Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe | Benjamin Alire Sáenz | Review

Friday, 16 June 2017


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. - Goodreads
Told from fifteen-year-old Aristotle's point of view, this book was a beautiful story of friendship, love, of figuring out who you are, of being someone you don't even realise until the last minute. Aristotle and Dante meet at the swimming pool one summer, and as Dante starts teaching Ari to swim, their friendship grows. While they're at different schools, they spend a lot of time together, hanging out at each other's homes, meeting the families, talking about how Mexican they are (or aren't).

One day, Dante announces that he has to leave with his family for a year. Ari is obviously upset by this change - he's losing his best friend, after all - but after a year away, Dante comes back. Without giving too much away, things change after a certain event occurs, and things aren't really the same after that.

“I bet you could sometimes find all the mysteries of the universe in someone's hand.”

Despite aforementioned event, the book actually has very little plot. It was more of a day-in-the-life rather than plot-focused, if that makes sense. It was the little things throughout the story that happened that really led to the ending. It seemed to me to be almost more accurate of life than a lot of young adult books these days.

We have our Divergents, and even our Paper Towns, all with big events or disasters or road trips or what have you, but I haven't read too much in the way of just teens being teens. They're literally just living their life. Nothing really happens. There's no big drama, there's no Government trying to overthrow anyone; just two boys, going through high school and navigating their way through life. It really was a beautiful thing.

It's wonderfully written, too. I actually read this in 2 sittings, the second of which I read about 80% of the book and accidentally stayed up until 1am reading it. Sáenz definitely pulls you in with his writing, and I couldn't put it down.

You can find this book and others on Anastasia's list of LGBT books to read if you're interested in books with similar themes.

Have you read Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe?

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Post author: Anjali

Anjali is a New Zealander with a love of DIY, photography, travel, Harry Potter, binge watching TV shows, and blogging over at This Splendid Shambles. Oh and books. She loves books. Her favourite genres are YA, dystopian, and fantasy.

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