This critically acclaimed "tender, honest exploration of identity" ("Publishers Weekly") distills lyrical truths about family and friendship. As two loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendshipNthe kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through this friendship that Ari and Dante will ...Read MoreThis critically acclaimed "tender, honest exploration of identity" ("Publishers Weekly") distills lyrical truths about family and friendship. As two loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendshipNthe 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.Read Less
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Publishers Weekly, 2011-12-19 Fifteen-year-old Aristotle (Ari) has always felt lonely and distant from people until he meets Dante, a boy from another school who teaches him how to swim. As trust grows between the boys and they become friends (a first for Ari), Ari's world opens up while they discuss life, art, literature, and their Mexican-American roots. Additionally, the influence of Dante's warm, open family (they even have a "no secrets" rule) is shaping Ari's relationship with his parents, particularly in regard to a family secret; Ari has an older brother in prison, who no one ever mentions. In a poetic coming-of-age story written in concise first-person narrative, Saenz (Sammy and Juliana in Hollywood) crystallizes significant turning points in the boys' relationship, especially as Ari comes to understand that Dante's feelings for him extend beyond friendship. The story swells to a dramatic climax as Ari's loyalties are tested, and he confronts his most deeply buried fears and desires. It's a tender, honest exploration of identity and sexuality, and a passionate reminder that love-whether romantic or familial-should be open, free, and without shame. Ages 12-up. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Publishers Weekly, 2013-06-24 In Saenz's novel, 15-year-olds Aristotle and Dante struggle with the complexities and insecurities of growing up as they try to understand and navigate family secrets, their sexual identities, their identities as Mexican-Americans, and their increasingly complicated friendship. Lin-Manuel Miranda hands in a nuanced performance, capturing Ari's inner confusion and self-loathing, his unexpressed rage at his parents, and his mixed feelings about best friend Dante. Miranda is just as effective in capturing Dante, lending him an upbeat, likable, nerdy voice. For the book's other characters, the narrator takes an understated approach, allowing listeners to understand who is speaking to whom without creating full-fledged character voices. Because of Miranda's standout performance, listeners will truly understand these two boys as they travel the difficult journey toward becoming men. Ages 12-up. A Simon & Schuster hardcover. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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