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

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.

Song For This Book: My Immortal by Evanescence


There is a fair bit of hype going around when it comes to this book. Most of the time, the hype kills the book, because it can never be as good as it’s been made out to be.  However, this book is definitely the exception to the rule. This book is absolutely beautiful, inside and out, and worthy of every award that is printed on it’s gorgeous cover.

I went into this book not knowing a whole lot about it. Honestly, I had bought it because I am in love with the cover, and had heard some general, good things about it. It sat on my shelf for a few weeks, just because not knowing about it, it was never the next thing I was particular keen to read. Finally, I picked it up, and I fell in love within the first few chapters. Definitely one of my favourite books of this year.

The Good Points of Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe:

This book handles the LGBT subject matter in the most beautiful way. And by that, I mean that this book isn’t about being gay, and it doesn’t make a big deal out of it. Not to say it isn’t addressed or there aren’t people who are against it in the story. But it’s handled like any other romance, regardless of the gender of the characters, and that in itself made for a lovely story.

The characters in this book, both Ari and Dante and the adults, are well developed, and have lots of depth. There isn’t a whole lot of plot to this story, so it’s the characters that make it work. And they do a wonderful job of it.

I loved the focus on family in this book. When was the last time we got a young adult novel that had a strong family theme? I loved seeing how Dante and Ari interacted with their own families and with each other. And the way the secrets within the families were revealed was perfectly paced and given out just when you needed them.

The language and the writing in this book was amazing. It was one of those books that I marked with pencil and page flags, because there so many lines I wanted to be able to go back and read again and again.

The Downsides of Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe:

For the first half or so of the story, neither Ari nor Dante seemed like they were fifteen years old. Twelve maybe. They just came across as kids, and maybe that was the point. By the time the second summer comes around, they did seem to act their age and respond appropriately. It was just a little strange at the beginning.

It was a little tricky to keep track of who was speaking which lines at a few parts of the story. A few names or indicators would have made it a lot easier to keep track of who was making what statement.

All in all, I absolutely loved this book. It was a beautiful coming of age story, and I can’t wait until I am able to read it again. I highly recommend it to everyone.

Have you read this one? Let me know what you think in the comments below!


11 thoughts on “Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

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