Nothing But Reading Challenges discussion

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe (Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, #1)
577 views
Previous BOMs - Authors; A - D > Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, by Benjamin Alire Sáenz (Young Adult BOM) Starts May 2, 2016

Comments (showing 1-50 of 95) (95 new)    post a comment »
« previous 1

message 1: by Moderators of NBRC, Wheel-a-Thon Master (new) - added it

Moderators of NBRC | 26225 comments

This topic is to discuss Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz. Be prepared for spoilers!!

Synopsis:


This Printz Honor Book is a “tender, honest exploration of identity” (Publishers Weekly) that distills lyrical truths about family and friendship.

Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship—the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through this friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be.


message 2: by Moderators of NBRC, Wheel-a-Thon Master (new) - added it

Moderators of NBRC | 26225 comments What is a BOM (Book of the Month)?

At NRBC we use a more structured approach to our BOMs. We have a discussion leader and a reading date is set to start the book. A reading schedule is posted prior to the start date and discussion questions are posted each day regarding that section of the book.

More info under spoiler
(view spoiler)


message 3: by Moderators of NBRC, Wheel-a-Thon Master (last edited May 07, 2016 03:57PM) (new) - added it

Moderators of NBRC | 26225 comments Chapter Breakdown



Date Chapters Pages PPQDs


May 2 The Different Rules of Summer 1-56 Jen

May 3 Sparrows Falling from the sky & 57-154 Melissa
The End of Summer

May 4&5 Letters on a Page 155-232 Karen

May 6 Remember the Rain 233-294 Corey

May 7 All the Secrets of the Universe 295-359 (end) Marcelina



Note: Breakdown is based on hardcover version of the book
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
Within each of the named chapters are section numbers. To try reduce confusion, our breakdown is based on the named chapter sections.
One section is over two days (May 4&5) as there are two larger sections in a row.


message 4: by Moderators of NBRC, Wheel-a-Thon Master (new) - added it

Moderators of NBRC | 26225 comments reserved


message 5: by Moderators of NBRC, Wheel-a-Thon Master (new) - added it

Moderators of NBRC | 26225 comments reserved


message 6: by Karen ⊰✿, Fiction Aficianado (new) - rated it 3 stars

Karen ⊰✿ | 12183 comments I've been intrigued by this for a while, so I am in :)


message 7: by Sonia, Igor's Evil Twin (new) - added it

Sonia (darktalynn) | 7797 comments In. I'm so in :)


Melissa | 2143 comments I've got this on hold at the library. I can do DQ's only if I get it on time. I'll let you know :)


Corey (coreyhuffman) | 389 comments This book just came in the mail today, looking forward to joining you guys on this one.


message 10: by Jen (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jen (reader44ever) | 2907 comments My hold on it at my library is ready for pickup! So I'll be able to get it on my weekly Thursday visit. And this means. . .

I'll have it in time to start on time and can volunteer for DQs! :-)


message 11: by Smart (new) - added it

Smart (PepperSmart) | 1 comments I'm reading this now, great book so far


message 12: by Jen (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jen (reader44ever) | 2907 comments Just a thought, but if you don't get many DQ volunteers, I'd be willing to do more than one day. If needed. :-)


Corey (coreyhuffman) | 389 comments Started reading it today. Engrossed. I'm happy to do DQs as well.


Melissa | 2143 comments I picked up the book from the library yesterday so if you need more DQ volunteers I'm in!


message 15: by JheiEm (new)

JheiEm Juanerio (iamjheiem) i'm in for this reading...


message 16: by [deleted user] (new)

I just got this on Audible, but I think that it will be a quite easy read for me :) I will sign up for the DQs~


message 17: by Moderators of NBRC, Wheel-a-Thon Master (new) - added it

Moderators of NBRC | 26225 comments Thanks to all our volunteers!

I've assigned everyone a day. Please yell out if it doesn't work for you. Thanks :)

https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...


message 18: by Jen (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jen (reader44ever) | 2907 comments The beginning works GREAT for me, thank you!!! :-)


Kay Kay | 1790 comments I will do this one too! Ohh I so need to get caught up!


Charlie (MePrincessYouPeasant) | 126 comments This will be a reread for me, but I wanted to for so long. This group read came along at just the right time!


megan | 895 comments When I saw that the group picked the book I nominated, I had a "They like me! They really like me!" moment.


message 22: by Karen ⊰✿, Fiction Aficianado (new) - rated it 3 stars

Karen ⊰✿ | 12183 comments Meg wrote: "When I saw that the group picked the book I nominated, I had a "They like me! They really like me!" moment."

hahaha


Emily (EmilytheBookNerd) | 1388 comments Meg wrote: "When I saw that the group picked the book I nominated, I had a "They like me! They really like me!" moment."

I totally get that- I felt the same way! ;) (I nominated The Shadow of the Wind that also got picked for May.)


Sonja (sonham) | 0 comments This is on my reading list for quite a while, so I am in too :-)


Alison (A1ison74) | 2339 comments Just picked this up from Amazon for 99p so I'm in :)


message 26: by Jen (last edited May 02, 2016 12:40AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jen (reader44ever) | 2907 comments Hi all! I've had a headache building, but I wanted to get the first day's questions posted promptly, so I stayed up until midnight here in Arizona so as to post them on the 2nd. It took me until almost 40 minutes after midnight (sorry!) to get to posting them, but here they are! :-)

Daily Questions for Day One
May 2, 2016: The Different Rules of Summer, pp.1-56


1. Have you ever read any of Benjamin Alire Sáenz’s works, or is this your first? If you’ve read others, do you have any recommendations? Why did you choose this book to read?

2. What do you think of Ari and Dante so far? Do you like them? Have a favorite?

3. Ari’s father is a Vietnam Veteran. He returned home a changed man. My own father was changed by his experiences in Vietnam. And though my own Dad would never talk about his wartime experiences, he was otherwise warm, caring, and talkative. Does Ari’s father bring up any memories for you? Do you find him as “inscrutable” as Ari does?

4. Ari mentioned that his older brother is in prison. Do you have any suspicions as to what he did to earn a conviction? Do you think Ari’s older siblings will have a place in this story?

5. Dante and Ari are very different from each other, but similar, too, in a way. Why do you think these two boys are friends? Do you think they’ll “last”?


message 27: by Jen (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jen (reader44ever) | 2907 comments Daily Questions for Day One
May 2, 2016: The Different Rules of Summer, pp.1-56


1. Have you ever read any of Benjamin Alire Sáenz’s works, or is this your first? If you’ve read others, do you have any recommendations? Why did you choose this book to read?
This is my first book by Benjamin Alire Sáenz. I wanted to read it because it was “in the news” a lot a year or three (four years?) ago. I’m not sure it’s “my” type of book, but I figured this group BOM read would be a good time to give it a try.

2. What do you think of Ari and Dante so far? Do you like them? Have a favorite?
I’m not entirely sure what to think of the story so far. Is it a story of friendship? Literary fiction? I love that Dante loves to read. But Ari is the one I identify more with. I understand his “I really liked being alone”-ness. I don’t know that I like Ari more, though. I’m holding off on a final judgment for now. He is showing some bully-type tendencies and I’m waiting to see if he’ll temper them and become a “good” boy.

3. Ari’s father is a Vietnam Veteran. He returned home a changed man. My own father was changed by his experiences in Vietnam. And though my own Dad would never talk about his wartime experiences, he was otherwise warm, caring, and talkative. Does Ari’s father bring up any memories for you? Do you find him as “inscrutable” as Ari does?
I don’t think Ari’s father is all that hard to understand. He is just sad and reticent because of his wartime experiences. I wish Ari would ask his father some of his questions, though not about the war, necessarily. My own father. . .Well, it was just understood in our house that we wouldn’t talk about Vietnam or “the war.” But my Dad would talk about other things. Like how he met my mother, and his family, and our family, and, well, anything really that wasn’t related to Vietnam. I think if Ari were to make an overture of friendship, so to speak, that he might be happily surprised.

