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

I went into this book not knowing much about the plot, but oh my goodness I was not disappointed. Aristotle (Ari) is a teenage boy who has a brother in prison, a mother that wants to talk too much, and a father who does not talk enough. One hot summer day in 1989 New Meixco, Ari went to the pool not knowing how to swim, and met Dante, who not only taught him how to swim, but so many other lessons as well. Being someone who did not make friends easily, Ari was surprised by how comfortable Dante immediately made him feel. The reader gets to experience the next year of Ari and Dante’s lives and everything that goes along with transitioning from boyhood to manhood.

This book was amazing. This book was amazing. This book was amazing. I was not expecting to be able to relate to Ari and Dante in great depth because they are teenage boys and I am a fifteen year old girl, but I was pleasantly surprised by how relatable Ari was. There were so many times in the book when Ari put how I felt about life into words. In my head I was saying “Yes! That is how to describe that emotion!” Ari is also an incredibly wise teenager. Many things he said, I could hear coming from a 75 year old man.  For example, Ari describes love as feeling like a burden. I completely agree with him because of all the responsibilities that come along with someone loving you. Another big thing Ari dealt with was his father’s change in personality after fighting in Vietnam and how it affected his entire family. I could completely relate to this because of the struggles my family members had after fighting in Afghanistan.

While Ari struggled with major things, he also joked about the small problems in life. For example, tennis shoes. Yes, tennis shoes. Dante cannot stand wearing shoes and always found a new way to destroy them. Ari and Dante also have to deal with the feeling of having parents constantly nagging and bothering them, which is always relatable.

As I have already said, I LOVED THIS BOOK. It was very different from most of the books I read and I enjoyed the change. I am looking forward to reading other books by this author and cannot wait to see what else I can learn from him.


8 thoughts on “Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe – Benjamin Alire Sáenz

      • Have you read Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda? That was my first one and I absolutely loved it. Even though I haven’t read many of his books, David Levithan’s a known author to have LGBT themes in his books. And one I’m waiting on release for is More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera. It’s a debut novel that has had a lot of rave reviews by critics. A lot of my blogger friends that were able to get ARCs of it really enjoyed it. So maybe check those few out if you haven’t already!


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