Now Quoting: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sàenz

12000020.jpg Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz

Published by Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers on February 12th 2012

Page Count: 359

Genre(s): YA, contemporary, romance, coming-of-age, LBBTQ+

Format: Hardcover, library copy

Would I recommend? Absolutely! This is one of the most beautifully-written and realistic novels I’ve ever read, and definitely one of my favorites from 2015. You can check out my review here if you’re interested. 🙂

My Rating: ★★★★★


This Printz Honor Book is a “tender, honest exploration of identity” (Publishers Weekly) that distills lyrical truths about family and friendship.

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.

-Goodreads.com synopsis

I read this book around the time I started this blog (8 months or so), and I adored it so much it still gives me goosebumps whenever I think about it. It was such a beautifully-written novel that I could have chosen dozens of quotes to feature in this week’s ‘Now Quoting’ post, but I chose the following quote because it particularly resonated with me.


“I know there may be universes out there where I made different choices and they led me somewhere else, led me to someone else. And my heart breaks for every single version of me that didn't end up with you.” 2.jpg

I don’t really know why this quote resonated with me so much. I guess it was just because it was so well-written, and so incredibly relatable. I have countless questions I ask myself every day similar to the ones this quote asked, and I think it’s amazing that Benjamin Alire Sàenz was able to capture this in his writing.


Have you read Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe? What did you think? What are some books that you’ve found particularly quotable lately?

Mini Reviews | March 2016 Edition

Yes, I do realize that it is no longer March. But I was hoping to do some sort of round-up of all the books I didn’t get to review in March….so I’m doing mini reviews! Grab your beverages and get cozy, guys, because this is going to be a long post.


11588.jpgThe Shining by Stephen King

This book took me a while to get through, because, you know…..I’m not that experienced with Adult books. I did love it though! I had extremely high expectations for this one because Stephen King is considered to be one of the greatest writers of modern times, and I was certainly not let down. The only thing I wasn’t really expecting – and this isn’t necessarily a bad thing because I don’t like to get too freaked out – is that it didn’t scare me as much as I expected it to. I’m not saying that I didn’t get scared at all, because I did. I’m just saying that although I was pretty scared while reading this book, it didn’t have much of an effect on me after I finished it. I think it’s just one of those “it’s not you, it’s me” situations.

Rating: 4/5 Stars


22205.jpg This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen

I had pretty mixed feelings about this one. I mean, it is Sarah Desssen, so it was extremely well-written and quite adorable. I guess I was just let down a little bit by the plot. I guess it felt a little slow to me for the first half of the book, so I didn’t get into it until much later on. Also, the main character, Remy, really bugged me with all her negativity and selfishness. The plot seemed pretty cliche with the whole “girl who doesn’t believe in love meets boy who changes her life” trope. It was a cute book, though, and while I didn’t necessarily like the characters individually, I loved them together.

Rating: 3/5 Stars


228965514.jpgNone of the Above by I. W. Gregario

None of the Above is an extremely important book, and I’m so, so glad I read it. It centers on a teenage girl, Kristin, who has to reevaluate everything she thought she knew about herself after being told she was intersex. Admittedly, this book did make me a bit uncomfortable, but not because of the subject matter at hand. The way people reacted to Kristin’s situation and completely betrayed her just broke my heart. The sad thing is that before reading this book I had no idea what it meant to be intersex – and that is one of the reasons this book is so necessary. Lovely writing, realistic and fleshed-out characters, and unique, important subject matter. Highly recommend!

Rating: 4/5 Stars


22489107.jpgFairest by Marissa Meyer

This one was okay. I mean, I guess it was kind of interesting to learn about Levana’s background and how she became so evil and everything, but for the most part, I feel like it didn’t add much to the series. Readers that actually liked Levana’s character to begin with might enjoy this book, but I personally don’t see the appeal. Some parts felt more like a chore to get through than actually reading for pleasure.

Rating: 2.5/5 Stars


6654313.jpg Linger by Maggie Stiefvater

I actually wrote a review on this book a few weeks ago, which you can view here. Basically, while the writing was still gorgeous and the story was somewhat enjoyable, I had some issues with the plot. By that, I mean: literally nothing happens throughout the course of the entire novel. Nothing. It was also pretty predictable, and I wasn’t a huge fan of the new characters that were introduced. Overall, a fast-paced, fun read, but I found it lacking in a few areas.

Rating: 3/5 Stars


12425532.jpgOf Poseidon by Anna Banks

I wasn’t a fan of this one at all! The premise sounded promising because I’ve hardly ever encountered any YA mermaid novels and I was in the mood for a good beach read, but unfortunately, it didn’t deliver. The writing style is what about 80% of my ratings are based off of, and I didn’t enjoy the writing style in this one at all. The sentences felt kind of choppy and contrived and there wasn’t much sentence variety, and it felt like the book was geared towards a much younger audience than “young adults.” I also had some serious issues with the characters, starting with Emma. Emma just seemed so whiny and naive, and she bugged me so much throughout the novel! Galen just seemed way too creepy and stalkerish and possesive for my taste. Insta-love is one of my least favorite romance tropes, and it was painfully present in this book. I could go on with all the things I didn’t like about this novel, but it’s supposed to be a “mini review,” so I’ll just stop right here….

