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

12000020Aristotle 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.

Rating: 8/10

This book made me smile. That’s the description that comes to mind when I’m asked what I thought about this book. Simply, “It made me smile.” I feel that Sáenz created here a beautiful friendship and relationship between two loner boys who luckily find each other. It’s the kind of relationship that everyone hopes they have with someone one day. Romantic or not. Nothing could tear these two apart, and Sáenz makes that very clear.

Most of this book is written in dialogue, which would normally bother me since it is in the first-person, but I thought that this choice was key to the success of this book. One of the charming aspects of these two boys’ relationship was how they conversed with each other. There wasn’t one thing they couldn’t say. Even the often silent and closed-offed Aristotle couldn’t, in the end, keep secret his most personal thoughts and feelings from Dante. Not only does this allow Aristotle a way to get the things that have been weighing so much on his mind off of his chest, this also gives him the confidence to come forward and talk to his parents about these same issues. Aristotle’s confessions to Dante both relieves him, strengthens his relationship with his family, and teaches Aristotle that issues should me talked about, not lock away.

Throughout the book, we get to watch both of these boys grow, no just physically, but emotionally. It is a brilliant coming-of-age tale of two boys trying to find themselves through each other. In the end, they both learn a very important lesson that I believe we could all learn from. We can’t help who we love, and in the end, we need to be honest with ourselves. It was truly refreshing to read this story and watch it become so popular. It’s a story not often told. The story of two boys who fall in the kind of love that we all want to fall into. The kind filled with support, patience, and honesty. It’s a story that many people today sadly reject and sometimes find appalling, but those are the people who don’t actually know how love works. It’s mysterious, it wonderful, it’s hard, and it’s uncontrollable. Thank you, Sáenz, for writing the story that is often ignored in our society and bringing it into the dazzling light.


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