Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe | Benjamin Alire Sáenz | Book Review


This book, I tell you.
I found myself saying this so many times.

I didn’t realize this would be a romance novel. Well, not exactly. Kind of chick-lit? Is it okay to say chick-lit if the book has male main characters? Because the book is so much more than romance. It’s about a couple of boys (Dante and Ari, if you haven’t guessed already… and mostly Ari) who are having trouble finding their identity. So possibly spiritual? I’ve decided that it’s a mix. [EDIT: Just found out that this sort of thing is called Coming-of-Age. Cool.] And the book presented complex ideas in a very simple form. OMG wait– I know the perfect word to fit that description! You guys, I promise this wasn’t planned out, but here’s a word I’ve been in love with lately:

It is THE perfect word to describe the book. Picture found on tumblr, obviously. XD
So. I wasn’t sure what to think of Ari at first. To be honest, we didn’t know much about him. But then Dante was introduced, and I LOVED his character. Aghaghagh fangirl fangirl fangirllll. He was so unique and refreshingly honest with himself. What kind of 16-year old is “crazy about his parents”? Dante was just awesome. Ari was just as awesome, but it took him a while to realize it, with Dante’s help. And that’s what I think Dante did for him– brought out the real Ari. Ari really owed him a lot, didn’t he? Dante helped Ari see the world differently– beautifully. But then — no spoilers — he did something crazy for Dante. But I won’t talk about it because that’s one of Ari’s rules. Those sad, limiting rules that Ari forces himself to live by. That’s another thing Dante helped him do; break those rules. Sáenz once said, “[Ari] is so afraid of loving [Dante]. And Dante isn’t.”

This wasn’t a cliché LGBTQ book, where after being friends with the other a while, the MC goes, “Omg, I think I’m gay!”. No. No, that’s not Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe is Ari falling in love with Dante as a friend, so much that it crossed the border of the friend-zone, without them noticing, At least, without Ari noticing.

Another thing I wanted to talk about was how the treatment of LGBTQ’s in 1987 is sometimes not much different today. Just because you don’t agree with how someone lives their life doesn’t mean you have to abuse them, both physically and verbally. That’s kind of sad. Why can’t people just let them be? Is it hurting you? No. So leave them alone.

As for the technicalities of the book, I loved the cover.

~To conclude.~

If I had to describe this book in one word, it would be beautiful. Because it was beautiful in its own way. It was perfectly paced, to show that the little details in life are not just there to be there. They serve a purpose, like all things. I’d say this would be good for 13-14+-year-olds. This. Book. Was. Phenomenal.


*victory screech*

Thanks for reading this review!




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