Book review: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Via Goodreads
Via Goodreads
Rated it: 5 stars

I reread this gem last year and the feels are still incredibly strong. Long story short this is a coming of age story of teenager Aristotle (told entirely in his point of view) during the 1980s set in El Paso, Texas, and spans two years.

The summer was hot and humid, the rain was like a veil into different emotional dimension I kid you not. And the birds, well they were there crapping on people in a real way. Oh, just read the thing and you’ll know what I’m talking about. It’s raining as I’m writing, and usually when it does I’m reminded of my summer boys.

And I’ll be straight with you, dear readers, this is a novel I cannot formulate a coherent sentences worthy of a decent review so I’m afraid you’ll have to settle for this mass of fangirl babble. Ari was at the awkward age where he’s coming to terms that his body is changing, he’s occupied with thoughts of his veteran father who’s in another world most of the time. Added to that he’s somewhat obsessed with an older brother who he barely remembers. 

He meets the soft spoken and bookish Dante (one of the cinnamon-iest cinnamon roll I’ve read so far) one day at the pool. A loner by choice, Ari begins to find his company an education.

The friendship that grows between these two … it’s simple yet it’s not. For better or for worse they change each other. Simply by being there they challenged themselves with facing the hard questions, the kind of questions that makes them realize just how vast and painfully tangible the universe possibly is.

What I loved

  • Sáenz didn’t mince words, let me tell you. When I first read it I was confused and uncomfortable but then I got it. This was Ari’s voice: raw, undiluted and straightforward. Also the writing gets poetic, which I expect from a book with a guy named Aristotle in it. Not that he’s poetic. Hmm, well he does get poetic but he doesn’t think he is.
  • Ari. I like him. A lot. Full of angsty pubescent emotions, foul mouthed (as much as a fifteen year old can be in YA), a natural born smart ass, and an actual decent human being. Cute too, did I mention?
  • Dante, another smarty pants. He’s the yin to Ari’s yang. Gentle, fierce, kind and forever curious. If I recall correctly, he has identity issues with his Mexian ancestry, having not been immersed in it as much as Ari. He’s terribly brave when it comes down to it.
  • The parents Continue reading “Book review: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz”
Advertisements

The Titan’s Curse (Percy Jackson and the Olympians #3)

via Goodreads

Read from: 18th – 20th of August

Rated it: 5/5 stars

Well to say at the least, things are sure heating up. I do like that we get to see more of the other gods. Titan’s Curse is definitely more action packed and it’s only going to get a whole lot more livelier as the series progresses. I love the secondary characters (new ones!) and how their own back-stories are connected to the various parts in the plot. I’m certain that I am not alone when I say I’ve missed Annabeth. That girl.

I have no hope for Luke. The boy is lost. Is it the power that seduced him in the first place? The bitterness towards his father and the other gods? Both probably, but like most dreams of victory on the ‘other’ side of the battlefield, I think he finally found that Titans and Gods alike laugh at his plans and he’s caught up in a massive sticky spiderweb.

Perhaps by now he realizes that he’s no more than a spawn, the very thing he loathed to become in the first place. Or does he need a itty-bitty pit stop before he goes off and fail again after close encounters? Continue reading “The Titan’s Curse (Percy Jackson and the Olympians #3)”

The Lightening Thief (Percy Jackson and The Olympians #1) by Rick Riordan

via Goodreads

Rated it: 4.5 stars

Goodreads blurb

Percy Jackson is about to be kicked out of boarding school… again. And that’s the least of his troubles. Lately, mythological monsters and the gods of Mount Olympus seem to be walking straight out of the pages of Percy’s Greek mythology textbook and into his life. And worse, he’s angered a few of them. Zeus’ master lightning bolt has been stolen, and Percy is the prime suspect.

Now Percy and his friends have just ten days to find and return Zeus’ stolen property and bring peace to a warring Mount Olympus. But to succeed on his quest, Percy will have to do more than catch the true thief: he must come to terms with the father who abandoned him; solve the riddle of the Oracle, which warns him of betrayal by a friend; and unravel a treachery more powerful than the gods themselves.

I’ve had this on my to-read list for a couple of years, until recently I finally decided to give it a try. I’m pleased to say that I was not disappointed. Percy Jackson is a smart mouthed kid, more than a little hot headed, slightly annoying, I’d say strong minded when it counts and vulnerable but yet ready to take chances. In the beginning I was thinking if he could get more complaining it’s going to be a problem, however, as it turned out he was okay.

Prior to reading this I was aware of Harry Potter parallels. There are certainly similarities, I can make a list now that I’ve finished; there’s the twelve cabins of the major Gods and Goddesses (twenty in all) in the place of the four houses for example. It’s no problem to me because whatever those intersecting concepts are they have valid purposes, it doesn’t seem like a cut-and-paste.

Continue reading “The Lightening Thief (Percy Jackson and The Olympians #1) by Rick Riordan”

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

via Goodreads.

Rated it: 5 stars

Goodreads blurb

Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.