4. Ari mentioned that his older brother is in prison. Do you have any suspicions as to what he did to earn a conviction? Do you think Ari’s older siblings will have a place in this story?
I suspect that Ari’s throw-away taunt to his mother, that he was “going to join a gang,” may have been some sort of hint. But if it was, it was in really bad taste to say that to his mother. If his older brother is in prison because of some sort of gang-related incident/involvement. . .
I do suspect that we’ll learn more, and even meet Ari’s older siblings, at some point. The way Ari brought them up in the narrative makes me think they’ll play some sort of role later in the story.

5. Dante and Ari are very different from each other, but similar, too, in a way. Why do you think these two boys are friends? Do you think they’ll “last”?
I think they were both just lonely loners, and saw “it” in each other. So they gravitated toward one another and, after the swimming lessons at the pool, grew into friends. They each bring different things to their friendship-relationship. Ari is strong of will and body; Dante is strong in book-learning and more philosophical things. So I do think they can “last.” They’re very different, but also sort of the same. :-)


Emily (EmilytheBookNerd) | 1388 comments Please tell me you were being facetious with that sorry! 40 mins after midnight is incredibly prompt, especially with a headache!


message 29: by Jen (last edited May 02, 2016 01:28AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jen (reader44ever) | 2907 comments Emily wrote: "Please tell me you were being facetious with that sorry! 40 mins after midnight is incredibly prompt, especially with a headache!"

lol Emily! I wasn't being facetious. I had intended to get back on the computer to post at midnight and have it up no later than 10 after. So that's why I felt a wee bit guilty and apologized. But I'm now going to bed. Goodreads is my not-so-guilty-pleasure; I find more ways to "waste" time on here than I think I should. ;-)

Hopefully the questions are worthy! I put a lot of thought into them earlier to come up with questions that would make me think. Hopefully they make others think, too! :-)


message 30: by Karen ⊰✿, Fiction Aficianado (new) - rated it 3 stars

Karen ⊰✿ | 12183 comments Emily wrote: "Please tell me you were being facetious with that sorry! 40 mins after midnight is incredibly prompt, especially with a headache!"

I agree! Sorry you felt so poorly. It is all ok if you are ever under the weather and need to post later, or have someone else step in. Just let us know :)


message 31: by Karen ⊰✿, Fiction Aficianado (new) - rated it 3 stars

Karen ⊰✿ | 12183 comments Daily Questions for Day One
May 2, 2016: The Different Rules of Summer, pp.1-56

1. Have you ever read any of Benjamin Alire Sáenz’s works, or is this your first? If you’ve read others, do you have any recommendations? Why did you choose this book to read?
No I haven't, but your question had me follow that link and I was surprised with how many books he has written! I've seen this book around for a while, I think due to the Goodreads Choice Awards, and when it became a BOM and I could get it from the library I decided to give it a go.

2. What do you think of Ari and Dante so far? Do you like them? Have a favorite?
I like them so far, but don't have a really good sense of either of them. They are a little ying/yang I think. This could be an interesting look at how home life can impact kids

3. Ari’s father is a Vietnam Veteran. He returned home a changed man. My own father was changed by his experiences in Vietnam. And though my own Dad would never talk about his wartime experiences, he was otherwise warm, caring, and talkative. Does Ari’s father bring up any memories for you? Do you find him as “inscrutable” as Ari does?
Not especially brings up memories, I think your question has me wondering more about him and maybe I'll take more notice of him in the next section

4. Ari mentioned that his older brother is in prison. Do you have any suspicions as to what he did to earn a conviction? Do you think Ari’s older siblings will have a place in this story?
I'm not sure. There has been quite a bit made of their Mexican heritage in just 50-odd pages, so I do wonder if the author is trying to bust some stereotypes? Or using them? Not knowing the author it is hard to speculate.

5. Dante and Ari are very different from each other, but similar, too, in a way. Why do you think these two boys are friends? Do you think they’ll “last”?
They seem to have a very easy way with eachother and I'm hoping this is a nice story and not a tragic one! :o


Karen | 771 comments Daily Questions for Day One
May 2, 2016: The Different Rules of Summer, pp.1-56

1. Have you ever read any of Benjamin Alire Sáenz’s works, or is this your first? If you’ve read others, do you have any recommendations? Why did you choose this book to read?

No, I haven't read any of his other books before. I think I first saw this book mentioned in a Buzzfeed list? So it's been on my radar. But I also try to read the NBRC group reads when I can.

2. What do you think of Ari and Dante so far? Do you like them? Have a favorite?
I do like them, I don't have a favorite right now, they seem to complement each other very well.

3. Ari’s father is a Vietnam Veteran. He returned home a changed man. My own father was changed by his experiences in Vietnam. And though my own Dad would never talk about his wartime experiences, he was otherwise warm, caring, and talkative. Does Ari’s father bring up any memories for you? Do you find him as “inscrutable” as Ari does?
It seems to me that Ari doesn't understand his father but maybe hasn't really made an effort to? Just based on the fact that Dante immediately knew exactly what to bring over for him, and it made Ari reconsider some of what he knew about his father.

4. Ari mentioned that his older brother is in prison. Do you have any suspicions as to what he did to earn a conviction? Do you think Ari’s older siblings will have a place in this story?
I think they will have an indirect place. Basically how we've seen it already, Ari's parents will expect certain things of Ari and try to keep him from making similar mistakes because of his brother and sisters, but they won't necessarily be significant characters. Maybe Ari will visit him in jail, but I don't think anything more than that.

5. Dante and Ari are very different from each other, but similar, too, in a way. Why do you think these two boys are friends? Do you think they’ll “last”?
they're both different from others, and it seems that they both crave friendship and connection. I do think they'll last, but I expect some of their differences will cause them problems at some point.


Charlie (MePrincessYouPeasant) | 126 comments 1. Have you ever read any of Benjamin Alire Sáenz’s works, or is this your first? If you’ve read others, do you have any recommendations? Why did you choose this book to read?
Yes, I have. This is a reread of Aristotle and Dante for me. Since then, I've also read other books by Benjamin Alire Sáenz and he continued on to be my favourite author. This book is definitely my favourite work by him, but after this one I'd recommend reading Sammy and Juliana in Hollywood. I really didn't like Everything Begins and Ends at the Kentucky Club, so I wouldn't recommend picking up that one.

I've been wanting to reread Aristotle and Dante for the longest time. The first time I read it was back in 2014 and I rated it 5 stars. I loved it so much, so I hope this reread won't disappoint me. It came along at just the right time back in 2014 and it was the first time I fell in love with an author.


2. What do you think of Ari and Dante so far? Do you like them? Have a favorite?
So far I like Aristotle more than I like Dante. I'm even going as far as to say that I'm kind of annoyed by Dante. I didn't experience this the first time I read it, but I feel like Dante is a bit too uptight. For example, the shoe-throwing game where Dante insisted upon using measuring tape. That was the moment I realised Dante was irritating me a bit.

3. Ari’s father is a Vietnam Veteran. He returned home a changed man. My own father was changed by his experiences in Vietnam. And though my own Dad would never talk about his wartime experiences, he was otherwise warm, caring, and talkative. Does Ari’s father bring up any memories for you? Do you find him as “inscrutable” as Ari does?
It doesn't really bring up any memories, except for the fact that my grandpa fought in the Vietnam war. He is the same as Ari's father, although he is kind and caring. He has never spoken about his experience with the Vietnam war. It keeps on being a mystery to me. I feel like Ari is a bit harsh on his father. I can get why it's bothering him. He feels like his father is not listening to him when he talks to him and that's one of the worst feelings in the world. Ari is still so young, though. It's still hard for him to realise what a war does to a person, but I feel like he'll realise it eventually.

4. Ari mentioned that his older brother is in prison. Do you have any suspicions as to what he did to earn a conviction? Do you think Ari’s older siblings will have a place in this story?
I honestly don't remember why Ari's brother is in prison, so I can't say anything for sure about that. No spoilers from me! I do have a suspicion though. His brother probably got involved with a gang. It'd certainly explain Ari's mother's reaction to Ari's joke about joining a gang. I think Ari does struggle with his brother not being talked about in his own home, his parent pretending like he doesn't exist. It's always in the back of his mind, but I don't believe his siblings will play a big part in the story itself.

