Review: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz


Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Release date: 2012
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 1442408936
Pages: 359
Goodreads || Book Depository

Dante can swim. Ari can’t. Dante is articulate and self-assured. Ari has a hard time with words and suffers from self-doubt. Dante gets lost in poetry and art. Ari gets lost in thoughts of his older brother who is in prison. Dante is fair skinned. Ari’s features are much darker. It seems that a boy like Dante, with his open and unique perspective on life, would be the last person to break down the walls that Ari has built around himself.

But against all odds, when Ari and Dante meet, they develop a special bond that will teach them the most important truths of their lives, and help define the people they want to be. But there are big hurdles in their way, and only by believing in each other―and the power of their friendship―can Ari and Dante emerge stronger on the other side.

my thoughts

5 stars

I’m so mad at myself that I didn’t pick up this book sooner. This is definitely a coming of age, LGBT book that everybody needs to read.

This book tackles some very important issues about sexuality and being comfortable with and unashamed of who you are. This felt like a true coming of age story. It didn’t have much of a plot and just felt more like a teenage boy living his life and discovering himself and the importance of family and friendship. The writing in this book really drew me in and I couldn’t put the book down. This was definitely a page-turner. The writing flowed so well and had short chapters that made it a very fast read. The lengths of the chapters differed throughout the book, ranging from a single paragraph to about 10 pages, and I thought that really added to the story and made it even more powerful. The writing in this book really reminded me of The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. If you enjoyed that book, I’d definitely recommend this one.

I thought the characters in this book were perfect. I really connected with both Aristotle and Dante and I thought their friendship was so beautiful. In fact, I thought all of the relationships in this book were beautiful and inspiring. I loved how their parents interacted with them and loved them so unconditionally. That really brought tears to my eyes. I didn’t realise how much this book affected me until I started crying… but I cried not from the injustices in the book, but from the happiness.

I really do think this is a must-read book for all teens, regardless of whether you’re gay or straight. I think everybody could benefit from reading about Aristotle and Dante.


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