Monday, January 13, 2014

What I'm Reading Now - Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz

Yes, we've talked before about my penchant for reading, and loving, Young Adult novels. So it's not too much of a surprise that my latest read is a highly regarded YA novel with the wordy title "Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe," by Benjamin Alire Saenz. Like every other section of the library, the YA section has a few good books, a bunch of mediocre books and a few really horrid books that make you wonder how they ever were published to begin with. Knowing that, I try not to grab too many from the shelf without researching them a bit on the interwebs. When it comes to YA, even more so than adult books, the award-winners and top-reviewed books are almost always well written, fun and memorable. I find the top reviewed adult books to be more hit or miss on the fun and memorable scale.

Not to mention, the Wikipedia entry for ADDSU taught me a new word: Bidungsroman! Can't wait to use that one in everyday conversation.

And I'm Done Update:

This is a wonderful story of a budding relationship between two teen boys in 1987 El Paso. Saenz is unlike most YA storytellers, in that he paces the tale in a calm voice and lets his characters take center stage. Saenz watches them grow slowly throughout the story, never rushing it. While there is action, the driving force behind ADDSU is the main character Ari's struggles to understand the world around him. And then to understand the world inside him. There were more than a couple times when Ari's confusion with the world and his coping strategy of retreating into his own noisy thoughts reminded me of a teen boy I knew back in the 80's.

It's a powerful story. Nicely told.

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