Friday, August 19, 2016

Review: 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
Series: Standalone
Published: February 21st, 2012
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
359 pages (paperback)
Genre: Contemporary YA/LGBTQ
Acquired this book: Bought
Warning: May contain spoilers
{GoodReads || Buy this book: Amazon || Chapters/Indigo}

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.

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe is one of those books that I think people will either ‘get’ and connect to or they won’t. It’s quiet and poetic and has a slow, meandering feel to it. For people looking for cute, quick romance, this is pretty much the opposite. It definitely has a cute factor, but in a different way than fluffy reads or sweet romcom type books. In place of a tradition plot, we get more of a series of events that make up Aristotle’s life. The overall effect is something beautiful and poignant that seeps into your heart and mind if you let it.

Mostly this is a book about friendship and family. I absolutely loved the boys’ families and the family dynamics we got to see. Not only were their parents present, they also play an important role in the story. There are so many books with absent parents or horrible parents, so it was refreshing to see parents who were involved in their kids’ lives, talked to them, guided them, and loved them unconditionally. The friendship between Ari and Dante was complicated; they were similar in many ways, but also different, and it made their relationship complicated at times. I thought they played really well off each other, and I enjoyed their interactions and the slow progression into something more than friendship.

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe is a book that makes you think - about life, friendship, love, family, acceptance, your purpose in the world. It’ll break your heart and heal it at the same time. It really captured the feeling of those confusing teenage years as you try to find your place in the world and discover what it all means.

Have you read Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe? What did you think? If you haven't read it, do you plan to?

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