5. Dante and Ari are very different from each other, but similar, too, in a way. Why do you think these two boys are friends? Do you think they’ll “last”?
I think they're friends because they're so different from each other. Not only that, but both of them don't seem to have any real friends. Both of them were longing for a real friendship and they found that in each other which is wonderful. I do think they'll last. They complete each other. Dante makes Ari think about things he has never thought about before and tries to lift Ari's darkness by bringing a little joy. I'm not sure what Ari brings to the table right now, but I'm sure he has some qualities Dante appreciates and needs.


message 34: by [deleted user] (new)

Daily Questions for Day One
May 2, 2016: The Different Rules of Summer, pp.1-56


1. Have you ever read any of Benjamin Alire Sáenz’s works, or is this your first? If you’ve read others, do you have any recommendations? Why did you choose this book to read?

No I haven't. Personally I prefer trying newer & lesser known authors, and so if I haven't read any other of their books, then I'm still willing to take that risk.;)

2. What do you think of Ari and Dante so far? Do you like them? Have a favorite?

Ari, because he's just so relatable to me as a teenager. I felt connected to him by his loneliness and lack of friendship. He's definitely a well-developed characters with weaknesses.

3. Ari’s father is a Vietnam Veteran. He returned home a changed man. My own father was changed by his experiences in Vietnam. And though my own Dad would never talk about his wartime experiences, he was otherwise warm, caring, and talkative. Does Ari’s father bring up any memories for you? Do you find him as “inscrutable” as Ari does?

Umm, I think that you can't really judge a quiet man because you don't know what's inside their heart. I'm just assuming that Ari's dad was the type that kind of hid away in his room to escape from the memories and his family. I don't know exactly, but I do agree that Ari could have made a greater effort at least.

4. Ari mentioned that his older brother is in prison. Do you have any suspicions as to what he did to earn a conviction? Do you think Ari’s older siblings will have a place in this story?

I'm betting that because of their rebellious teenage son that got his way into prison, Ari's parents are more protective of their only son left in the nest, and so that's why they kind of seem like over-protective, but Dante makes a point: It's all because his parents love him. <3

5. Dante and Ari are very different from each other, but similar, too, in a way. Why do you think these two boys are friends? Do you think they’ll “last”?

Well, if the statement "opposite attract" rings true, because if they were similar than where would the fun be? It seems that both of them actually really need each other, and even though her worldviews may not mesh together completely, but still their friendship so far seems like lasting forever. :)


message 35: by Emily (last edited May 03, 2016 08:24AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Emily (EmilytheBookNerd) | 1388 comments Daily Questions for Day One
May 2, 2016: The Different Rules of Summer, pp.1-56


1. Have you ever read any of Benjamin Alire Sáenz’s works, or is this your first? If you’ve read others, do you have any recommendations? Why did you choose this book to read?

This is my first. I am enjoying reading his spare writing style.
I had seen a lot of (mostly) good buzz about this book. I am always trying to get out of my comfort zone and make myself read things other than fantasy, so I though I’d give it a try, as I enjoy doing BOMs.

2. What do you think of Ari and Dante so far? Do you like them? Have a favorite?
I am enjoying the two boys as characters. Ari has a really unique voice, and I am enjoying reading about his life in the 80s and his culture and perspectives, which are quite different from mine. Dante also seems to have an original way of looking at the world.
As Jen said, I sympathize with Ari, but I don’t like everything about him. I do like Dante quite a bit.
My complaint, however, is that I feel like the author is telling us what Dante’s personality is like more than he is showing us, at least so far. Instead of really showing us Ari getting to know Dante at the very beginning of their relationship, Saenz has Ari give us a brief overview of their early friendship and has him describe Dante. I prefer to learn what characters are like from their actions and dialogue, as opposed to descriptions.

3. Ari’s father is a Vietnam Veteran. He returned home a changed man. My own father was changed by his experiences in Vietnam. And though my own Dad would never talk about his wartime experiences, he was otherwise warm, caring, and talkative. Does Ari’s father bring up any memories for you? Do you find him as “inscrutable” as Ari does?
My father is not the most verbose person in general, but this is still quite unlike my family situation. We talk through issues and feelings and worries and opinions a lot.
Now, while I don’t have direct experience of this, I suspect that everyone comes home from war changed in some way. If talking was hard for Ari’s father (or if he was just a taciturn person to begin with), there are other ways that he could have gone about connecting with Ari, but it doesn’t seem like he attempted these either. While I don’t find him quite as inscrutable as Ari does, I don’t yet understand his character well enough to know why. Not that Ari seems to be making much effort at all towards their relationship either. I agree with Jen that if Ari were to try to bridge the gap, his father might reciprocate.

4. Ari mentioned that his older brother is in prison. Do you have any suspicions as to what he did to earn a conviction? Do you think Ari’s older siblings will have a place in this story?
It seemed hinted that it could be related to gang involvement. But it could be something else entirely. I think it’s horribly sad that Ari’s family never talks about his brother. I feel like this is an unhealthy way for them to deal with it, and I’m sure contributes to Ari’s sense of isolation.
I liked that quote about how Ari disliked how his parents did “family math”, putting so many expectations on him to be good because his brother hadn’t been.
My feeling is that the older siblings won’t play a huge role in the story, but I could be completely wrong.

5. Dante and Ari are very different from each other, but similar, too, in a way. Why do you think these two boys are friends? Do you think they’ll “last”?
I think they found each other because neither really fits in with other boys of their age. They both refuse to compromise or pare themselves down in order to fit in. I like this about them. Dante in particular is true to himself. I also think there is an aspect of opposites attract to their relationship.
I think their friendship has the potential to really last the test of time. I am worried, however, because I feel like Ari has a lot of conflict brewing inside him. He does not seem happy with the world or who he is, and I think he might be heading for some rough years as he comes to terms with those things. So I worry that this conflict could explode in the form of anger towards Dante, potentially damaging their relationship.

Great questions, Jen! They did make me think :)


message 36: by Reed (new) - rated it 4 stars

Reed Raab (ReedRaab) | 312 comments 1. Have you ever read any of Benjamin Alire Sáenz’s works, or is this your first? If you’ve read others, do you have any recommendations? Why did you choose this book to read? This is a first for me and I think it will be fun to read along with the group :)
2. What do you think of Ari and Dante so far? Do you like them? Have a favorite? I like that they complement each other like how Dante is sensitive and Ari is hard. I think this will come in handy when they continue their relationship and face adventures together.
3. Ari’s father is a Vietnam Veteran. He returned home a changed man. My own father was changed by his experiences in Vietnam. And though my own Dad would never talk about his wartime experiences, he was otherwise warm, caring, and talkative. Does Ari’s father bring up any memories for you? Do you find him as “inscrutable” as Ari does? Ari’s father is kind of like my grandfather who was a hardened NYC cop that was very strict with his children but more open to his grandchildren. I feel like Ari is respecting his space too much and that his father is waiting on him to breach the wall between them. I felt the art book was a good opener but Ari dropped the ball maybe out of fear he would be spurned?
4. Ari mentioned that his older brother is in prison. Do you have any suspicions as to what he did to earn a conviction? Do you think Ari’s older siblings will have a place in this story? I’m guessing since his mom is worried about Ari joining a gang, his older brother might have been in one and is in prison for a gang related crime. I think since they are mentioned they might pop into the story later on.
5. Dante and Ari are very different from each other, but similar, too, in a way. Why do you think these two boys are friends? Do you think they’ll “last”? I think they’re friends because bottom line, they have a weirdness about them that not everyone “gets” and they respect each other’s uniqueness which is crucial to a long lasting friendship.


Melissa | 2143 comments Daily Questions for Day One
May 2, 2016: The Different Rules of Summer, pp.1-56

1. Have you ever read any of Benjamin Alire Sáenz’s works, or is this your first? If you’ve read others, do you have any recommendations? Why did you choose this book to read?
I have not read any other work by the author. I have not heard of this book before either. I only read it because it looked interesting when it was chosen as BOM.

