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

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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.

I borrowed the description from Amazon, because it sums it up pretty well. This is about two lonely teens who become best friends, and they struggle together to get through ideas of identity, growing older, and sexuality. They commiserate over being Mexican-American, confusing parents, and not understanding other people. I did really enjoy Ari’s relationship with his mom, and his tendency to push other people away even with a joke in his voice. Dante is sweet, and open. He has a great relationship with basically everyone he meets, he reads poetry, he loves art.

There’s not much more that I can say – it’s a novel about two teens trying to find themselves. But it’s beautifully written, and I highly suggest it. I bought this back in October and I can’t believe it took me this long to read it.

“We sat, drinking out tea and watching the rain fall on his front porch. The sky was almost black and then it started hailing. It was so beautiful and scary, I wondered about the science of storms and how sometimes it seemed that a storm wanted to break the world and how the world refused to break.”

This is a perfect summer read – engaging, charming, and atmospheric. I absolutely sunk into this story, and was sad when it was over. I think Ari and Dante are characters that will stay with me for a while.

Sarah Says: 4 stars

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2 comments

  1. I did like this book, but I wasn’t sure there needed to be so many CLIMACTIC EVENTS all the time in which the characters could prove their feelings about each other in times of difficulty. The developing relationship between Aristotle and Dante was super lovely however.

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    1. There were lots of “climactic event” moments, but I tried to ignore that because it seems kind of common for YA books these days. Every little thing that happens to a teen is a BIG thing.

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