Publisher- Simon and Schuster.
(A Brief) Synopsis:
A literary portrait of the growth in friendship, relationship and love between two boys; the lengths they will go for each other, the small joys and tragedies that make up their lives, the ways they come together each time they are together.
What I thought:
I was prepared for Aristotle and Dante. I can cover on one hand the amount of negative reviews I've read of it, and that's only by raising a single finger. I can count on at least three, all fingerslifted, how many positive.
I anticipated the romance, the gorgeous, the intricate, the stunning and outstanding.
And I got it.
It touched on some quite dark themes and I didn't expect that; I didn't anticipate the fact the romance would only physically blossom less than a hundred pages before the end (even if we anticipate it from the beginning and Ari is uncomprehendingly comprehending it much earlier) and I have to say that that did put me off a little, having to wait for the will they won't they and beginning to actually wonder which it might be, despite all I had heard. But at the same moment, it was important to the story that these two the characters have to go about things slowly. This is a book of discovery and self acceptance and fear and home, and the romance between two boys that I imagined would be the sole focus was not. The focus is on friendship and family and understanding your life and others.
So I went into Ari and Dante with a lot of expectations. It meant I don't know whether I feel like I ever stopped expecting things to be a certain way- see the family support element: whilst reading I didn't really think it was amazing, it was just two families who were there for and cared about their children. Afterwards I appreciated it more. I wish that kind of presence and support that felt so natural wasn't so uncommon in YA. That it wasn't necessarily amazing because it was rare.
I don't know how much I personally liked Ar or Dante (I've an immediate preference for D but I think I like A more), but that isn't much of an issue here. They do things that are stupid in my eyes, or reckless, just as they did things that were good and true. It makes them quite genuine and I so enjoyed the process and revelation of Ari's thoughts, as we read the novel through his eyes. His fears and the way he considered and tried to grapple them was so gorgeously done, but so was around 80-93% of the novel. It is utterly gorgeous, quotable, reread worthy and stunning. And so very real.
Also set in the late 80s, which I didn't expect.
Gorgeous and not to be anticipated. If you're about to go into it, kick away your expectations, do. Just let it wash over you like a dream.