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

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz
359 pages
5 Stars

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.

The story is told from Ari’s perspective. At fifteen, he’s on a self-seeking journey, dealing with his own demons and emotions. As the reader, you can see where the story is ultimately heading, but the journey was beautifully narrated.

This was a “quick” read for me. The writing wasn’t elaborate, but I considered that this is a YA novel. I wouldn’t consider this a book that gripped me, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Some of the criteria I consider when rating a book are:
Was the story well written and/or original?
Was the reading easy or difficult?
Did the story make sense and/or was it interesting?
Did I enjoy the story overall?
Was there an aspect to the story or the writing that was pleasing or irritating?
Can I relate?

I’ve found that books I can relate to on a personal level are usually some of my favorites. I saw a lot of myself in Ari, though it’s been awhile since I’ve been fifteen. One thing I did find a little annoying was the repetition in the narration and the dialogue. I did once again consider this was a book targeting a YA audience and took it to represent the teenager struggling with his emotions and inner turmoil.
If you are a reader interested in contemporary fiction or LGBTQ+ literature, I would highly recommend this book.

Thanks for reading!

-V

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