Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe – Benjamin Alire Saenz
Coming of age, families, Mexican Americans, friendship, homosexuality, fiction.
There are things that Dante can do but Ari can’t and vice versa. They are very different yet odds bring them together and they bond over a shared love to help each other out whether it be swimming or understanding the universe. Along the way, they are discovering their true selves and finding a place in the world. When one of them gets into an accident this puts their newly found friendship to the test. As well as one of them moving away. When they reunite, they discover some secrets of the universe and one of them was right in front of them.
This was beautifully written about young teens just trying to find meaning in this chaotic world. I remember when I was a teenager trying to figure out the universe myself. Dante and Ari going through the emotions of ether or not they should be friends or become something more made my heart melt. This novel was written with such simplicity yet the character’s emotions and interactions were so complex as their lives that each of them come from. Dante and Ari get glimpses into each other’s lives to see where they came from which was so surreal. I enjoyed reading this book and I found out that there is a sequel. I’m excited to go find a copy to read.
Cemetery Boys – Aiden Thomas
Latinx, magic, day of the dead, ceremonies, transgender, coming of age, culture, science fiction, young adult, fiction.
Yadriel wants to prove he’s a brujo worthy to be a part of the brujos. Despite being transgender, he still tries to convince his family to allow him to prove his worth. As they don’t want to accept his gender he will not stop trying to convince them. One night a spirit left the world and that spirit is their cousin. Defying the rules he goes to find where his cousin went and summons his spirit. Except that wasn’t his spirit but of a fellow high school student that died that year. Yadriel also accidentally summoned a relentless spirit that doesn’t want to leave. Yadriel has to clean up the mess he made and prove to his family his gender.
This was the most beautifully written young adult novel that I ever had read. I was so sad that this book was short and I had binge read this. This novel speaks so many truths behind the fiction of how some families in society do not accept their child’s gender and the pronouns that they prefer. I loved the ending and found it perfect. Usually there are only novels that have families either shun them or the protagonist is accepting of themselves. Never in between and this book made my heart warm and glow. There was some romance and a lot of science fiction going on. I loved it and I would’ve loved it more if there wasn’t a potential dead love interest. That got me bummed out in the end. Overall, I loved this novel and was so glad to have read it.
Sweetbitter – Stephanie Danler
Young women, self-realization, New
York, coming of age, urban life, fiction.
Tess, whom just arrived in New York,
finds a job at a restaurant. As she adjusts to the new lifestyle, she learns
from her lessons about life and how to go on with life. Tess finds love and
heartbreak as well as recovering from addiction and understands what it means
to be young and in love. She realizes that her lifestyle can’t always be this
chaotic and time for her to grow up.
I found this coming of age too bland
for my taste. Not a fan of this novel but appreciated some and little aspects.
I had hopes that this novel would’ve been great but was greatly disappointed.
There are other great coming of age stories, just not this one.
The Greek Persuasion – Kimberly K. Robeson
Coming of age, LGBTQ+, women, mothers, grandmothers,
romance, Greek mythology, empowerment, self-discovery, Greek islands
Thair Mylopoulos-Wright grew up with the preconceived notion that we all have our other half, Plato’s Symposium, Origin of Love. That there were round beings with four legs and four arms, two faces each having a pair of eyes, a mouth, and a nose. These beings were powerful that sought to be in the heavens, and Zeus saw that as a threat so he took a flaming sword to cut them in half, as a reminder and a lesson of what they should have appreciated. After a breakup with her long-term lover, James, she goes to Kythnos, Greece to write about her grandmother’s past as well as her mother’s past also. As Thair questions if there is such a thing as true love, she discusses with her mother about her mother’s lovers and her grandmother as well, and deeply examines herself. Thair goes down the rabbit hole of trying to find her Other Half and then taking a break from finding love to heal herself. To find herself again, she returns to Greece once more. What will Thair find while she is in Greece?
I really loved the usage of Greek mythology and I found myself in love with Thair in more ways than one. Thair’s story makes me wonder about myself and the types of love there are. As I was reading this, I didn’t see this as a typical romance story. It is above and beyond unique and very representative in thoughts of sexuality and partners. Thair does have a lust love but she is looking for romantic unconditional love as well. I really enjoyed reading this novel. Love isn’t something planned, in this case, love happened and happened hard. I highly recommend giving this a read whether one is looking for a novel about Greek mythology or simply pleasure reading for the romance. This book had made me laugh, cry, go ooh and aw. I hope possibly this author can make a sequel. It deserves a sequel for sure in my opinion.