Wednesday, July 22, 2015

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

Title: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

Release Date: February 21. 2012

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

Pages: 368

Received: Purchased

Star Rating: ★ ★ ★  

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. [goodreads]

My Thoughts

It has been a long time coming with this one. This book truly haunted me in my every day life! It was at my school library, indie book shop, and a new person reading it every day. This time frame of reading it now following the Supreme Court legalizing gay marriage was great timing. I actually should have picked this up before, but my excuses are catching up to me. To be completely honest, I went into this with large expectations (which can be bad or good, I don't recommend it) and I was left satisfied, but there wasn't that "wow factor" for me. I love to relish in the few, but good amount of diverse books in YA. I do believe this book deserves the high praise it received.

Aristotle "Ari" is a teen who believes his life is dull, but Dante believes he's one of the most interesting people he has met. This story revolves around their friendship, family, and issues in society. It is set in the late 80's ish, but in a way could be applied to the 21st century. At times, it was uneventful and life goes on with routines. But friendship was everywhere if you looked hard enough. Ari and Dante's friendship was obviously something more in the end, but it gets complicated and sometimes love is complicated. I think they've both done so much for each other, that they are not even realizing how much they sacrifice.

The characters and their families are also Mexican and live in Arizona. So at times it was Mexican oriented. I haven't read a good amount of Latino oriented novels and they are almost usually forgotten. We get to read these parents who are not completely adults, who are well rounded, who are cautiously strict, who are real parents. The author really drove family themes up and down the novel. Every family has its ups and downs, but we all do what's best for each other. I couldn't be happier. 

My reviews aren't very heavily full of spoilers, there shouldn't really be any unless stated otherwise. But there contains homophobia and extreme circumstances with cross dressers to say the least. It wasn't transphobia, but that is a whole different subject for another blog post. I'm just trying to say even though you can marry whomever you love in any state, that doesn't mean homophobia or biophobia are diminished. They still exist and it's still problematic, but we are on the rise in a great generation. 

This novel holds many secrets of people (and sometimes the universe). Love, friendship, and family makes you do things, you've never signed up for. I can testify to that.



  1. Hi, Marcey. I'm glad you liked it since this book is so close to my heart. I also really love the parents in this book because they are just so real and also really Mexican if that makes sense. I just wanted to let you know that Ari actually lives in El Paso, Texas.

    1. Hey Laura!! I don't know where I got Arizona from...thanks!! I'll fix it later. And yes!!! Parents rock.


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