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

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Two very different boys meet one day at the pool during summer. As they get to know the other better, they spend more and more time together, and form a friendship. Through this, they start to realize who they are, and who they want to be. Dante soon forms feelings more than friendship for Ari, but Ari isn’t exactly ready to say he’s fallen for his friend.


Why this book?: This is a very well-know LGBT+ book that I’ve heard a lot about. With nothing else to read and this sitting on the library’s shelf . . . why not?

A ‘something out of nothing’ feeling

In all honesty, despite the hype, I wasn’t expecting anything mind-blowing when I decided to finally read Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. But that’s exactly what had happened.

When I read this book, I still had the mentality that books had to have a set type of plot over-coming some sort of obvious challenge. Except, this book doesn’t really do that. And, at first, I felt like I was tossed into the deep end with no warning. Instead of relying on the plot, Sáenz focused more on the characters, whom I related to immensely. I understood how Ari felt-not knowing who he was and feeling like everything was going wrong. But at the same time, I felt like Dante, being the small, bookish kid that barely anyone likes.

It was something new for me, at the time. Relying more on the characters rather than the plot. But I quickly learned how it worked, and got very invested with the characters and their feelings.

Bubbly and enthralling writing

That’s the only way I know how to describe Sáenz’s writing. Bubbly. It’s so full of emotion that it was affecting my mood too-crying when they were crying, laughing when they were laughing. There were lulls and dips, where things would go mellow-and then it would jump back up, joyous and happy.

This was my first LGBT+ book. For some reason, despite my love for books, I wasn’t aware that there were a hell of a lot of books with LGBT+ characters. I probably hadn’t picked them up because they were contemporary, but soon enough I got over that bump in the road. This book opened a lot for me, revealing a whole ‘nother group of books I can read, and continue to feel comfortable.

Final Rating: ★★★★★

Overall?

This book is so beautifully amazing, I read it all in one day. The characters were just so real and I invested so much that I couldn’t sleep without knowing the end. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, will always be one of my favorites.

Would I Recommend?

Yes. 100%. The message in this book is necessary and this book is ripe with representation. I realize this is already everyone’s go-to LGBT+ recommendation, but just add my name to that list, okay?


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Additional Information:

Published: February 12, 2012

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Page Count: 359

Genre: Contemporary/Romance/Realistic Fiction

Synopsis: via Goodreads

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.

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4 thoughts on “Review: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe – Benjamin Alire Sáenz

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