Rating: 4.7 Stars
Short Summary: Senior year of high school forces Sal to examine the many aspects of his life that he does not understand against a backdrop of many of life’s hardships.
I’ve been so excited for this book for some time. I loved “Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe” – we even put it on our school book club list this year – I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this.
What I liked: What hits me most about this piece is the brilliantly developed relationships between characters. Finally, a brilliantly written book where the two main characters – a straight male and a straight female are actually REALLY GOOD FRIENDS and that’s it. It was refreshing and beautiful to see the way that Sal and Sam just understood each other on all the right levels. The writing of their friendship as siblings was superbly executed and at no part of the book did I find myself wanting more out of their incredibly close friendship.
Sal’s aimlessness is just so common, it was elegantly displayed in the book in a way that so many could relate too. I also adored how this book did not focus overly on romantic entanglements. Its hard to find a YA book without them that is done well, or worth reading, but this was certainly done well.
What I didn’t: Even though my favourite part of the book was the excellent character relationships – I found the relationship between Sal and his father to be a little too “Leave it to Beaver” at times, too perfect and too absent of conflict. It was beautifully idealistic, and adorable at times, but there were a few occasions where believability became an issue for me.
Recommendation: If you’re looking for a strong realistic fiction that’s a bit of a break from the usual formulaic drama/boy meets girl/snowflake syndrome type of books, this is a brilliant piece to add to your roster.