and lay there as the heat poured in through my open window.

My hand reached for the dial on the radio. "Alone" was playing. Crap, "Alone," a song by a group called Heart. Not my favorite song. Not my favorite group. Not my favorite topic. "You don't know how long . . ."

I was fifteen.

I was bored.

I was miserable.

As far as I was concerned, the sun could have melted the blue right off the sky. Then the sky could be as miserable as I was.

The DJ was saying annoying, obvious things like, "It's summer! It's hot out there!" And then he put on that retro Lone Ranger tune, something he liked to play every morning because he thought it was a hip way to wake up the world. "Hi-yo, Silver!" Who hired this guy? He was killing me. I think that as we listened to the William Tell Overture, we were supposed to be imagining the Lone Ranger and Tonto riding their horses through the desert. Maybe someone should have told that guy that we all weren't ten-year-olds anymore. "Hi-yo, Silver!" Crap. The DJ's voice was on the airwaves again: "Wake up, El Paso! It's Monday, June fifteenth, 1987! 1987! Can you believe it? And a big 'Happy Birthday' goes out to Waylon Jennings, who's fifty years old today!" Waylon Jennings? This was a rock station, dammit! But then he said something that hinted at the fact that he might have a brain. He told the story about how Waylon Jennings had survived the 1959 plane crash that killed Buddy Holly and Richie Valens. On that note, he put on the remake of "La Bamba" by Los Lobos.

"La Bamba." I could cope with that.

I tapped my bare feet on the wood floor. As I nodded my head to the beat, I started wondering what had gone through Richie Valens's head before the plane crashed into the unforgiving ground. Hey, Buddy! The music's over.

For the music to be over so soon. For the music to be over when it had just begun. That was really sad.

