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

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RATING: 5/5

SYNOPSIS: Aristotle Mendoza has never fit in with other kids his age and prefers to be by himself, until one day at the pool he meets Dante. The two young men become close as Dante teaches Ari to swim and their relationship grows and grows as they go about discovering the secrets of the universe.

 

Honestly, I’m having a hard time writing this review because I can’t even put into words why I thought this book was so great! Sáenz has such a beautiful way with words and there are so many beautiful quotes spaced throughout the book. The language is a work of art. I think the biggest reason you all should pick up this book (if you haven’t already) is for the words that fill the pages! I love Ari and Dante, I love their relationship, I love their families, I love how they still come across as teenage boys without all the gross stuff that teenage boys sometimes say. I especially love that it doesn’t take Dante long to figure out that he’s in love with Ari, but it takes Ari forever to figure out that he’s in love with Dante. The progression of their relationship felt so natural too! A lot of books where there is some romance usually just dive right into the love stuff, but I liked that we got to see them be friends and that there were little hints that it might be something more for both of them. It was also great that Ari’s relationship with Dante had a positive effect on his relationships with other people. Before meeting Dante, Ari didn’t allow people to be his friend, but after he started to let two girls from his school into his life and while he initially rebuked their attempts at friendship, I liked how he slowly began to realize that they really were friends. I also liked that Ari had siblings that were way older than him because it colored how his parents treated him and it also gave another feeling of isolation for Ari because even though he had siblings, he could never really be close to them. There are just so many layers to this story and at the very heart this isn’t a book about love or family or friendship, this is a story about a young man figuring himself out and discovering that the universe is full of secrets, but those secrets aren’t as hard to find as you think. I just loved reading this book and I’m glad I’m not the only one who does!

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