Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Release Date: April 9th, 2013
Format: Audiobook narrated by Lin-Manual Miranda
My Rating: ★★★★
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.
First of all I have to say that I am so glad that I did this book on audio, because I would have been pronouncing any of the spanish slang used in this book incorrectly. I think that Miranda did a great job narrating this book. At times the female voices annoyed me, but otherwise I think he did a good job voicing Ari's angst and frustrating with just not understanding who he was.
Being a kid and never feeling like I fit it--and being a twenty-five year old whom still feels that way--parts of this novel really resonated with me. There's a part in the novel where Ari admits that he just likes to be alone. I have moments of that when I just want to shut out the rest of the world, so I really understood that feeling.
I thought the topic of this novel was pretty obvious straight away, and I was just thinking, "oh my god, how don't you know?" But this book was not just a coming of age story about a lonely kid trying to figure out who he was. It was also a lot about identity and dealt a lot with strained family relationships. I really liked the message that Ari's mom says when she says something along the lines of, "We try to do the best we can, but sometimes that is wrong." Ari's parents never talking about his incarcerated brother really affected his life and how he behaved and I thought it was good that his parents finally came to terms with how sheltering him from that wasn't the best thing. I think sometimes it's good to understand that parents are people too. They are not perfect, and as kids sometimes it's hard to realize that your parents can be wrong A LOT.
I really enjoyed listening to this audiobook, and it was nice to read about a culture outside of my own. Seriously, I am getting pretty tired with all the white girls in YA, so it was nice to read about Mexican teenaged boys. The topic of this novel is heavy, but I found it was a quick and easy read to get through.