"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."
Benjamin Alire Sáenz's simple, realistic, and yet lyrical writing style will leave you in a quite emotional state. I wouldn't expect a descriptive and wordy narration from Ari, a young boy. He would say straight forward truths and that was poetry on its own. His story gets emotional on several accounts, on how he doesn't have a lot of friends till Dante, his dysfunctional family, but Ari can't express this properly that's why he's so straight forward. To me, he didn't need to go on and on and about his sadness, his loneliness, his confusion, his frustration. I got it. I understood him. The story was so damn relatable even if I didn't have a brother in prison or unrequited love for my best friend.
The story is set during 1980's, a time where neither race or queerness was openly accepted. That's why we have Dante. He contrasts with Ari's sour mood with his open acceptance and child-like wonder with everything. He is totally ahead of his time and this is what saves Ari.
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