2. What do you think of Ari and Dante so far? Do you like them? Have a favorite?
I feel sorry for them because they seem so lonely. Neither of them have a bad home life, they just seem like they can't find a person to connect with. I don't know if I have a favorite.

3. Ari’s father is a Vietnam Veteran. He returned home a changed man. My own father was changed by his experiences in Vietnam. And though my own Dad would never talk about his wartime experiences, he was otherwise warm, caring, and talkative. Does Ari’s father bring up any memories for you? Do you find him as “inscrutable” as Ari does?
I don't have any personal experiences with war or a family member being changed by war. I do think his dad is extremely important and I think we are going to see how important his dad is to the story. I hope they can find a way to connect.

4. Ari mentioned that his older brother is in prison. Do you have any suspicions as to what he did to earn a conviction? Do you think Ari’s older siblings will have a place in this story?
The only suspicion that I have is that it has something to do with a gang. It is a shame that his parents do not speak of him but I hope that we will find out why and maybe it will all make sense. I don't think they realize how much it is harming Ari by pretending his brother doesn't exist.

5. Dante and Ari are very different from each other, but similar, too, in a way. Why do you think these two boys are friends? Do you think they’ll “last”?
I'm not sure if they will last as friends. I hope they do as they seem to be all each other has. I have a hunch that something is gong to pan out and if I am right I am not sure how that will affect their friendship. I think they are both lonely and they see that loneliness in each other and also an acceptance as to who they are.


message 38: by Melissa (last edited May 03, 2016 02:07PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Melissa | 2143 comments May 3 DQ's Sparrows Falling from the sky

6. When Ari is sick he dreams a lot. He dreams about his brother, his father and Dante. It seems as if he dreams about his father and brother because he feels disconnected to them and wants to know them better. Why do you think he is dreaming about Dante? Do you think it is for the same reason or for another one?

7. Dante refers to himself as not being a true Mexican. From what I can gather it seems as if both Dante and Ari live a similar home life as far as their heritage. Why do you think Dante feels as if he is not a true Mexican but Ari doesn't seem to care?

8. Dante is leaving for the next school year. How do you think this will affect their friendship? Do you think they will be able to stay friends or will it just fizzle out?

The End of Summer

9. When Ari saves Dante's life there are a lot of people who are calling him a hero and Ari is extremely uncomfortable. Do you think there is a reason he feels so negatively about himself or do you think he is just depressed?

10. Between Ari being sick and his almost dying we are seeing more interaction with him and his father in a positive way. Do you think this will help Ari's father to come out of his shell?

11. I really like how Ari told his mother that he would only go to therapy if she and his dad went for their issues. Do you think they will end up going? I hope so. I think they are all damaged in ways they cannot see.

12. Ari has a lot of anger towards everyone especially Dante, do you have any ideas as to why?

13. I found the scene where Dante asks to bathe Ari a little strange but telling. Did this scene foreshadow something to anyone else?

14. It seems as if Dante has more of an attachment to Ari then the other way around. Do you think if Dante stopped coming around then Ari would try and reach out to him?



Charlie (MePrincessYouPeasant) | 126 comments May 3 DQ's
Sparrows Falling from the sky

6. When Ari is sick he dreams a lot. He dreams about his brother, his father and Dante. It seems as if he dreams about his father and brother because he feels disconnected to them and wants to know them better. Why do you think he is dreaming about Dante? Do you think it is for the same reason or for another one?
I don't think it's because of the same reason. I feel like Ari cares a lot for Dante, more than he cares for anyone else. I think he's afraid he'd lose Dante, because he doesn't like himself and feels like he doesn't deserve anything. Dante is the one person he could connect with, but I do feel like they were growing apart at this point already.

7. Dante refers to himself as not being a true Mexican. From what I can gather it seems as if both Dante and Ari live a similar home life as far as their heritage. Why do you think Dante feels as if he is not a true Mexican but Ari doesn't seem to care?
Dante, for one, doesn't look 'Mexican'. It's referred to in the story. Ari has a darker skin colour than Dante and Dante feels like he looks more American because of that. On top of that, Dante sucks at speaking Spanish which is the language they speak in Mexico and is also the language Dante's family speaks. It's also said in the story that Dante's parents crafted their own world and Dante never came to know the Mexican culture because of that. Ari doesn't worry about that. He 'looks' Mexican and he speaks Spanish almost fluently and his parent seem to speak in Spanish at home as well.

8. Dante is leaving for the next school year. How do you think this will affect their friendship? Do you think they will be able to stay friends or will it just fizzle out?
I think it fizzles out. They won't keep in contact until Dante comes back after the eight months they're gone. Ari isn't the type of person to write back, especially since he is holding a grudge against Dante and kind of started resenting him for what happened.

The End of Summer

9. When Ari saves Dante's life there are a lot of people who are calling him a hero and Ari is extremely uncomfortable. Do you think there is a reason he feels so negatively about himself or do you think he is just depressed?
I do think Ari is depressed. I don't think it's just a case of him not liking himself. He's always sad and he is struggling with a lot. Yes, he doesn't like himself but he also feels like nobody else likes him, that he doesn't have any friends and on top of that his siblings don't seem to have any interest in him. That will weigh on you, eventually. Ari is still so young and it's really hard to get through sadness on your own. I have a brother whom I'm very close to and even then it was hard. I can't even imagine how it must feel for Ari. He even says he feels alone when he is with Dante which is a common thing for depression.

10. Between Ari being sick and his almost dying we are seeing more interaction with him and his father in a positive way. Do you think this will help Ari's father to come out of his shell?
I think it will, but I feel like Ari hasn't done enough to approach his father. I think his father is trying harder to connect with Ari and Ari is supposed to do the same thing. I love how his father is actually trying to be better and to pay more attention. I'm hoping this will continue throughout the book.

11. I really like how Ari told his mother that he would only go to therapy if she and his dad went for their issues. Do you think they will end up going? I hope so. I think they are all damaged in ways they cannot see.
Yes, they definitely have issues. I think that much is clear from their pretending their son doesn't exist. I don't think they'll end up going to therapy though. I feel like they're going to work on their issues on their own.

12. Ari has a lot of anger towards everyone especially Dante, do you have any ideas as to why?
Like I said earlier, it feels a lot like resentment. Ari has all of these problems because he saved Dante by pushing him out of the way. He is the one that stays behind with the broken bones and a lot of extra scars, inside and out.

13. I found the scene where Dante asks to bathe Ari a little strange but telling. Did this scene foreshadow something to anyone else?
I found it to be a weird scene, as well. It definitely felt a bit too intimate for just friends to me.

14. It seems as if Dante has more of an attachment to Ari then the other way around. Do you think if Dante stopped coming around then Ari would try and reach out to him?
This is a really good question. I honestly think he wouldn't. He'd ask himself why Dante didn't come around anymore, but I don't think he'd go and visit him. And I think that has a lot to do with his depression (which I think he has). He simply doesn't feel like visiting Dante, but if Dante would come over to his, he'd have no problem. At least, up until the accident happened and Ari started feeling differently towards Dante.


message 40: by Jen (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jen (reader44ever) | 2907 comments May 3 DQ's Sparrows Falling from the sky

6. When Ari is sick he dreams a lot. He dreams about his brother, his father and Dante. It seems as if he dreams about his father and brother because he feels disconnected to them and wants to know them better. Why do you think he is dreaming about Dante? Do you think it is for the same reason or for another one?
I think he dreams about his father and brother because neither is that much of a presence in his life (brother in prison and father just too sunk in his memories/thoughts). I think he dreams about Dante because Dante is the first person he seems to have formed a connection with in his life, his "first friend."

7. Dante refers to himself as not being a true Mexican. From what I can gather it seems as if both Dante and Ari live a similar home life as far as their heritage. Why do you think Dante feels as if he is not a true Mexican but Ari doesn't seem to care?
As Charlie said, Dante doesn't look Mexican, or at least he doesn't look as Mexican as Ari does. And also as Charlie said, Dante is not very fluent in Spanish. I think both of these things combine to make him feel more "American" than Mexican. Though the language thing bothers me. Has he said yet that (view spoiler) Or is that later? I'm sorry if it's later and you read the spoiler. I've finished the book and so can't remember where in the story certain things were said/explained. Back to the language thing, though. It bothers me because it seems to me like he had the same opportunities to learn it that Ari did, but he just didn't learn it. So that was his choice. Mostly what it comes down to, I think, is his looks. He just doesn't look Mexican compared to Ari.

