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The Hazel Tree by Julia Debski

The Hazel Tree

by Julia Debski

Giveaway ends May 01, 2014.

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Thursday, February 13, 2014

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

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

★★★★★

Genre: Young Adult, Realistic Fiction, LGBT, Coming of Age, Contemporary, Romance

Synopsis

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.

Review

I borrowed this lovely piece of literature from my girlfriend Samantha. I have heard nothing but great reviews for this book and to be honest, I was skeptical. If you make your way around Goodreads, you know there aren't many books above a 4.00 average rating. Well this is one of them. Surely it is too good to be true, right? Quite the opposite. It lives up to all the good reviews and beyond that. I can understand why some would be hesitant or even opposed to the idea that this novel has no plot.

The important thing to keep in mind is that life, especially when a teenager, has no plot. There is no climb to a climax, and no resolution afterwards. Life is ups and downs and small events and big events and things that don't make sense. This story, the story of Aristotle finding his way to himself as a young man captures that perfectly. And in a way, in a subtle way that you don't even realize is happening, it isn't just Aristotle's journey of growth into a better person. Through Ari's point of view, we watch Ari's dad and mom and Dante and Dante's parents grow as people as well. 

If you don't like a lot of narrative, then maybe this isn't the book for you. Because there is a lot of it, even whole chapters of it. But I would encourage you to give it a try. I don't like large amounts of narrative, but this worked for me. Also the chapters vary in length. Some are a page, others are several pages long. If that is a thing that bothers you, beware. 

There were a couple moments towards the middle where it lags, namely during the part where Dante lives in Chicago. I happened to know what the ending was going so I kept reading. Some people may find it too dull. (Though I encourage you if you feel like stopping, keep going because it is so worth it in the end.)

On a side note, I adore the font that the sections and chapters are headed in. It is the little details like that that make me fall in love with a book in terms of aesthetics. 

As a wrap up, I believe this is the kind of book they should be teaching in schools. This is a book I want to have on my bookshelf forever. This is a book I will think about often. 



Senior year. And then life. Maybe that's the way it worked. High school was just a prologue to the real novel. Everybody got to write you -- but when you graduated, you got to write yourself. At graduation you got to collect your teacher's pens and your parents' pens and you got your own pen. And you could do all the writing. Yeah. Wouldn't that be sweet? - Aristotle Mendoza, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

I think everyone should read this book. E.V.E.R.Y.O.N.E.

Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Other Books By This Author:  Benjamin Alire Saenz has written a number of novels, including In Perfect Light and Last Night I Sang to the Monster

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