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

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the UniverseNeed something new to read? Check out this book review by Kelli of Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

“I’d never really been very close to other people. I was pretty much a loner. I’d played basketball and baseball and done the Cub Scout thing, tried the Boy Scout thing – but I always kept my distance from the other boys. I never felt like I was a part of their world.”

This is a realistic fiction book aimed at ages 14+ and is about two fifteen-year-old boys, Aristotle and Dante. One is often angry and with a bad case of melancholy, while the other is happy and a bit of a know-it-all. Both are loners, without any real friends, until the day Dante offers to help Aristotle learn to swim. Then both of their worlds are changed. Although it is a bumpy ride, and at times it seems they are going in different directions, their friendship deepens.

Themes: 

  • Coming of age
  • Gay teenagers
  • Mexican Americans
  • Male friendship
  • Family

Awards:

  • 2013 Stonewall Book Award
  • 2013 Lambda Literary Award
  • 2013 Michael L. Printz Award
  • 2013 Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award
  • 2013 Pura Belpré Narrative Medal

Kelli’s Thoughts:

There are not many books that I have enjoyed reading more than this one! The writing style was relaxed, the dialogue wasn’t forced, and the characters were easy to relate to (even though I’m neither fifteen years old nor a boy!)

The story of male friendship was beautifully captured. Yes, this is a love story, but it is not a typical love story in any way. It highlights the simplicity of what love really is – deep caring and enjoyment of another. As the story progresses, the changes in character are seen not just from Aristotle, but also his parents and their family dynamics. We see that changes are possible, when you start from love and an openness to communicate with each other.

If this book sounds like a book for you, then check it out today! Need more recommendations? Here is a list of similar reads on Goodreads created by other readers!

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