Two YA books I recently finished that I would absolutely recommend to anyone looking for a nice, summer read. 

The Year of Secret Assignments (Ashbury/Brookfield #2) by Jaclyn Moriarty

Also Known As: “Finding Cassie Crazy”

​Cassie, Lydia and Emily are best friends and attend Ashbury, a private school in Australia. As part of their English class assignment, they write a letter to someone at their problematic rival school, Brookfield. Matthew, Sebastian and Charlie, are the boys that write back. Through their letters, notes, emails, etc., we get to know each character.
I was confused for a quick second in the beginning. Page 1. I didn’t realize Lydia was writing in a kind of self-help book and not taking it seriously. Once I got over my initial confusion, I was able to engage with the story. And what a lovely story it is.

The girl’s each have a distinct personality that is visible in their letters. I loved their loyalty to one another. How they rally around one another when problems occur. There is absolutely zero drama between them. It is a real, and honest friendship.

There is some romance. It is a YA after all. But it’s not perfect. When is it ever, in real life? It’s sweet though. Because they get to know each other through their letters first before meeting in person. 

A smile was permanently plastered on my face throughout this read. It is the second book in a series, something I didn’t realize when I bought it (See: Book Haul #1). It works great as a standalone though. As I was able to understand everything going on without having read any of the other books in the series.

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

Is it possible to fall in love with a book? Because I think I just did. This is such a beautiful coming of age story. It was simple, yet so profound. 

When I saw that the audiobook was narrated by Lin-Manuel Miranda I knew I had to bump this book all the way up my TBR. Absolutely no regrets. I enjoyed listening to this book. And I enjoyed the irony of Ari not wanting to know anything about Alexander Hamilton haha 😉

Aristotle and Dante meet one summer and quickly become friends. They hang out, they fight, they grow and they love. And their parents are actually loving people. Something so incredibly rare in YA novels. 

An incredibly refreshing read that doesn’t fall into all of the usual YA tropes. Ari and Dante are Mexican-American! Do you know how incredibly rare it is to find Latino representation in YA novels? Let alone 2 protagonists? And they’re gay? What?! Unfathomable! 

This is an important read. That’s for sure. I think it addresses machismo in a subtle way. I am in awe. 

Can’t wait for book #2!! 😀 Meanwhile, I’m going to go listen to La Bamba. Love that song too, Ari! 

16 thoughts on “Mini Reviews: The Year of Secret Assignments / Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

  1. GREAT reviews, I already have Aristotle and Dante on my TBR and never heard of Secret assignments before so I just added it after reading this. Although, I do disagree about the no drama thing, life is a long time, there will be some drama eventually.

    Liked by 1 person

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