My review

It had taken me about 100 pages to really get into but after then I was hooked. I just fell in love with these two teenagers and their love story. Initially I was skeptical, I mean these were really a deep pair with all their in depth analyzing of well … everything. But I went with it, partly because I think that not everyone takes the time to discover themselves and while I believe Hazel and Augustus were both intelligent, this disease prompted them to grow up much faster. Then there’s a couple lines from a NPR.org review:

Green writes books for young adults, but his voice is so compulsively readable that it defies categorization. He writes for youth, rather than to them, and the difference is palpable …. You will be thankful for the little infinity you spend inside this book.”

I couldn’t have said it better, but Thomas did:

How unrealistic John Green’s characters tend to be has turned me off from most of his other books – the characters in this one suffered slightly from it too – but The Fault in Our Stars as a whole is John Green’s best book to date.

Like I said, at times Hazel (the protagonist) and Augustus (the love interest, but so much more) came off as wise beyond their years. They notice this, their parents notice this, and readers will notice this. However, there is something so human about the way Green portrays them that makes them relatable. They are not simply teens suffering from cancer, but teens who doubt their place in the world, who are filled with angst and longing and confusion and hope. I can’t say I’ve experienced the exact same emotions as Hazel and Augustus have, but I can say that it’s easy to empathize with them and feel their pain entirely.

I totally recommend that you read the entire review.

This is actually hard for me to write, I know what I feel but the words refuse to leave. The Fault in Our Stars is honest, frank, smart, funny, poignant and heartbreakingly beautiful.

TFIOS is the first book where I really don’t care for negative reviews, while they can seldom be agreeable, they won’t change how I feel at all as they used to tickle the doubt that usually lurks around. I can’t remember crying so much since Harry Potter four years ago, it just seems so real. The words read themselves to me as much as I read them, I felt the emotions they dictated head on, fighting it makes no sense.

Continue reading “The Fault in Our Stars by John Green”

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

via Goodreads
via Goodreads

Rated it: 5 stars           Recommends it to: Young adults, about 13-14 and up I suppose  Contains: Mild explicit scenes.

Goodreads blurb

And while he’s not the biggest geek in the school, he is by no means popular. Shy, introspective, intelligent beyond his year yet socially awkward, he is a wallflower, caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it.

Charlie is attempting to navigate his way through uncharted territory: the world of first dates and mix tapes, family dramas and new friends; the world of sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, when all one requires is that perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite. But he can’t stay on the sidelines forever. Standing on the fringes of life offers a unique perspective. But there comes a time to see what it looks like from the dance floor.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a deeply affecting coming-of-age story that will spirit you back to those wild and poignant roller-coaster days known as growing up.

My review

Charlie. He is, to slap a label on, this introvert that I believe gives me an inside look on how some introverts think. He really gives a lot to the details that I would fling over my shoulder because of the irrelevance of it at that given moment. Charlie makes me see how much there is to a simple action, a simple inaction, how much there is to see at family gatherings during holidays and when you think about it sometimes you wonder why you weren’t in some daytime television drama series. There is so much in everything that it amazing till it hurts your head.

Continue reading “The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky”

The Tales of Beedle the Bard (Harry Potter Companion Books #3) by J.K Rowling

Cover via Goodreads

Rated: 5 Stars

I absolutely loved it! Every time I hold this little hardcover in my hands (and it’s right beside me at this instant) I always think to myself, “I’m holding a copy of one of the books mentioned in the series, one Harry, Ron and Hermione had! The one one book that was important in understanding the hallows. Eeeek!” It just wonderful, being a Potter-head I’m bound to feel that way.

I read The Tales of Beedle the Bard about a year after I had read the seven books and I was swept away with waves of nostalgia and the first time round, I will unashamedly admit that, I had actually cried a bit, particularly when I came to the part I read about the Second Wizarding War and when I read the bit that reminded us what Professor Dumbledore said about truth to his ‘favourite and most famous pupil.’ It was overwhelming in a way I can’t explain. The introduction was easily the best part of the book or maybe it would be the Professor Dumbledore’s notes at the end of each tale, followed by the tales themselves.

Continue reading “The Tales of Beedle the Bard (Harry Potter Companion Books #3) by J.K Rowling”

Little Women (Little Women #1) by Louisa May Alcott

We Heart Reading

Rating: 5/5 Stars

After reading this wonderful book I kept wondering, “Why don’t we all live and love like the March family?” It’s the story of the four March sisters: pretty Meg, tomboy Jo, dear Beth and little lady Amy and not forgetting ‘our boy’ Laurie. My favourite March is Jo she’s so funny, energetic, and caring and maybe because I know how being a tomboy feels and are constantly being told that it isn’t proper for young ladies be running, jumping and talking slang. I love how she plays mother over Beth.

Each of the girls had little problems of their own that needed fixing for instance, Jo tended to be more like a young man not caring for a that fussing young ladies always seem up to, Meg was tired of her ministrations as a governess and wanted so badly to be rich someday to bask in…

View original post 324 more words