on April 1, 2014
Genres: Young Adult, Realistic, Romance
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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.
Two young men connect and grow over the course of a year in this amazing young adult novel. Review time!
I’m interested in expanding my experience with LGBTQIA novels. This novel is an award winning young adult novel featuring Hispanic boys questioning their identity and sexuality in the 1980s. When my library purchased it earlier this year, I happily borrowed it. Aristotle is the main characters, and the novel is told from his perspective. He’s an unreliable narrator, at time morose and brooding. He’s dealing with many issues, including a brother in jail and a distant father. Enter Dante, the complete and total opposite of Ari. He’s charismatic, open, and honest. The two connect in a wonderful way, both providing something the other needs. I enjoyed their evolving friendship as much as I enjoyed Ari’s evolving characterization.
For a character-driven novel focused on serious issues, it’s surprisingly action-packed. A lot happens in the course of a year to both Ari and Dante, and these events resonate with a contemporary audience. The one aspect of the novel I disliked intensely was the writing. Generally I do not enjoy dialog heavy literature. If you enjoy spare and dialect-filled language, then you will enjoy this book.
tl;dr A great Hispanic coming-of-age story focused on friendship, family, and sexuality.