Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

Benjamin Alire Saenz
A lyrical novel about family and friendship from critically acclaimed author Benjamin Alire Sáenz.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.

Reviews

Reviewed: 2019-02-26
My BOOK OF THE YEAR! Why? I'll tell you why.

Firstly, the introductory portion of the book put bright smiles on my face. GENUINE smiles.
Secondly, I got foggy glasses after a long time. It was this emotional.
Thirdly, I LOVED THEIR PARENTS! They were beyond normal. In an unbelievably positive way.
Fourthly, I was able to put myself perfectly into the MCs' minds. And the literary references were magnificent.
Lastly, even though I had a life and death entrance exam the very next day, I couldn't help but read it in one go. A fascinating read indeed.

I'm so glad to be able to read such a masterpiece this year. A work of art, truly.
Reviewed: 2019-01-14
UGHH THIS IS SO GOOD. I finished it in two days and it made me cry happy tears and want to fall in love.
Reviewed: 2018-09-28
4.5 stars!

What to say about a book that totally beat me up emotionally? This is just a beautiful book of discovery, acceptance and love, with every single character portrayed in such a rich and poignant way. I am just not sure what else to say. ^-^

Just a lovely read with my friend Andrew.
Reviewed: 2018-03-22
I have never shipped so hard
Reviewed: 2018-01-06
I was warned that this book would make me ugly cry, but I thought "Sure, a young adult book is going to tear me open and jump on my heart.  Sure."

Dammit, I ugly cried.

This is a strange little love story about two teenage boys who seem to be so different that you have to wonder how they are even friends. And yet it's clear that from the beginning there's something between them, some understanding that goes far beyond ordinary friendship. Ari and Dante complete each other. The love they have for each other brings their families together, and helps Ari's family to heal from the blows life has dealt them.

Their love is magical.

I listened to the audiobook which was narrated by Lin-Manuel Miranda, and he made the characters glow with life. They were so real that as angry as I was with Ari much of the time, my heart broke for him too. As frustrated as I was with his parents, I understood their inability to confront their past. And as odd as I initially found Dante's parents, I  came to love them.  These characters are fully developed, and in spite of their flaws, they are loveable. 

I'm not a huge fan of YA literature, but this book made me wonder if I haven't been too stand-offish about it.  If this is the stuff kids read these days, then I'm in.  And I'm thrilled to know that the author is writing a sequel.
Reviewed: 2017-01-02
I am not the audience for this sweet book. But that's okay. Aristotle is a lonely young man who meets Dante at the swimming pool. Both are about 15 years old when the book opens, and Dante teachers Ari how to swim. There a friendship blossoms in this coming of age novel that was very sweet.
 
In some ways the book was a it frustrating: there is no "plot" but two young Mexican-American men who discover a bit more about themselves, their bond, and the world around them. Ari is lost. He has no friends, does not back down from a fight, and is the youngest child of three much older siblings (one of whom is in jail). But that changes when he meets Dante, a sensitive artist and with whom Ari finds someone to bond with and talk to.
 
And while there is no "plot" per se (I think the majority of the book is actually dialogue, often between the two protagonists), it was interesting to read their family situations unfold, why Ari's brother was in prison, how the two handle adversities and what life throws at them. The book's structure makes it easy to pick up and put down if you can't read it all at once but if you're looking for a book that really engages you I'm not sure this is it.
 
And while I could appreciate that this book has an audience (and that it just wasn't for me), I didn't find this book as moving or profound as many found it to be. Maybe because I'm no longer a teenager (I think maybe pre-teen/teenagers could very much like this book), sometimes some of the musings in Ari's head began to rub me the wrong way. Nothing in particular, I just think that after awhile I don't care to be in the head of a teenager. 
 
Still, I think it would be a great book for a young adult and I would recommend it. There is discussion of sexuality/LGBT issues, masturbation, descriptions of a car accident, a beating and fist fight (and the injuries they left) but none in great detail. A mature 11-12 year old could probably handle the material.
 
I'm glad I read it. The news has been quite depressing of the late and it was a nice book that let me escape, if only for awhile. :)
Reviewed: 2016-12-30
This book is perfection
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