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Bookworm Blurbs

I absolutely adore reading - my love for books has had a huge impact on my life! I'm going to grad school to be a children's/YA librarian.

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

 

I knew going into this book that I wasn't going to like it, but I read it anyway because it's on my required reading list for my Young Adult Literature class. I knew I wouldn't like it because it's a coming of age story and, in my experience, all coming of age stories are the same: they're about two best friends who meet by chance but instantly know that the other person is Integral To Their Life, and then the narrator becomes disenchanted with his/her friend (who, of course, is innately good and wonderful and teaches the narrator something important), and then just when the narrator realizes how absolutely wonderful said friend is, something terrible happens to the friend. And that is exactly what happened in this book. Except this book has two very important differences that set it apart from all of those other books and ALMOST made me like it: 1) the story went on after the tragedy and 2) the two characters ended up being gay. In these coming of age novels, I always suspect the characters of being gay but they never actually are (or if they are, the author chooses not to expose this), and because these two actually are, it felt more honest, more real. And I thought that was great - not that they were gay, but that the author was honest about it. Which makes sense, because apparently that's what this book is known for. I didn't know that prior to reading it and I'm glad that I didn't. 

So why did I give this book only two stars? Well, first of all, I didn't really like any of the characters, and for me, that's a crucial part of liking a book. And secondly, while I fully believed that Dante was gay, I just didn't buy it from Aristotle. I did at first, but then, when Dante came out to him, I was thoroughly convinced that Aristotle was straight and I thought this would end up being the story of how a straight friend supported his gay friend. Which would have been great! But instead, Aristotle's parents just sort of sat him down and informed him that he was in love with Dante. It felt incredibly forced. When you're in love, people don't need to tell you that. And from what I've been told, if you're gay, you just KNOW, just like I just KNOW that I'm straight. So instead of having a believable, amazing ending, this book ended with two friends falling in love with each other - simply because the author wanted them to. It did not feel real and it was not believable, two things that I believe are crucial in any good book. Mixed with the fact that I just didn't really LOVE the story in general, it's earned only 2 stars from me.