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Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe Reprint Edition
Contributor(s): Saenz, Benjamin Alire
ISBN: 1442408936     ISBN-13: 9781442408937
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
    OUR PRICE: $12.59  
Product Type: Paperback - Other Formats
Published: April 2014
Annotation: 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.
Additional Information
Library of Congress Subjects:
Coming of age; Fiction.
Families; Fiction.
Mexican-Americans; Fiction.
Dewey: [Fic]
LCCN: 2010033649
Lexile Measure: 380
Academic/Grade Level: Grade 7-9, Age 12-14
Book type: Juvenile Fiction
Physical Information: 8.25" H x 5.50" W x 1.00" (0.68 lbs) 359 pages
Accelerated Reader Info
Quiz #: 149873
Reading Level: 2.9   Interest Level: Upper Grades   Point Value: 8.0
Scholastic Reading Counts Info
Quiz #: Q55547
Reading Level: 4.3   Interest Level: Grades 9-12   Point Value: 17.0
Descriptions, Reviews, Etc.

Reviewed by Horn Book Guide Reviews (Horn Book Guide Reviews 2012 Fall)
Two boys, Ari and Dante, strike up a friendship that will change their lives in ways both subtle and profound. When Ari saves Dante's life but breaks his own legs in the process, it cements the bond between the two Mexican American families. Ari's first-person narrative--poetic, philosophical, honest--skillfully develops the relationship between the two boys from friendship to romance.

Reviewed by Horn Book Magazine Reviews (Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2012 #2)
Aristotle -- Ari for short -- meets Dante at the pool one summer day in 1987, and the two boys quickly strike up a friendship that will change their lives in ways both subtle and profound. Ari admires Dante's gregarious personality, his intellectual curiosity, and his close bond with his parents, especially his father. In contrast, Ari's own father, a Vietnam vet, remains aloof, damaged by his experience of war, and both parents refuse to discuss his imprisoned older brother. When Ari saves Dante's life but breaks his own legs in the process, it not only strengthens their friendship but cements the bond between the two Mexican American families. When Dante's father leaves El Paso for a one-year position at the University of Chicago, the boys stay in touch through letters. Dante had telegraphed his sexual attraction to Ari, but now comes out to his friend in writing. When Dante returns, the two cautiously resume their friendship, but when Dante gets beat up in an alley for kissing another boy, it's a catalyst for Ari to examine how he really feels about Dante. Ari's first-person narrative -- poetic, philosophical, honest -- skillfully develops the relationship between the two boys from friendship to romance, leading to the inevitable conclusion: "How could I have ever been ashamed of loving Dante Quintana?" jonathan hunt Copyright 2012 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

Reviewed by Publishers Weekly Reviews (PW Reviews 2011 December #3)

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, Sáenz (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.)

[Page ]. Copyright 2011 PWxyz LLC

Reviewed by School Library Journal Reviews (SLJ Reviews 2012 February)

Gr 9 Up—In the summer of 1987 in El Paso, TX, two 15-year-old loners meet when Dante offers to teach Ari to swim, and they have a laugh over their unusual names. Though polar opposites in most aspects other than age and Mexican heritage, the teens form an instant bond and become inseparable. This poetic novel takes Ari, brooding and quiet, and with a brother in prison, and Dante, open and intellectual, through a year and a half of change, discovering secrets, and crossing borders from which there is no return. Two incidents, one in which Ari saves Dante's life and his family's temporary move to Chicago, help Dante understand that he is gay and in love with his friend. Yet, Ari can't cross that line, and not until Dante is hospitalized in a gay-bashing incident does he begin to realize the true depth of the love he has for him. With the help of his formerly distant, Vietnam-damaged father, Ari is finally able to shed his shame—the shame of his anger, of his incarcerated brother, of being different—and transition from boy to man. While this novel is a bit too literary at times for some readers, its authentic teen and Latino dialogue should make it a popular choice.—Betty S. Evans, Missouri State University, Springfield

[Page 134]. (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.