8. Dante is leaving for the next school year. How do you think this will affect their friendship? Do you think they will be able to stay friends or will it just fizzle out?
I'm hoping their friendship will strengthen. This happened to me, sort of. When I was in junior high - seventh and eighth grade in California - I had a "friend," who lived with his mother, with whom I had a healthy competition for things like Math. But before our freshman year of high school, he moved to Missouri to live with his father. We weren't really "friends" before he left, but, for some reason, we exchanged addresses. And he and I got to writing one another, and we'd occasionally call one another, and our "friendship" became a true friendship. When he returned to California for our junior and senior years of high school, we were true friends. When he sprained his leg/ankle - 3rd degree; he needed a cast - I picked him up and drove him to and from school every day. He was my best friend and we remained friends for 25 years, until life changes drifted us too far apart. (We still exchange birthday and Christmas "greetings," but that's about it for nowadays.)
Coincidentally, the split between my "friend" and I happened around the same time as the split between Ari and Dante. (My split happened the summer of '89 and we didn't connect in person again until the fall of '91.)
So I hope Ari and Dante will remain friends, and maybe their friendship will be stronger when Dante returns.

The End of Summer

9. When Ari saves Dante's life there are a lot of people who are calling him a hero and Ari is extremely uncomfortable. Do you think there is a reason he feels so negatively about himself or do you think he is just depressed?
I suspect he feels negatively about himself because he is genuinely depressed. Here's another "can't remember where in the book this took place" spoiler: Has (view spoiler) That comment sure would have depressed me. I didn't like that she said that. :-(

10. Between Ari being sick and his almost dying we are seeing more interaction with him and his father in a positive way. Do you think this will help Ari's father to come out of his shell?
I'm hoping so. But his father is going to need Ari's help to come out of his shell. So I'm just hopeful that communication will open between them. The conversations we're now seeing do give me hope. :-)

11. I really like how Ari told his mother that he would only go to therapy if she and his dad went for their issues. Do you think they will end up going? I hope so. I think they are all damaged in ways they cannot see.
I loved that part, too. I hope they'll all go to therapy, but I doubt they will. If they don't, I'm hoping it will be because they've starting having family therapy among themselves, and that they'll talk to one another.

12. Ari has a lot of anger towards everyone especially Dante, do you have any ideas as to why?
I suspect part of it is because Ari's feelings for Dante are changing. It's hard for me to answer this question, since I've finished the book and pretty much anything I can think of to say would probably be a spoiler of things to come. So I'll just leave it at "his feelings for Dante are changing" and move on to the next question.

13. I found the scene where Dante asks to bathe Ari a little strange but telling. Did this scene foreshadow something to anyone else?
I thought that scene was just plain weird. It didn't really foreshadow anything for me, though. I sort of knew where the book would end up. I didn't think that scene was needed. It showed Dante to be really needy, I thought. I was rather surprised that Ari accepted his offer. But then his thoughts didn't give anything away, he just closed his eyes and pretended it was someone else giving him the bath.

14. It seems as if Dante has more of an attachment to Ari then the other way around. Do you think if Dante stopped coming around then Ari would try and reach out to him?
No, I think if Dante stops reaching out to Ari, that Ari will do a fade and go back to being a true loner. Ari's depression is such that he'd probably think Dante stopped coming around because he doesn't think Ari is worth being friends with. And because Ari is truly depressed, he'd probably agree. So it's good that Dante reaches out. He doesn't let Ari hide. I approve.


message 41: by Karen ⊰✿, Fiction Aficianado (new) - rated it 3 stars

Karen ⊰✿ | 12183 comments May 3 DQ's Sparrows Falling from the sky

6. When Ari is sick he dreams a lot. He dreams about his brother, his father and Dante. It seems as if he dreams about his father and brother because he feels disconnected to them and wants to know them better. Why do you think he is dreaming about Dante? Do you think it is for the same reason or for another one?
I was going to say they are the people that mean most to him, but I think his mother does too. Maybe they are the people he feels he cares about but doesn't understand? Dreams are meant to be our subconscious mind trying to make sense of things

7. Dante refers to himself as not being a true Mexican. From what I can gather it seems as if both Dante and Ari live a similar home life as far as their heritage. Why do you think Dante feels as if he is not a true Mexican but Ari doesn't seem to care?
I'm not sure I understand why this has been brought up so many times in the book. I guess I may be the wrong demographic to understand this. Perhaps to US or Mexican readers this will make more sense?

8. Dante is leaving for the next school year. How do you think this will affect their friendship? Do you think they will be able to stay friends or will it just fizzle out?
It seems that Ari is happy to let it end. I think what he feels for Dante, and vice versa, scares him. It will be hard to keep the friendship going if he doesn't make an effort

The End of Summer

9. When Ari saves Dante's life there are a lot of people who are calling him a hero and Ari is extremely uncomfortable. Do you think there is a reason he feels so negatively about himself or do you think he is just depressed?
I don't think he is someone that enjoys the limelight. And he probably has mild depression which is natural after an accident / trauma like that

10. Between Ari being sick and his almost dying we are seeing more interaction with him and his father in a positive way. Do you think this will help Ari's father to come out of his shell?
I have really enjoyed the development of his father's character. I also wonder as we are only seeing Ari's POV, if he is more aware of his father now due to watching Dante's family

11. I really like how Ari told his mother that he would only go to therapy if she and his dad went for their issues. Do you think they will end up going? I hope so. I think they are all damaged in ways they cannot see.
Agreed. I don't see them going at this point

12. Ari has a lot of anger towards everyone especially Dante, do you have any ideas as to why?
I remember feeling like this as a teenager (despite it being a LONG time ago haha). I think it is that teenage brain trying to make sense of the world and not understanding people's differing motivations

13. I found the scene where Dante asks to bathe Ari a little strange but telling. Did this scene foreshadow something to anyone else?
It was odd. I assumed when I started this book it was a M/M YA romance, but then I started to question that, and with this scene I'm back there again. haha. I was trying to put myself into the shoes of Ari and would I let a friend do that? (male or female) and I have to say no. So for me there is no other explanation other than this is foreshadowing a romantic relationship between the two of them

14. It seems as if Dante has more of an attachment to Ari then the other way around. Do you think if Dante stopped coming around then Ari would try and reach out to him?
I agree, and unfortunately I think no, at this point. I think Ari is scared of the emotions that Dante makes him feel and how he is so overtly emotional. Dante is used to hiding what he feels. It is making Ari uncomfortable and pulling back


Emily (EmilytheBookNerd) | 1388 comments May 3 DQ's Sparrows Falling from the sky

6. When Ari is sick he dreams a lot. He dreams about his brother, his father and Dante. It seems as if he dreams about his father and brother because he feels disconnected to them and wants to know them better. Why do you think he is dreaming about Dante? Do you think it is for the same reason or for another one?

I do think that Ari dreamed about Dante for pretty similar reasons. He wants to truly form relationships with others, but doesn’t seem willing or able to let himself do so. He and Dante have certainly connected, but I think he is still searching for a deeper and more true connection and a sense of belonging. I think his brother going to prison when he was very young also probably gave him some abandonment issues and fears that people he cares about will leave him. I think his dreams are also an expression of these fears.

7. Dante refers to himself as not being a true Mexican. From what I can gather it seems as if both Dante and Ari live a similar home life as far as their heritage. Why do you think Dante feels as if he is not a true Mexican but Ari doesn't seem to care?
I’m not sure. It seems to me that some people turn to their cultural heritage when their ties with their extended family and community are not strong. Ari seems be surrounded by more family members and social bonds than Dante (despite the fact that Ari himself is very disconnected from others), so maybe Dante is searching for more of a sense of community, but is thwarted by characteristics like his poor Spanish. This also seems like it might be representative of the overall immigrant experience. Some first generation Americans embrace their in-between status, not caring too much about where their parents came from, while others feel adrift and alone, wanting to be part of both American culture and the culture of their heritage, while not feeling like they belong to either.