2012 Benjamin Alire Senz
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Publishers Weekly on 2011-12-19:
Fifteen-year-old Aristotle (Ari) has always felt lonely and distant from people until he meets Dante, a boy from another school who teaches him how to swim. As trust grows between the boys and they become friends (a first for Ari), Ari's world opens up while they discuss life, art, literature, and their Mexican-American roots. Additionally, the influence of Dante's warm, open family (they even have a "no secrets" rule) is shaping Ari's relationship with his parents, particularly in regard to a family secret; Ari has an older brother in prison, who no one ever mentions. In a poetic coming-of-age story written in concise first-person narrative, Saenz (Sammy and Juliana in Hollywood) crystallizes significant turning points in the boys' relationship, especially as Ari comes to understand that Dante's feelings for him extend beyond friendship. The story swells to a dramatic climax as Ari's loyalties are tested, and he confronts his most deeply buried fears and desires. It's a tender, honest exploration of identity and sexuality, and a passionate reminder that love-whether romantic or familial-should be open, free, and without shame. Ages 12-up. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Reviews
Review Quotes
"Senz has written the greater love story, for his is the story of loving ones self, of love between parents and children, and of the love that builds communities, in addition to the deepening love between two friends."
"I'm absolutely blown away. This is Saenz's best work by far...It's a beautiful story, so beautifully told and so psychologically acute! Both Ari and Dante are simply great characters who will live on in my memory. Everything about the book is absolutely pitch perfect...It's already my favorite book of the year!"
"Im absolutely blown away. This is Saenz's best work by far...Its a beautiful story, so beautifully told and so psychologically acute! Both Ari and Dante are simply great characters who will live on in my memory. Everything about the book is absolutely pitch perfect...Its already my favorite book of the year!"
"I'm absolutely blown away. This is Saenz's best work by far...It's a beautiful story, so beautifully told and so psychologically acute! Both Ari and Dante are simply great characters who will live on in my memory. Everything about the book is absolutely pitch perfect...It's already my favorite book of the year!"--Michael Cart, Booklist columnist and YALSA past president
"SÁenez writes toward the end of the novel that "to be careful with people and words was a rare and beautiful thing." And that's exactly what SÁenez doeshe treats his characters carefully, giving them space and time to find their place in the world, and to find each other...those struggling with their own sexuality may find it to be a thought-provoking read."-- Booklist
"Sáenez writes toward the end of the novel that "to be careful with people and words was a rare and beautiful thing." And that's exactly what Sáenez doeshe treats his characters carefully, giving them space and time to find their place in the world, and to find each other...those struggling with their own sexuality may find it to be a thought-provoking read."
* "Meticulous pacing and finely nuanced characters underpin the author's gift for affecting prose that illuminates the struggles within relationships."
"Primarily a character- and relationship-driven novel, written with patient and lyrical prose that explores the boys emotional lives with butterfly-wing delicacy."-- Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"Primarily a character- and relationship-driven novel, written with patient and lyrical prose that explores the boys' emotional lives with butterfly-wing delicacy."-- Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"Ari's first-person narrativepoetic, philosophical, honestskillfully develops the relationship between the two boys from friendship to romance."-- The Horn Book
* "A tender, honest exploration of identity and sexuality, and a passionate reminder that lovewhether romantic or familialshould be open, free, and without shame."
"Sáenz writes toward the end of the novel that "to be careful with people and words was a rare and beautiful thing." And that's exactly what Sáenz does--he treats his characters carefully, giving them space and time to find their place in the world, and to find each other...those struggling with their own sexuality may find it to be a thought-provoking read."
"Sáenz writes toward the end of the novel that to be careful with people and words was a rare and beautiful thing. And that's exactly what Sáenz does-he treats his characters carefully, giving them space and time to find their place in the world, and to find each other...those struggling with their own sexuality may find it to be a thought-provoking read."
"Senz is a master at capturing the conversation of teens with each other and with the adults in their lives."
"Sáenz has written the greater love story, for his is the story of loving one's self, of love between parents and children, and of the love that builds communities, in addition to the deepening love between two friends."
"SÁenz has written the greater love story, for his is the story of loving one's self, of love between parents and children, and of the love that builds communities, in addition to the deepening love between two friends."-- VOYA
"Sáenz is a master at capturing the conversation of teens with each other and with the adults in their lives."
“Benjamin Alire Saenz is a writer with a sidewinder punch. Spare sentences connect resonant moments, and then he knocks you down with emotional truth. The story of Ari and Dante’s friendship widens and twists like a river, revealing truths about how hard love is, how family supports us, and how painfully deep you have to go to uncover an authentic self.”--Judy Blundell, National Book Award-winning author of What I Saw and How I Lied
"Benjamin Alire Saenz is a writer with a sidewinder punch. Spare sentences connect resonant moments, and then he knocks you down with emotional truth. The story of Ari and Dante's friendship widens and twists like a river, revealing truths about how hard love is, how family supports us, and how painfully deep you have to go to uncover an authentic self."--Judy Blundell, National Book Award-winning author of What I Saw and How I Lied
Benjamin Alire Saenz is a writer with a sidewinder punch. Spare sentences connect resonant moments, and then he knocks you down with emotional truth. The story of Ari and Dantes friendship widens and twists like a river, revealing truths about how hard love is, how family supports us, and how painfully deep you have to go to uncover an authentic self.
Benjamin Alire Saenz is a writer with a sidewinder punch. Spare sentences connect resonant moments, and then he knocks you down with emotional truth. The story of Ari and Dante's friendship widens and twists like a river, revealing truths about how hard love is, how family supports us, and how painfully deep you have to go to uncover an authentic self.
* "Authentic teen and Latino dialogue should make it a popular choice."-- School Library Journal , starred review
* "Authentic teen and Latino dialogue should make it a popular choice."
* "A tender, honest exploration of identity and sexuality, and a passionate reminder that lovewhether romantic or familialshould be open, free, and without shame."-- Publishers Weekly , starred review
"Ari's first-person narrative-poetic, philosophical, honest-skillfully develops the relationship between the two boys from friendship to romance."
"This book took my breath away. What gorgeous writing, and what a story! I loved both these boys. And their parents! Don't we all wish we had parents like theirs? The ending - and the way it unfolded - was so satisfying. I could go on and on...suffice it to say I will be highly recommending it to one and all. I'm sure I'll reread it myself at some point. I hated having it end."
"Ari's first-person narrativepoetic, philosophical, honestskillfully develops the relationship between the two boys from friendship to romance."
"Aris first-person narrativepoetic, philosophical, honestskillfully develops the relationship between the two boys from friendship to romance."
"SÁenz is a master at capturing the conversation of teens with each other and with the adults in their lives."-- Library Media Connection , Recommended
"This book took my breath away. What gorgeous writing, and what a story! I loved both these boys. And their parents! Don't we all wish we had parents like theirs? The ending - and the way it unfolded - was so satisfying. I could go on and on...suffice it to say I will be highly recommending it to one and all. I'm sure I'll reread it myself at some point. I hated having it end." --James Howe, Author of Addie on the Inside
This item was reviewed in:
Publishers Weekly, December 2011
Booklist, January 2012
Horn Book Magazine, February 2012
School Library Journal, February 2012
Voice of Youth Advocates, February 2012
Horn Book Guide, June 2012
Kirkus Reviews, June 2012
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Main Description
A lyrical novel about family and friendship from critically acclaimed author Benjamin Alire Senz. 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.
Main Description
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 they meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the two loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special kind of friendship--the kind of friendship that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through their friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves--and about the kind of people they want to be.
Main Description
A lyrical novel about family and friendship from critically acclaimed author Benjamin Alire S enz. 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 friendshipthe 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.
Main Description
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 friendshipthe 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.
Library of Congress Summary
Fifteen-year-old Ari Mendoza is an angry loner with a brother in prison, but when he meets Dante and they become friends, Ari starts to ask questions about himself, his parents, and his family that he has never asked before.

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