Book Reviews

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe is about two boys who meet at the pool and form the unlikeliest of bonds. Ari and Dante are very different, yet somehow their friendship just works, despite all of the hardships they go through.

This novel is very emotional. They story will have you crying and laughing, sometimes at the same time. I believe most people will relate to either Ari or Dante. So much about this story is relatable that there is something in it for everyone.

Personally I found a lot of myself in Ari, which is a little sad. However, it’s nice to know there is someone who could relate to me, even if they are a fictional character.

My Rating: 5/5

Top 7

Top 7 Romance Novels

romance-novels1) S.E.C.R.E.T by L. Marie Adeline 

The first book in a trilogy. This novel follows Cassie as she is introduced to a secret society that aims to help women become more attuned with their sexuality.

2) Beautiful Bastard by Christina Lauren 

The first book in a series. Chloe is nearing the end of her internship when a sexual relationship begins between her and her boss, Bennett. Chloe is obviously worried about how this new relationship could affect her future career.

3) Wallbanger by Alice Clayton

Also part of a series. Caroline has just moved into a fantastic new apartment only to discover that she can hear her neighbours nightly activities; with a string of women.

4) The Promise of Amazing by Robin Constantine 

Wren is the quiet good girl, Greyson was a star athlete until he gets suspended. Their paths cross when Wren saves Greyson from choking.

5) Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

Jacob jumps onto a train and inadvertently ends up with a job in the circus. He quickly ends finds himself falling for one of the performers.

6) Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe  by Benjamin Alire Saenz 

At first Aristotle and Dante seem to have little in common. However, they quickly develop a unique relationship that leads them to learning about themselves and who they want to be.

7) Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire 

Abby and Travis appear to be very different, when a bet leads them to spending a lot of time together they find themselves falling for each other.

Bookish, Musings

The Problem With High School English Classes

High School English Classes need improvementIn my experience high school English classes don’t actually teach you about the English language. They teach essay writing. How to format an essay, but only one way of formating. My school taught MLA format. Then in college my program required APA format. High school did not prepare me for formatting college essays, but my college essays were also much more relaxed, with format and grammar never being worth more than 5 or 10 marks – a very small amount.

The next paragraph will be mentioning rape.

My grade 11 class had to read The Kite RunnerIt is a great book that should be continued to be read. However the class I was in failed to have a very important discussion that should have been sparked by this book. In The Kite Runner there is a scene where an 11-year-old boy rapes another 11-year-old boy (I might be slightly off about their ages). This scene should have led to a class discussion about rape and rape culture. In my class it wasn’t really talked about, there was an unspoken understanding that what happened was wrong, but that’s it. Some of the students even found humour in it, they thought Hassan having blood on his pants from being raped was funny, something that could be joked about. These students were the boys, not all of them, but some of them. I don’t think I need to point out how problematic that was.

In grade 12 we read Heart of DarknessTo this day the only thing I’ve gotten out of that book is that they were on a boat and there are cannibals.

The selection of books students read needs improvement. Have more young adult books. Books that focus on teens, with characters that go through things that the students are probably experiencing themselves. Maybe books like Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, Thirteen Reasons Why, or Speak coupled with good discussions.

Now I’ve never understood why Shakespeare is studied in English class, and it’s always taken so seriously. Shakespeare largely wrote about teenagers doing stupid things, over-reacting, and making a lot of inappropriate jokes. They’re plays, they’re meant to be seen not read. I think Shakespeare would be much better suited to drama class. Where students can have fun with the plays, put different twist on them, pick them apart, and most importantly, actually act them out.

Every time I look back on high school I realize how much better the education system could be. Should be.