8. Dante is leaving for the next school year. How do you think this will affect their friendship? Do you think they will be able to stay friends or will it just fizzle out?
I think Ari would be a very difficult person with whom to have a long distance relationship of any kind. He seems to think that showing he cares or making an effort is some kind of weakness, and maintaining friendships over distance requires caring and effort. Dante might be able to carry it for a time, but I hope Ari comes to realize the importance of Dante’s friendship in his life.

The End of Summer

9. When Ari saves Dante's life there are a lot of people who are calling him a hero and Ari is extremely uncomfortable. Do you think there is a reason he feels so negatively about himself or do you think he is just depressed?

I can’t say that I truly understand or relate to Ari and his sense of disassociation from others and his anger. I have always had a pretty strong sense of belonging and strong connections with my family and friends. Growing up I never really doubted who I was and was pretty content with that person. I really sympathize with Ari, but sometimes I just want to shake him and yell at him to wake up and take a true interest in something. I find the narrative really gets me inside Ari’s head and his search for the truth of himself, though, which I am definitely enjoying.
I can, however, understand feeling negatively towards yourself. I think this stems from some (completely unwarranted) shame he feels subconsciously regarding an aspect of himself he has yet to accept. I also think it has to do with his feelings for Dante. Sometimes meeting someone who you think is amazing makes you feel unworthy and ask yourself the question, “why would he/she want to hang out with me?”. I think that is happening here.

10. Between Ari being sick and his almost dying we are seeing more interaction with him and his father in a positive way. Do you think this will help Ari's father to come out of his shell?
I hope that both Ari and his father learn to reach out to each other over the course of the book. I think they both want a relationship; they are just similar in being extremely reticent and bad at connecting with others.

11. I really like how Ari told his mother that he would only go to therapy if she and his dad went for their issues. Do you think they will end up going? I hope so. I think they are all damaged in ways they cannot see.
I liked that as well, although I don’t think Ari’s mom was wrong to suggest Ari see a therapist. I don’t necessarily foresee them going in the story, but you’re right, his parents could certainly use it. The fact that they never speak about one of their children cannot be healthy.

12. Ari has a lot of anger towards everyone especially Dante, do you have any ideas as to why?
Not really, except for that teenage males often seem to sublimate other strong emotions into anger. Ari is scared of his feelings for Dante, like others have said, so not wanting to feel scared, he feels angry instead.

13. I found the scene where Dante asks to bathe Ari a little strange but telling. Did this scene foreshadow something to anyone else?
Well, I was fairly spoiled on the direction this book is taking just by the subgenre it is in. There have been a number of clues of this kind, but this scene was definitely the most obvious.

14. It seems as if Dante has more of an attachment to Ari then the other way around. Do you think if Dante stopped coming around then Ari would try and reach out to him?
I think Dante’s attachment to Ari is more obvious, but in some ways I think Ari needs Dante more and would be more devastated were their relationship to dissolve. Dante would recover eventually, I’m not sure if Ari really would.
That said, since Ari’s feelings for Dante scare him, Ari would let the relationship end if given the chance. Hopefully Dante won’t give one to him!

If any of you haven’t looked up the poem with the line “from what we cannot hold the stars are made” (Youth by W.S. Merwin), I would suggest it. It is a beautiful poem that relates markedly to the book.


Karen | 771 comments 6. When Ari is sick he dreams a lot. He dreams about his brother, his father and Dante. It seems as if he dreams about his father and brother because he feels disconnected to them and wants to know them better. Why do you think he is dreaming about Dante? Do you think it is for the same reason or for another one?
Probably. He has doubts about why Dante would be friends with him, and even though they are connected he doesn't feel confident in that connection.

7. Dante refers to himself as not being a true Mexican. From what I can gather it seems as if both Dante and Ari live a similar home life as far as their heritage. Why do you think Dante feels as if he is not a true Mexican but Ari doesn't seem to care?
It could be something as small as not being able to speak Spanish as well. Or the fact that this parents have cut off ties to all of their Mexican relatives?

8. Dante is leaving for the next school year. How do you think this will affect their friendship? Do you think they will be able to stay friends or will it just fizzle out?
We're pretty early in the book, so it seems unlikely it would just fizzle out! I'm guessing they drift apart for the year but reconnect on a new level when Dante returns.

The End of Summer

9. When Ari saves Dante's life there are a lot of people who are calling him a hero and Ari is extremely uncomfortable. Do you think there is a reason he feels so negatively about himself or do you think he is just depressed?
He's probably a little depressed, he also has really low self-esteem, so being made out to be a hero is too much for him. He wants to be Dante's friend and fit in and being put on a pedestal isn't the best way to fit in.

10. Between Ari being sick and his almost dying we are seeing more interaction with him and his father in a positive way. Do you think this will help Ari's father to come out of his shell?
No, I don't think that's the issue. I think the father is who he is, and if his wife can't bring out his feelings about the war, then connecting with Ari probably won't. But I think it helps Ari see that his father really loves him, even if he can be closed off, and that will help Ari make more of an effort which will overall help the relationship.

11. I really like how Ari told his mother that he would only go to therapy if she and his dad went for their issues. Do you think they will end up going? I hope so. I think they are all damaged in ways they cannot see.
No, probably not. Everyone is damaged in ways they can't see and could probably benefit from therapy, but this family doesn't seem to buy into that.

12. Ari has a lot of anger towards everyone especially Dante, do you have any ideas as to why?
He's a teenager. And probably scared of his feelings for Dante, especially since Dante is leaving. It's easier to be angry than hurt.

13. I found the scene where Dante asks to bathe Ari a little strange but telling. Did this scene foreshadow something to anyone else?
Based on the genres for this book, seems like that's definitely foreshadowing.

14. It seems as if Dante has more of an attachment to Ari then the other way around. Do you think if Dante stopped coming around then Ari would try and reach out to him?
No, Ari is too scared of being hurt. He doesn't seem like the type to go out of his way to keep the friendship going if Dante stops trying.


message 44: by Imke (new) - rated it 4 stars

Imke (immie75) | 1449 comments Daily Questions for Day One
May 2, 2016: The Different Rules of Summer, pp.1-56


1. Have you ever read any of Benjamin Alire Sáenz’s works, or is this your first? If you’ve read others, do you have any recommendations? Why did you choose this book to read?
This is my first book by this author. It was a BOM and available.

2. What do you think of Ari and Dante so far? Do you like them? Have a favorite?
I like them both, but I like Dante best.

3. Ari’s father is a Vietnam Veteran. He returned home a changed man. My own father was changed by his experiences in Vietnam. And though my own Dad would never talk about his wartime experiences, he was otherwise warm, caring, and talkative. Does Ari’s father bring up any memories for you? Do you find him as “inscrutable” as Ari does?
Ari's father reminds me very much of my grandfather. He was about 18 during WWII. He never talked about what he experienced and he was also very reclusive and suffered from derpession. And I think the way Ari treats his dad reminds me a bit of the relationship between my dad and my grandfather. My dad does know a little about what my grandfather went through. but was always afraid to ask further, because my grandfather wouldn't talk about it. What he does know is from his uncles and aunts.

4. Ari mentioned that his older brother is in prison. Do you have any suspicions as to what he did to earn a conviction? Do you think Ari’s older siblings will have a place in this story?
No idea what Ari's brother is in prison for, but I think it is something very serious. I think his siblings may have a very small part, the age difference is to big for them to play a really big role.

