Tuma Book Rant: Aristotle and Dante series by Benjamin Alire Saenz
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe: I read this book years ago and I was afraid that the book wouldn't be as amazing as I'd remembered. But it most definitely is. My heart aches for Ari's loneliness. I love Dante's quirkiness. And the writing is beautifully crafted. So many quotable gems.
"The problem with my life was that it was someone else's idea."
"I got to thinking that poems were like people. Some people you got right off the bat. Some people you didn't get--and never would get."
Ari is so relatable to me despite being a questioning, agnostic- catholic, Mexican boy. I felt lonely as a teen too, like I didn't fit in anywhere. My family had secrets that they never talked about, ignoring the giant elephant. I also had few close friends and wondered if there was something wrong with me that I had this wall that didn't let me connect deeply with most people. I also journaled because telling the truth of my feelings to others felt impossible (and it's still something super difficult for me). I wonder if that's why I loved this story years ago even though I probably couldn't articulate it clearly at the time.
Aristotle and Dante Dive into the Waters of the World made me fall even deeper in love with Ari. He's so easy to love as evident by all the characters who desperately wanted to enter his orbit. It was so sad that he couldn't see how amazing he was. I absolutely adored the parents more in the sequel as we get more of them. There were a handful of typos in this book that irked me as an English teacher. I was like, "you took 10 years to write this and your editor rushed and didn't catch these typos before sending to printing??" =(
If you're looking for a gushy, heartwarming queer romance with amazing, easy-to-love characters and authentic Mexican rep, I highly highly recommend this duology.
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