Rating: 1.5/5 Stars


180442773.jpgThe Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma

Loved, loved, loved! The first 3/4 of the novel is really, really confusing, but the confusion is well worth it. This book centers on the lives of 3 teenage girls: Amber, Orianna, and Violet. It tells the stories of these super messed-up girls and the crimes they did or did not commit. The way Nova Ren Suma wove these stories together in such a beautiful, seamless way was honestly awe-inspiring. The lyrical writing was absolutely gorgeous – almost poetic. This book will seriously mess with your mind, and while I do admit that this book isn’t for everyone because of the dark subject matters at hand, I thoroughly enjoyed it and would highly recommend it.

Rating: 4/5 Stars


 

13455498.jpgAnything But Ordinary by Lara Avery

I wrote a review on this one a few days ago, which you can view here. This book had lots of potential, but unfortunately, I wasn’t a huge fan of the execution. I suppose the first half of the book was pretty enjoyable, but there were too many aspects in the latter half that left me rolling my eyes and wanting to throw the book across the room in frustration to overlook. The writing was okay, but nothing special. The characters were boring and felt pretty unrealistic. The plot was shockingly predictable, and the ending felt really cheap and unsatisfying. A quick, fast-paced read, but I definitely had some issues with it.

Rating: 1.5/5 Stars


 

16068341.jpgThe Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu

For anyone who has ever been bullied, The Truth About Alice is an absolute must-read. This book explores the effects of an extreme case on the bullying spectrum in an incredibly honest and raw perspective. The book is in the POVs of four characters: Kelsie, Alice’s ex-best friend; Kurt, the boy next door; Elaine, who hosted the party and is the most popular girl at school; and Josh, the best friend of the boy who Alice supposedly “killed.” The writing was amazing and I loved how Mathieu used 4 unique perspectives to piece together what truly happened that night. The only issue I have with this book was the extremely stereotyped and cliche characters. These stereotypes included: “the nerd actually really likes Alice” and “the best friend betrays Alice to fit in with the popular crowd” etc., etc. This did get a bit annoying, but besides that, I didn’t have any issues.

Rating: 3.5/5 Stars


18806240.jpgBone Gap by Laura Ruby

This one was probably my favorite read of the month! I mean, I wasn’t MIND-BLOWN or anything, but I’m really, really glad I read it. The concept is so unique and unlike anything I’ve ever read before, and it kept me on the edge my seat the whole time. I’ve read an embarrassingly small number of magical realism books, but of the ones I’ve read, this one certainly takes the cake. Oh, did I mention how incredibly unique and quirky and WEIRD the characters are?! I completely fell in love with all of them within the first few chapters. Also, the writing style is quite gorgeous.

Rating: 4/5 Stars


Gosh darn it, that took a long time to write. Still no 5-star reads for me this year, but I have had some solid 4-stars. Anyway, I hope you guys enjoyed! 🙂

Let’s chat: Which of the books on this list have you read? What did you think? What was your favorite book you read in March?

Review: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

12000020.jpgAristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Published by Simon & Schuster on February 21, 2012

Pages: 368

Genre(s): YA, Contemporary, Romance, LGBTQ+

Rating: 5 stars

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

-Goodreads.com description

“Why do we smile? Why do we laugh? Why do we feel alone? Why are we sad and confused? Why do we read poetry? Why do we cry when we see a painting? Why is there a riot in the heart when we love? Why do we feel shame? What is that thing in the pit of your stomach called desire?”

Oh my goodness, this book was good. Like, really good. Like, CRYING-BUCKETFULS-OF-TEARS-BECAUSE-IT-WAS-JUST-TOO-BEAUTIFUL kind of good.

Ahem.

Anyway, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe left me with many questions, the biggest one being: Why on earth did I not read this sooner? I mean, really. My favorite genre is contemporary, and this seems exactly like the kind of book I would love. I loved everything about it – the amazing writing style, the complex characters, the relatable plot. I am completely and totally in love with this book.

Aristotle “Ari,” our protagonist, is an angry, confused teen trying to deal with being a teenager, and all the hardships that come along with it. I fell completely in love with him within the first few chapters, not just because of his background and personality, but also because his voice really resembled the thoughts of a teenage boy in real life. He was so honest and personal and descriptive about everything that was happening, and I immediately got sucked in.

I also really loved Dante, with all his fun personality quirks and great attitude. And seriously, I related to him SO MUCH throughout the story, and we have so much in common. I mean, seriously. Love of swimming? Check. Hatred of shoes? Check. Love of reading? Check. The fact that he would save a bird from being crushed in the middle of the street? Check.