5. Dante and Ari are very different from each other, but similar, too, in a way. Why do you think these two boys are friends? Do you think they’ll “last”?
I think they recognized the lonelyness in each other. I think they will last as friends.


message 45: by Reed (new) - rated it 4 stars

Reed Raab (ReedRaab) | 312 comments May 3 DQ's Sparrows Falling from the sky
6. When Ari is sick he dreams a lot. He dreams about his brother, his father and Dante. It seems as if he dreams about his father and brother because he feels disconnected to them and wants to know them better. Why do you think he is dreaming about Dante? Do you think it is for the same reason or for another one?
It could be for the same reason, he still has a lot to learn about his new friend Dante and his feelings towards him. This is all new to Ari, to actually have a friend that he cares about and makes him question how much he may love the family he is a part of.
7. Dante refers to himself as not being a true Mexican. From what I can gather it seems as if both Dante and Ari live a similar home life as far as their heritage. Why do you think Dante feels as if he is not a true Mexican but Ari doesn't seem to care? I think Dante feels left out when he is around his entire extended family, he can’t speak fluent Spanish and feeling like an outsider in your own family has got to be tough. Ari doesn’t seem like the type to categorize people by their ethnicity, he just sees people as people and I think Dante has trouble wrapping his head around that kind of lackadaisical logic.
8. Dante is leaving for the next school year. How do you think this will affect their friendship? Do you think they will be able to stay friends or will it just fizzle out? Dante will try to hold onto it by being pen pals or maybe calling long distance and Ari has the air of whatever happens, happens. I do hope Ari stays in contact because if he doesn’t that could really hurt Dante’s feelings, he’s too sensitive for that type of careless attitude towards their friendship especially when it’s blatantly obvious Ari cherishes their bond but hides it well.
The End of Summer
9. When Ari saves Dante's life there are a lot of people who are calling him a hero and Ari is extremely uncomfortable. Do you think there is a reason he feels so negatively about himself or do you think he is just depressed?
Saenz really knows how to write teen angst and it’s been interesting to see inside a young man’s mind since it is similar to what I experienced growing up yet different too, a little less emotional but still the same turmoil. Ari is very self-deprecating and it’s probably the result from feeling so lost and not really knowing exactly who his true self is yet. Once he does a little more self discovery, he’ll be less insecure and hopefully less depressed having more direction.
10. Between Ari being sick and his almost dying we are seeing more interaction with him and his father in a positive way. Do you think this will help Ari's father to come out of his shell? Oh absolutely. I think this was a wake up call to his father especially hearing his son call out for him in his fevered state. He now knows how much Ari needs him and I think he is determined to forge this relationship which may end up helping him open up about the war as well.
11. I really like how Ari told his mother that he would only go to therapy if she and his dad went for their issues. Do you think they will end up going? I hope so. I think they are all damaged in ways they cannot see. Excellent play by Ari! I just recently had a very similar conversation with my family about going to therapy, they wasted so much time on their cynical yet very secure daughter when clearly more effort should have been going into the other one that obviously had insecurity issues (popularity will do that to a person). I hope the family all seeks help, there is no shame in seeking council with an outside source as well as taking medication to help stabilize your moods. People think therapy is so taboo, it really isn’t and I don’t know one person who couldn’t benefit from it.
12. Ari has a lot of anger towards everyone especially Dante, do you have any ideas as to why? I felt like most of that anger was coming from his frustration of being trapped in the hospital when he could be out having fun and swimming with Dante. Instead of verbalizing that he’s internalizing it and once he got some freedom back I noticed he wasn’t as biting.
13. I found the scene where Dante asks to bathe Ari a little strange but telling. Did this scene foreshadow something to anyone else? I found it a bit strange too, I tried to imagine my brothers letting one of their friends bathe them and I couldn’t. With girls it’s different, touching someone platonically while nude isn’t weird at all, more nurturing than anything. Dante may be feeling more affection for Ari than he’s letting on. It could be brotherly or it could be intimately I’m not sure but they are definitely past the point of friends.
14. It seems as if Dante has more of an attachment to Ari then the other way around. Do you think if Dante stopped coming around then Ari would try and reach out to him? Ari probably feels very attached to Dante but he’s not the type of person to show it openly and has a very laid back approach towards their relationship. If Dante stopped coming around, Ari would reach out in an indirect way, maybe be somewhere Dante would be and bump into him. Make it less obvious he is missing Dante.


message 46: by Karen ⊰✿, Fiction Aficianado (new) - rated it 3 stars

Karen ⊰✿ | 12183 comments May 4&5
Letters on a Page
Pgs 155-232

15. Do you like Ari's friends ; Gina and Susie? Do you think either are likely to replace Dante as a "best friend"? Will Ilena return to the story?

16. Dante has been experimenting and admits to Ari he likes boys. Did that surprise you? What did you think of his letter asking about masturbation? Completely out of line or a normal question for a teenage boy to ask his only friend?

17. How are you finding the style of the book? I found this section particularly there were lots of short bursts of prose. Does that help or hinder the story?

18. Are you as frustrated as I am that Ari's parents won't talk about his brother? Would you have opened the envelope?

19. So much happened in this section in Ari's "coming of age" stage of life. Would you like to see he and Dante becoming friends again? Or is Ari better to not have him in his life?



message 47: by Jen (last edited May 04, 2016 07:06PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jen (reader44ever) | 2907 comments May 4&5
Letters on a Page
Pgs 155-232

15. Do you like Ari's friends ; Gina and Susie? Do you think either are likely to replace Dante as a "best friend"? Will Ilena return to the story?

I don't like Gina and Susie. They're sort of like bullies, almost, in how they treat Ari. When I was Ari's age, I was not friends with girls like that. So no, I didn't think either were a threat to Dante's status as Ari's best friend.
As far as Ileana goes, where did she leave off in this section of pages? I did expect her to be more of a presence in Ari's life after that initial contact.

16. Dante has been experimenting and admits to Ari he likes boys. Did that surprise you? What did you think of his letter asking about masturbation? Completely out of line or a normal question for a teenage boy to ask his only friend?
I was not surprised, especially as I knew going in that this was a GLBT book. I thought his letter about masturbation was a pretty normal question for a boy like Dante, if there are (and there probably are) teenage boys like Dante.

17. How are you finding the style of the book? I found this section particularly there were lots of short bursts of prose. Does that help or hinder the story?
I enjoyed the way the story was told. It was very readable for me, so I guess the "short bursts of prose" were helpful. I didn't take any especial note of them as I was reading them, however. To me, it was just how the story was told. And it worked for me. :-)

18. Are you as frustrated as I am that Ari's parents won't talk about his brother? Would you have opened the envelope?
I was very frustrated that Ari's parents wouldn't talk about Bernardo. Did they not ever stop to think what their silence might do to their younger son? :-(
As far as the envelope goes, if it was sealed, I probably wouldn't have opened it. But if it was just fastened or not even closed, I'd have looked. If his parents didn't want him seeing the envelope or its contents, they should have hidden it in a better place. Putting it where the scissors were to be found? That was just dumb on their parts. I was rather impressed with Ari's restraint.

19. So much happened in this section in Ari's "coming of age" stage of life. Would you like to see he and Dante becoming friends again? Or is Ari better to not have him in his life?
I think Dante is good for Ari, so yes, I hoped they'd be friends again.


Emily (EmilytheBookNerd) | 1388 comments May 4&5
Letters on a Page
Pgs 155-232


15. Do you like Ari's friends ; Gina and Susie? Do you think either are likely to replace Dante as a "best friend"? Will Ileana return to the story?

I do like Gina and Susie. I like that they pushed through Ari’s “keep out” exterior until he accepted them as friends. I read what Ari described as them “bugging” him as just being regular friend behavior. I don’t think they can really serve as replacements to Dante, but I hope they all end up friends.
I wondered if Ileana’s boyfriend who is in a gang could be connected to Bernardo somehow, but if not, I don’t foresee her coming back into the story.

16. Dante has been experimenting and admits to Ari he likes boys. Did that surprise you? What did you think of his letter asking about masturbation? Completely out of line or a normal question for a teenage boy to ask his only friend?
Dante confiding that he likes boys surprised me some given the time period in which this book is set and the cultural heritage of the characters. However, I think it fits with Dante being a very open person. I don’t think Dante is the could keep from confiding his sexuality in someone, and it was easiest for it to be Ari not only because of their connection but also because a)Dante could do it in a letter b)he knew Ari likely wouldn’t respond and c)he knew he wouldn’t have to face Ari for a while after telling him. I think this might also be the first step in Dante confessing to Ari that he has feelings for him- depending on Ari’s reaction to this news, Dante can decide whether to ever say more or not.
I was a little surprised at first that Dante was kissing girls, but then decided it was natural. After reading all of Dante’s letters, I got the sense that he might have been subconsciously practicing kissing, just in case for when he returns.
I think masturbation is something that most teenagers wonder about. So I don’t think it was way over the line for Dante to ask his only friend about it, but he also should have realized that given how private of a person Ari is that it would freak him out and he wouldn’t answer.

