I’m so glad that I finally got around to reading Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets to the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz. Even though it’s a YA novel and I’m not the biggest fan of that genre, I really enjoyed it and I didn’t want it to end. This was also the first LGBTQ novels I’ve read in a long time. It’s such a lovely book and if you liked The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky you’ll probably love this book too.
The description on the back of the book says: “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.”
This is a beautiful book about trying to figure out who you when you’re a teenager and how love, friendship, and family can help you along the way. It’s about being different and knowing that you’re different and trying to accept that. It’s about fear, acceptance, and facing your inner demons.
One of the things that make this book stand out is the characters. There are basically six characters in this book: Aristotle, Dante, Aristotle’s parents, and Dante’s parents. Dante is incredibly open and positive, he has a unique perspective on life and he’s forgiving and he hasn’t let the world jade him. Aristotle is the opposite of Dante, he’s a closed book, he’s pessimistic, and he has a certain type of anger and frustration brewing inside of him. Aristotle and Dante are like night and day and they go well together. I also really enjoyed the parents in this book because they come off like real people who have flaws and love their children.
Another thing that I loved about this book is all the great lines that are in it. One of my favourites was “I bet you could sometimes find all the mysteries of the universe in someone’s hand.” I love this line because I believe that you can learn a lot about a person by looking at their hands. I also believe that sometimes when you’re holding someone’s hand, things start to make sense because you realize that you’re not alone in the world.
Another line that I really appreciated was “we all fight our own private wars.” I liked this line because you really don’t know what someone is going through, people can appear to be strong on the outside while they’re falling apart on the inside. I also liked it because it reminded me of my favourite (the only one I know) Stephen King quote “Monsters are real, and ghosts are real too. They live inside us, and sometimes, they win.”
Overall, I give this book four and a half stars out of five. The reason I’m not giving it five stars is because the ending was fairly predictable. Other than that, I absolutely loved this book and I highly recommend it. It’s a quick read, it makes you think, and it makes you feel good at the end of it.
Rating -> 4.5/5 Stars!