Monday, February 25, 2013

The problem with my life was that it was someone else’s idea.

Over the weekend I read Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz.
Saenz dedicates this book “to all the boys who’ve had to learn to play by different rules.”

I loved this book... and who wouldn't love a book that contains the passage:

Why do we smile? Why do we laugh? Why do we feel alone? Why are we sad and confused? Why do we read poetry? Why do we cry when we see a painting? Why is there a riot in the heart when we love? Why do we feel shame? What is that thing in the pit of your stomach called desire?

It's the story of two 15 year-old boys, Aristotle and Dante. It's beautifully narrated by Ari, a loner who likes to wallow in his loneliness and anger.

Favorite Quote:
I wanted to tell them that I’d never had a friend, not ever, not a real one. Until Dante. I wanted to tell them that I never knew that people like Dante existed in the world, people who looked at the stars, and knew the mysteries of water, and knew enough to know that birds belonged to the heavens and weren’t meant to be shot down from their graceful flights by mean and stupid boys. I wanted to tell them that he had changed my life and that I would never be the same, not ever. And that somehow it felt like it was Dante who had saved my life and not the other way around. I wanted to tell them that he was the first human being aside from my mother who had ever made me want to talk about the things that scared me. I wanted to tell them so many things and yet I didn’t have the words. So I just stupidly repeated myself. “Dante’s my friend.” 

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe is an intelligent coming of age story. It's a story that teens, LGBT, tom-girls, book nerds, loners...  essentially everyone who’s ever felt different, who’s ever felt like they weren’t sure of who they were, will love. I highly recommend it for all... 13+ year-olds.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

coming in for a landing

Colin Fischer, as unusual as this character is, he's also recognizable to all of us... uncertain about our place in the world, uncertain about what others think and how much it matters, uncertain about our own feelings.

Listen to the authors on NPR's Here and Now

I loved this book. It is aimed at kids 12 and up and filled with amazing facts and information. I especially loved all of Colin's footnotes (personal favorite #21).

My favorite quote:
Cooper turned to Eddie. "Man," he said, "do not foul Shortbus."
My favorite notebook entry:
My father says that Heinrich Gross was simply evil, and some people are like that. I'm not sure if I can accept this explanation. Try as I might, I can't understand how so much horror can be encompassed by such a tiny word. I told my father this once, and he asked me to consider how so much good is encompassed by a word as tiny as "love".
From Here & Now:
The book could help people better understand people on the autism spectrum. 
Miller said, “If somebody reads this book and they come away thinking, ‘I recognize this kid, he’s in my class, or he’s in my house,’ (“Or he’s in my mirror,” Stentz chimes in) then that’s great.” 
But ultimately this book is about storytelling, Stentz said. “What we are out to do, at the end of the day, is to tell a gripping story about an interesting character,” Stentz said.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

reading this weekend

From Goodreads:
In the good old days, magic was indispensable—it could both save a kingdom and clear a clogged drain. But now magic is fading: drain cleaner is cheaper than a spell, and magic carpets are used for pizza delivery. Fifteen-year-old foundling Jennifer Strange runs Kazam, an employment agency for magicians—but it’s hard to stay in business when magic is drying up. And then the visions start, predicting the death of the world’s last dragon at the hands of an unnamed Dragonslayer. If the visions are true, everything will change for Kazam—and for Jennifer. Because something is coming. Something known as . . . Big Magic.