17. How are you finding the style of the book? I found this section particularly there were lots of short bursts of prose. Does that help or hinder the story?
It is a very spare writing style. Very easy and fast to read, but not necessarily the easiest to pick up on Ari’s deeper feelings between the lines. I like the tone it gives, though. I certainly wouldn’t want to read all books written in this style, but I am enjoying this one as something different.

18. Are you as frustrated as I am that Ari's parents won't talk about his brother? Would you have opened the envelope?
Yes. I wonder if he is really even in prison.
I don’t know- it would take some pretty incredible self-control to not open the envelope, but I have also never dealt with information that could be that explosive and damaging.

19. So much happened in this section in Ari's "coming of age" stage of life. Would you like to see he and Dante becoming friends again? Or is Ari better to not have him in his life?
Well, it will be a very disappointing book if they don’t reestablish a relationship! I definitely think they are both much better off with each other in their lives.


Rachel Cao | 2 comments May 4&5
Letters on a Page
Pgs 155-232


15. Do you like Ari's friends ; Gina and Susie? Do you think either are likely to replace Dante as a "best friend"? Will Ilena return to the story?


I didn't like them in the beginning, but I started liking them more towards the end of the section. In my opinion, it seems like Gina might have feelings for Ari? I'm not too sure, even though Ari says it's like a bro-sis dynamic. But they really push Ari out of his comfort zone and force him to have "normal" teenage experiences and loosen up.

I think Dante's role in Ari's life is irreplaceable, so I doubt Gina and Susie will replace him.

I was surprised Ileana left the story so fast. I thought she would have a greater impact in the book. On that note, I don't think she'll return? Unless her husband(??)'s gang is involved with Ari's brother.

16. Dante has been experimenting and admits to Ari he likes boys. Did that surprise you? What did you think of his letter asking about masturbation? Completely out of line or a normal question for a teenage boy to ask his only friend?

No. Dante has always been more open to Ari and there were plenty of hints in the beginning of the book that he had feelings for Ari. Although, I was pretty surprised to see him tell Ari upfront in the letters.

Thinking about masturbation is totally normal for teenagers at that age. Not sure if it's taboo conversation topic, however I'm not really surprised that Dante asked since he's so open.

17. How are you finding the style of the book? I found this section particularly there were lots of short bursts of prose. Does that help or hinder the story?

I admit I thought each section was a back and forth between Ari and Dante's perspective so we would be able to see both point of views. But I really enjoy it ultimately! I enjoy reading the variety of styles because that's how I think Ari organizes his thoughts? He sort of lives inside his head: some days he's tired and doesn't want to talk about his thoughts (short prose) other days (and chapters) are longer and needs to organize his thoughts more. I don't think the short prose really helped or hindered the story for me, but it sure was easy to read!

18. Are you as frustrated as I am that Ari's parents won't talk about his brother? Would you have opened the envelope?

Yes to both questions. However, I think it's a fear they all 3 share...I know Ari is anticipating hearing about his brother but I also think he's scared in a sense because it's a topic he'd been idolizing all his life. He has been trying to find news clips all over the place but when the evidence is lying right in front of him, he backs down and wants his mother to tell him. Talking about his brother is the elephant in the room all THREE have to get over.

19. So much happened in this section in Ari's "coming of age" stage of life. Would you like to see he and Dante becoming friends again? Or is Ari better to not have him in his life?

Yeah, I really enjoy their relationship/friendship! They both kind of bring each other out of their shells in different ways. I can't wait to start reading when Dante gets back because I think they've had different experiences in their year without each other, so it'd be interesting how they interact when they get back together.


message 50: by Reed (new) - rated it 4 stars

Reed Raab (ReedRaab) | 312 comments May 4&5-Letters on a Page-Pgs 155-232
15. Do you like Ari's friends ; Gina and Susie? Do you think either are likely to replace Dante as a "best friend"? Will Ilena return to the story?
I like the both of them especially the way Gina interacts with Ari, it makes me laugh. At first I thought maybe she was trying to flirt with him but after learning she has seven sisters she probably looks at him in a brotherly way. I have a suspicion that Susie likes Ari but is kind of shy and Gina is trying to bring them both out of their shells. I don’t think they will replace Dante and I am curious how the four of them will get on when he returns from Chicago. As for Ileana, I don’t think we will see her again, it seems pretty final fleeing school and her home to marry a gang member.
16. Dante has been experimenting and admits to Ari he likes boys. Did that surprise you? What did you think of his letter asking about masturbation? Completely out of line or a normal question for a teenage boy to ask his only friend? I was not surprised to find out Dante likes boys and I was happy he could so openly admit it to Ari, probably because Ari isn’t very judgmental towards anyone. The masturbation question is a tough one, we giggled about boys doing it in middle school and in high school it only came up in conversation once with my best friend who seemed kind of relieved that I brought it up. But then by college everyone talked about it like it was nothing and even those sex toy parties became all the rage. Though my brothers had no problem making jokes about it amongst themselves when they didn’t think any of us could hear and then as adults it became a hilarious thing to say at the dinner table. So yeah, in high school, it’s weird to have a heart to heart about it for some reason.
17. How are you finding the style of the book? I found this section particularly there were lots of short bursts of prose. Does that help or hinder the story? I like the uniqueness of it, I feel it flows nicely and I agree with Emily who stated “the narrative really gets me inside Ari’s head” and I feel like I am seeing the story straight from his eyes. It’s a very cool storytelling method.
18. Are you as frustrated as I am that Ari's parents won't talk about his brother? Would you have opened the envelope? YES, It is so frustrating especially coming from a family who discussed everything very openly. My older brother, Charlie, had his share of problems and issues since he was a teenager but we all knew about it. It never changed our love for him, he would drive us crazy sometimes, but he was wired differently than his three siblings and in a way it kept life interesting; Charlie’s adventures were never boring. He was in jail for a few months of my junior year of college so he missed our sister’s wedding and to me it was like, “yeah, Charlie’s in jail until January. He’s reading a TON of books so mom keeps bringing him more. Can you pass the cake?” I think my parents were embarrassed by him being there, like it was a reflection of their parenting to have a son that acted out-that people would whisper about them behind their backs. I always had the attitude of “screw em if that’s what they think” but I understood how Charlie’s actions affected them, how they felt they weren’t doing enough even though they were the best parents anyone could ask for. Honestly, it would kill me if they told me I couldn’t speak his name in the house when he was in rehab or jail, Charlie was such a HUGE part of our lives for better or worse. Even now, 2 months later after laying him to rest, I take any chance to speak of him (including now so thank you for this) or show silly pictures of him or play his singing birthday voicemail he left for me last year. I don’t know what Ari’s brother did to land him in prison but acting like he doesn’t exist bothers me. He does exist and if Ari wants to know him he has that right as a blood related sibling. I wouldn’t open the envelope but I would take it to my parents and ask if I could. Everyone should know their siblings regardless of the situation. I am grateful for the 33 years I had my mischievous and very loving older brother and Ari deserves that too.
19. So much happened in this section in Ari's "coming of age" stage of life. Would you like to see he and Dante becoming friends again? Or is Ari better to not have him in his life? I want them to be friends again and I think they still will be. Ari needs someone like Dante in his life even when he’s in one of his moods and Dante just sits there quietly with him. That’s a true friend, that understands what you need and when you need it.

Thank you Emily for suggesting the poem Youth, I definitely see the correlation- it’s as if Ari wrote this himself.

And Jen, thank you for sharing about your relationship with your friend that you kept in touch with; it was nice to see how just taking the time to pen a letter can change the course of a friendship.


« previous 1
back to top