Right, let me start off by saying that I was quite skeptical about this book for a number of reasons.
- Because its YA and my experiences with YA haven’t been overly amazing and I do prefer adult novels
- Because this is a gay love story and in my opinion it is very very rare for a gay love story to be written in an original and beautiful way
- It has a lot of hype around it, and I didn’t want to be let down.
Now, I’ll let you in on a little secret, something I’m going to admit, that no one every really likes to admit but its healthy and you learn from it…I WAS COMPLETELY. UTTERLY. COULDN’T HAVE BEEN MORE. wrong.
This book is a super quick read, I read this whilst on my way to London for a couple of days with my boyfriend. But it made to five hour journey across the great north to south England divide absolutely enthralling.
I never dog ear pages, ever, but this book is SO DOG EARED. I just kept marking pages with beautiful quotes, and there are so many. Benjamin Alire Saenz has a way with words that I haven’t encountered too much in my reading life, which made me stop and re-read lines over and over again because there were so so wonderful.
Basically, this is a coming of age story of two boys, Aristotle and Dante. Both of Mexican heritage, with which to story explores the idea of racial identity and the way in which some people try to dilute their own race when maneuvering through the world. It explores families who have to deal with their children in prison. It explores anger, and suppression, and all the things teenagers go through in their high school years, and I don’t think there is anyone who could read this book without seeing themselves projecting in some way back to them from the page. It explores sexuality, and coming to terms with the fact you might not be the same as the people around you. It has so many themes and doesn’t fail with any of them at getting the theme across in a stunning way.
This book is one which features later this year on the Banging Book Club’s reading list which I plan on joining with this year, so I won’t go into massive amounts of detail because I’ll be rereading it and I’m sure I’ll notice more things and have more ideas about the book but I’ll just end this little review with a couple of my favorite lines from the book.
My mother and father held hands. I wondered what that was like, to hold someone’s hand. I bet you could sometimes find all of the mysteries of the universe in someone’s hand
I wondered about the science of storms and how sometimes it seemed that a storm wanted to break the world, and how the world refused to break
And finally the author’s dedication is as wonderful as his writing;
To all the boys who’ve had to learn to play by different rules
This book is a thing of beauty, and I want to buy and million copies and scatter them across the earth.