The first day of senior year:
Everything is about to change. Until this moment, Sal has always been certain of his place with his adoptive gay father and their loving Mexican-American family. But now his own history unexpectedly haunts him, and life-altering events force him and his best friend, Samantha, to confront issues of faith, loss, and grief.
Suddenly Sal is throwing punches, questioning everything, and discovering that he no longer knows who he really is—but if Sal’s not who he thought he was, who is he?
Published: 7th March 2017
Okay I really didn’t expect to have to do this but I’m doing it.
I read ‘Aristotle and Dante Discover The Secrets of The Universe‘ maybe a year or two ago and while I wasn’t utterly blown away by it, I did enjoy it. So when I received this ARC, I had high expectations. However, it didn’t entirely deliver. Here’s why:
The book was very real. The problems faced were realistic and the way the characters handed their issues was real as well.
This was obviously pretty great considering how very few books nowadays have that element of true realism in them. Like I could imagine them stepping out of the pages and living an actual life.
It did make me cry
Despite all the flaws of this book that I will outline in a bit, it did make me cry which is not always easy to do. There were parts that I teared up at and of course, the ending really killed me.
Actually, the ending was the only part of the book that was really interesting. It was heartwarming and I actually think it was only the last 100 pages or so that earned it one more star.
I am so fussy aren’t I? Yes, while it was good that it was real, it was also too real for me. I read a book because I want some sort of escape. I don’t read a book to see real life just plastered on a couple of pages.
Everything was real but felt stilted when you put it on a page. Like yes, this is the way a normal dad would react to situation A, but when you write about it, it just looks pretentious. Do you get my drift?
The book was way too long. Absolutely too long. At 452 pages, this book could have been halved and would have still delivered the intended message and impact. Actually there was no impact anyway.
I feel like there was no climax at all in the book. It was just one big long line of normal. The whole book is about life and living but did I really get into a book to read about normal people living their dead ass boring normal lives?
Where was the action? Where was the big exciting event? It was so boring!
I mean, the blurb lines up this fantastic read about discovering yourself but the reality of the novel is that nothing happens at all.
The dad and the kids were just too perfect. Like no one is that perfect. How did the dad not have one single blow up? Or like, how did he not react badly to something at least once?
The writing style
Now, the absolute worst thing a writer could do. Repetitive and stilted writing. Sentences were jarring and everything was just said over and over. This adds on to my point about it being too long by the way.
Overall, it was a book that kept me reading till the end but I’ll be honest, I only really kept reading because I had to review it.
It was way too real and long. The characters just felt too much like a real, well-adjusted human and I couldn’t take it.
There was zero action. It was just a flat line of boring with zero storyline (especially for a book that stands at 452 pages jeez).
In fact, the only redeeming quality was that it was heartwarming and that it made me cry.
This is certainly not a book that I would recommend.
*An advanced copy was provided to me to read and review. However, all opinions are my own*