Today I am going to be reviewing two books- Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe and Simon vs the Homosapien Agenda. (well, wasn’t that a mouthful)
I thought it would be fit to mush them into one post because they both have long titles (😶is that even a reason?), and they are both awesome LGBTQ YA books that I read in November.
Also, it’s time to get pumped about these two books because the authors have new books coming out in 2017!
🎉Benjamin Alire Sáenz is writing a sequel to Aristotle and Dante called There Will Be More Summers. He is also writing another book titled The Inexplicable Logic of My Life.
🎉Becky Albertalli, the author of Simon vs the Homosapien Agenda, is releasing her new book The Upside of Unrequited in April 2017. It is going to about two twin sisters- one of them is lesbian and the other one is straight.
🎉I’m pretty sure Ari and Dante is also going to be made into a movie??
Both of them were really good books, with very relatable characters and super real depictions of their lives, and on top of that, thought-provoking reflections on the diversity conversation.
I know, I know, both of them were published quite a while ago… yeah… I’m just late to the party. In fact I only discovered the LGBTQIA YA genre recently, and I really do wish there will go on to be more and more LGBTQIA representation in books, movies and shows. 🌈🌈🌈
I would actually say Simon vs the Homosapien Agenda has a fuller and more convincing story line, but Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe has stunning language.
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe
author: Benjamin Alire Sáenz
originally published: 2012 (geeeeeez i am so late)
how i read it:
I listened to the audiobook on Audible. It was narrated by Lin-Manuel Miranda (yes, the Lin Manuel Miranda, the creator of Hamilton, the guy who wrote songs for Moana, the genius, the gem, etc.), so I couldn’t resist.
It was actually perfect because Lin is of Puerto Rican descent, and the two characters in the book have Mexican families. So yes, I got to listen to Lin speak Spanish. It was mesmerizing.
Aristotle Mendoza is an angry sad teenager, unhappy about his brother who is in prison and his father who is traumatized by the Vietnam war, when he met Dante Quintana at the pool. Dante is an interesting one. He is sincere, full of love and has his own way of understanding the world.They immediately became friends and… let’s just say they went on to discover the secrets of the universe.
what i thought of the book:
The plot line was very simple, because it was more of a story about coming of age, understanding your family and learning about yourself.
I loooooved the author’s beautiful language, and he would write these casual sentences that hit me as the most relatable thing I have ever come across. For example, “I was ashamed for being ashamed of myself.”
I also really enjoyed how the families of the characters have such a huge presence in the story. In most YA books, parents are either non-existent or an obstacle for the characters, but in Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, their relationship with their families was pretty realistic and immensely touching.
Simon vs the Homosapien Agenda
“Everyone should have to declare one way or another, and it should be this big awkward thing, whether you’re straight, gay, bi, or whatever.”
“White shouldn’t be the default any more than straight should be the default. There shouldn’t even be a default.”
author: Becky Albertalli
originally published: 2015
how i read it:
From the school library. I devoured it in 2 days.
plot (copied from goodreads):
Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier has a gay pen pal through a secret email account. They know they go to the same school, but choose to not find out who each other is. But now Simon is being blackmailed, and his sexuality and the privacy of his pen pal Blue is threatened…
what i thought of the book:
This was such a witty and fun read, but at the same time it always kept me on the edge of my seat. It was adorable and heart-melting, a lot lighter than Ari and Dante, but still it made me really want to find out what happens at the end.
AND IT WAS SO CUTE! I had this idiotic grin on my face the whole time when I was reading it. 😊
It also had so much cool insight into the issue of diversity and stereotypes. It made some of the most valid points I have ever seen about sexuality, being a teenager, coming out and just friendship and life in general.