I picked this audio book out because the cover looked familiar and it was available from my library. That is it. I did not read any information up, didn’t read the jacket, nothing. Picked it out because of that.
And I must say, I did enjoy it.
Written by Benjamin Alire Saenz (yes, that is the correct spelling) this novel follows two boys, Ari and Dante, as they grow into men as Mexican-Americans in El Paso in the 80s.
What I enjoyed: the writing style, the voice, and the reader for this audio book. This book pulled me in and kept me interested in how Ari thought, what he would do, and where this would go.
What I did not enjoy: this novel was completely predictable in its plot. Yup. As soon as the boys meet, I was afraid that this novel would not be unique. It was in the writing style, but not the plot.
Okay, so, this novel is good for those who love S.H.Hinton and novel similar to hers. Novels about boys growing up to be men.
Now, SPOILERS BE BELOW. DO NOT SCROLL.
What I didn’t like the most? The fact that, instead of this novel being a story of two boys who grow up side by side and are the sincerest, best of friends, and just that, this is a novel about two boys who love each other as more than friends, and is about the main character discovering this about himself.
I rather hate this aspect. Not because they are gay, but because I wanted this novel to be about FRIENDSHIP, about all the different kinds of love there are other than romantic. I wanted a novel that could show that you can love someone like that without developing feelings like that. That, as a GOOD PERSON, some will risk their lives without thinking about it. That some people are just heroes without needing a reason more than “you are my friend.”
But, this is a young adult novel. We live in a time where friendships are never just friendships. There must always be more to it. We must have our literature riddled with acceptance for everyone while leaving aspects of our real lives out of the equation.
That doesn’t make this a bad book. This is a good book. this is a great book. This is a book I stayed up late at night, under the stars, listening to. This is a good book for people to read and understand so many things. But, this book probably wouldn’t be a good book if you are questioning your sexuality. This isn’t a “how to determine if you are gay” book. This is a story of a boy who became a man. I just have a problem that, I think, this book would have been better if it was about friendship. If it had been different.
Still recommend this book to those who are not afraid of reading about this subject. It isn’t disgusting. It isn’t dirty. It can be a good way to understand a different point of view.
I just wanted more.