This is an amazing book that seems to truly understand the minds of teenage boys trying to navigate life. It appeals to both boys and girls who are trying to figure out their identity and their lives. Dante seems to know who he is from the beginning, but Aristotle (Ari) is constantly worrying about the fact that he doesn't know who he is or what he wants.
Some of the students in my class found Ari's angst to be more than a bit annoying, but I really enjoyed this book. I felt for Ari, even though, at times, I didn't really understand why he was so angry. Dante didn't always understand it either. However, I am certain I was just as confused and confusing as a teenager (especially to my mom). And now, I have my own teenage daughter. Her moods are more than a bit unpredictable and confusing; so now I know what my mother felt like.
I think teens, especially those questioning their sexuality, will enjoy this book.
Grades 9-12, both boys and girls.
I was frustrated with the first half of this novel. I felt that it was going nowhere. Sal was pondering his life and his identity, only he was doing internally. If only he’d reached out, I’d felt better but Sal drifted, his voice silent while his mind filled with questions and unknowns. Sal had plenty of opportunities and he had a lot of individuals, of all ages, to help him, yet he kept quiet. Somehow as life starts to get complicated for himself and his friends, Sal’s questions don’t seem to be that important anymore, his mind seems to find the bigger picture.
The second half of the novel saved this novel for me as I was tired of Sal’s unending questions and his life’s pondering. Sal finally starts to show some heart, could it have been all the emotions and messages that his friends are sending out? Sal begins by recording his grandma’s voice as he knows her days are numbered, he then starts to open up a bit with his dad, just a few questions but I felt something happening in the relationships with all the characters. Sal seems relieved, he has finally opened up and after telling his friends this breakthrough, it’s as if they all are breathing lighter now. If only the beginning of the novel, they would have had some of this connection, I would have loved it.
This was not what I expected from this novel, it carried a terrific cover, a great synopsis but the beginning was a disappointment. I loved the secondary characters in the novel, and the ending made up the novel for me. I loved Benjamin Saenz other novels and I look forward to reading other novels by him. 3.5 stars
Sal's Mima was like this mother when he was growing up and now, she is dying from cancer. Sal keeps everything inside for Sal is a thinker, he ponders and the list of questions inside his head grows daily. This quote stopped me dead in my tracks when I read it, thank you Sal for taking a positive stance.