Oh, and can I please just say something about the parents in this novel? Because, guys, they were awesome. There are two married couples, Ari’s and Dante’s parents, and they were completely in love with each other. They were all so beautiful and sweet and I loved the relationships between the sons and parents. Finally, a YA book with amazing parents!

My favorite part of the novel was being able to watch the characters’ friendship grow and develop over time. The pacing of the story was pretty slow, which I actually really enjoyed because it let me get to know the characters better. It spanned over a period of about two years, which I liked because normally those kinds of novels have more character development, and it’s really fun to see the “before and after” of each of the characters.

Another thing I really enjoyed about the plot was that it was primarily driven by the friendship between Ari and Dante, rather than the romance. Though I do love a good romance, I think a well-developed and realistic friendship is something YA needs to have a lot more of.

The writing style was absolutely gorgeous. It was very simplistic and crisp, with no fluff whatsoever. It also had lots of dialogue, which I loved. It reminded me a bit of Stephen Chbosky’s prose, just to give you a bit of an idea.

I was completely blown away by this book. It was such a breath-taking and awe-inspiring story, and in my opinion, everyone should read it. This book is about growing up, family, friendship, acceptance, and love. A must-read novel for all ages!

So….let’s talk. What did you guys think about this book? Do you have any similar book recommendations for me? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments! 🙂

Review: More Than This by Patrick Ness

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More Than This by Patrick Ness

Published by Walker Books Ltd on May 1th 2014

Pages: 480

Genre(s): YA Science Fiction, Dystopia, Mystery

Rating: 5 stars!

A boy drowns, desperate and alone in his final moments. He dies.

Then he wakes, naked and bruised and thirsty, but alive.

How can this be? And what is this strange deserted place?

As he struggles to understand what is happening, the boy dares to hope. Might this not be the end? Might there be more to this life, or perhaps this afterlife?

From multi-award-winning Patrick Ness comes one of the most provocative and moving novels of our time.

-Goodreads.com description

Oh my goodness gracious. I don’t even know where to begin.

This was one of the best books I’ve read in long time, and that’s seriously saying something, because I’ve been reading a lot of good books lately.

“Books are often described as ‘mind-blowing,’ but this is one of the few books in which, while reading it, I have exclaimed aloud, ‘Oh. My. God.’ on multiple occasions.” -John Green

I get you, John Green. I get you.

So basically: if you want to be completely mind-blown, confused out of your mind, horrified, creeped out, enlightened, and utterly heartbroken, read this book. Right. Now.

The Characters: Ness created freakishly realistic characters, all unique and flawed in their own way. Some people may argue that the characters were a little “too unique” to be realistic, and maybe this is true, but for me, the characters’ weird personality quirks and thoughts made the book so much more interesting and relatable.

The characters definitely made some mistakes and bad moves throughout the story, but that made me love them even more, if that makes any sense. The character development was incredible, and I loved watching them learn and grow throughout the story.

The Plot: More Than This is one of those books that have you on the edge of your seat the whole time, turning the pages as fast as you possibly can. This book is about existentialism, and explores the questions, “What is the meaning of life? What is reality? And, of course, is there more than this?” Ness offers such a unique perspective on this idea, and it made me stop and think, “Wait. What if this really is real? What if Ness was right and there really is more than this?” And I love books like that. Books that make you think, books that make you relate, books that offer a unique perspective on something that you had always thought about, but you never thought anyone else thought about. And that concept, in my eyes, is truly mind-boggling.

Simply put, this book is quite terrifying. Not in the way you’re thinking, with monsters or zombie apocalypses or whatnot. It makes you question the laws of humanity. Of reality. And that, on its own, is completely terrifying to me.

The Writing Style: I can’t even begin to tell you how amazing Ness’s writing is. His ability to describe characters’ thoughts and emotions with so much accuracy is seriously amazing. Writing realistic and relatable characters is a huge talent, and Ness definitely has it. The characters’ thoughts, emotions, and actions are described exactly how you would picture yourself reacting to that specific event in the story, if that makes any sense. His capability to put anyone’s basic thoughts and feelings into words is truly astounding.

Quotes:

“A book… it’s a world all on its own too. A world made of words, where you live for a while.”

***

“Real life is only ever just real life. Messy. What it means depends on how you look at it. The only thing you’ve got to do is find a way to live there.”

***

“We have to lie to ourselves to live. Otherwise, we’d go crazy.”

***

“You said we all want there to be more than this! Well, there’s always more than this. There’s always something you don’t know.”

***

“Haven’t you ever felt like there had to be more? Like there’s more out there somewhere, just beyond your grasp, if you could only get to it?”

Final Thought: I loved this book soooo much. It’s the kind of book that everyone can relate to one way or another, and that is truly amazing. It’s definitely one of my favorites of 2015! Also, if you’re still not sure about reading this book, I recommend you check out an excerpt of the first few chapters to give you a feel for the book. John Green says it best in the blurb: “Just read it.”