Gwen & Kate's Library

Two sisters' reviews of Young Adult and Middle Grade books, inspired by their lovely library.

Gwen’s Thoughts on Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe is a super sweet story about life and how to survive and understand it. Thank you so much Lydia for the recommendation! 

12000020

Series: None

Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary Fiction, Romance, LGBT

Format: Audiobook, narrated by Lin-Manuel Miranda

Rating: 4 stars

Description:

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.

Review:

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe is a super sweet story about life and how to survive and understand it. Thank you so much Lydia for the recommendation!

Life really is the best way to describe this book, since it talks about so many themes necessary for teenagers to understand, including race, sexuality, anger, emotions, personalities, friendships, etc. However, I loved that despite addressing all of these issues in very neat ways, they aren’t all directly discussed, merely revealed slowly through the themes and plot of the book all wrapped up in a fantastic story.

There were a few parts of this book that seemed a little strange to me, however. First of all, Dante and Ari become good friends over the period of one summer, then Dante departs for a year in Chicago. While he is gone, Dante, being the talkative, social character his is (he kind of reminds me of myself in that way), sends numerous lengthy letters to Ari, who responds briefly to a few of them. But this year is very quickly brushed past in the overall plot, and seems to jump ahead to the following summer and resume the friendship where it was left off. I know from experience that friendships, no matter how good they are, are very hard to leave and pick up again after a year with little trouble.

In addition, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe is known for its portrayal of two boys falling love with each other in a very innocent and pure fashion. While this certainly could describe Dante’s feelings toward Ari, which he is very frank about, the way Ari stumbles upon this romance seemed very strange to me. Essentially, he is sat down by his parents, who inform him that he is gay and in love with Dante. The book is narrated from Ari’s perspective, and before this, none of his own thoughts or actions led the reader to believe that this was completely true (while it is hinted at that this is what is happening, Ari himself never acknowledges it), and it seemed a strange way to “come out.” However, I know little about this topic and I’m sure everyone’s experiences are different.

There really isn’t much more I can say about this book. It would definitely appeal to lovers of John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars, and might even get the same reaction (lots and lots of happy/sad tears) out of them at the end! I’m passing on the recommendation my friend Lydia gave to me, and encouraging all to try out Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe!

This book counts for the School YA Bingo Challenge (In the category of “A Book with an Epic Love Story”). 

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7 comments on “Gwen’s Thoughts on Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

  1. booksoverpeople
    January 25, 2015

    One of my favorites!

    • gwenkate
      January 25, 2015

      You are not the only one! ~Gwen

  2. hermionefowl
    January 26, 2015

    I really want to read this! Although it does sound a little odd, I think I’ll just tell them off and carry on :-)

    • gwenkate
      January 26, 2015

      Haha yes — and you should read this, even if it is just to find out what really happens! ~Gwen

  3. bobandkilehgotoalaska
    January 26, 2015

    I’ve been really enjoying your reviews lately. Even though I don’t read YA books they sound fun.

  4. Pingback: School YA Bingo Challenge: BINGO!! (#1) | Gwen & Kate's Library

  5. Pingback: School YA Bingo Challenge FINALE!! | Gwen & Kate's Library

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