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 Sáenz

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Received: bought (and so glad I did!)
Publication date: February 21st 2012
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Genres & Themes: YA, Coming of Age, LGBT, Contemporary, Friendship, Trust, Family, Loyalty.


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.



Oh gosh, my feelings are all over the place.

It started in a very captivating way. I liked the narrator. Aristotle-nicknamed Ari-is a calm fifteen-year-old boy who prefers being alone…He doesn’t feel comfortable being around people his age but that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s a recluse. Everyone things he’s sad and lonely but, really, he doesn’t mind it.

And then he meets Dante.

Dante who made him see the world differently. Gosh, how much I loved that character. Everything about him made me think of an angel, a sweet sweet angel. I wish the world was filled with more people like Dante because this world would have been a much lovelier place.

This is really a coming of age YA novel. Even though it’s shelved as LGBT (which IS true and shelved it myself as it too), there is a good part of this story where it doesn’t feel that way. It’s mostly about friendship, family, trust, loyalty and being honest to ourselves and who we truly are. Then, comes the LGBT part and romance as well. I have to say that I throughout the story craved to see some romantic affection between Ari and Dante. There aren’t many scenes at all that show some, because Ari isn’t gay…

Or is he?

I kept wondering while reading and felt like I knew, right inside me, the answer, except that I never could have been one hundred percent sure. Gladly, we do get an answer. Actually, every answer I could have had regarding events, characters and scenes were answered and that is a big plus to the book.

The writing, at first, didn’t quite work for me to be honest. It’s a very simple style. The kind I could write myself without any problem. EXCEPT, we could actually feel as if it were really Ari’s writing and that is an exceptional thing and very a witty way of writing a story when I think of it. I do admit that sometimes I really wished we had Dante’s POV, just to know how he thinks and what’s in his mind. Wait, I do know what-or who should I say-he’s always thinking of. I just think at least one scene would have been so spectacular to have narrated by him.

It’s weird because Ari has sisters (and a brother) but we never actually really got to meet them or get to know those sisters. I don’t even remember his sisters’ names, if the narrator even told us their names in the first place. Shame because I really wanted to get to know them.

I’m so glad this story includes an animal, being the animal lover that I am. I feel like they usually bring a nice atmosphere inside a story and this one-a dog-sure did.

Also, you need to know that this is a sad story. I mean, sure, there are many cute and happy moments, but drama usually follows. Plus, with that kind of atmosphere, how could I have held back my tears?

Do I recommend this book? Like air…

Would you consider voting for this review on Goodreads, if it was helpful? 🙂

Gif source.

54 thoughts on “Review: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz

  1. I have this book on my TBR list and I really cannot wait to get to it. I love how much feels this one gives you. I want it now and I want it all. Characters sound amazing and the whole plot as well. I’m so happy you loved it. Great review, Lola 🙂


  2. I’ve read a lot of mixed reviews about this book but I’m glad you liked it and its great that the book had closure at the end – great books always do!


  3. Oh sad books always leave me in mixed thoughts, but I tend to put myself through reading them and then crying. I am glad you managed to enjoy this so much, it sounds like a great read!


  4. Okay Lola, you say it’s a sad story but does it at least end well? I can deal with a lot of darkness and sadness in a book as long as it ends on a hopeful note (preferably with no one dead) 🙂 I’ve read nothing but glowing reviews about this one, it sounds beautifully character driving and those are always my favorite kind of books!


  5. Oh what a coincidence! I recently read “Last Night I Sang to The Monster” by Benjamin Alire Sáenz as well and I loved it and was just wondering if I would like his other works – judging by your review I think I would! 🙂

    Tania |


  6. OMG! This has been on TBR like forever. This was the first LGBT book that I’ve shelved on my TBR since I am really planning to try LGBT books. I haven’t read any negative review of this one and as a matter of fact, this also came highly recommended to me. And after reading your review, I felt compelled to push this up on my TBR. Hahaha.

    I really don’t mind reading sad books as long as it’s done well. Did you cry while reading this? OMG! I am a huge crier. Even the slightest provocation would render me bawling like a baby. 😀

    Fab review!


  7. I LOVED THIS BOOK SO MUCH. IT WAS THE BEST! I had so many feels and I couldn’t put it into words because I was just a mess. And there are some amazing lines in the books as well. Seriously the whole book is quotable! Anyways, love your review Lola!!! I want to read this again even though I just read it!


  8. Okay I have to admit I only skimmed your review since this one has been on my TBR forever and when I finally make time to sit down and read it I want to go in a blindly as possible! I’m so happy you loved this one and that it touched you deeply! It’s always amazing when a book does that!


  9. I have a weakness for furry babies in books, so I’m super excited to learn that Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe features a dog. YAY! And, after your ‘like air’ recommendation, how can I not add this one to my wishlist. You’re right—I can’t! Fab review. 🙂

    OoOoH, you’re new banner is so purrty! I take it you decided to go with the kitties. 😀


  10. Still need to read this one! It’s not my usual kind of read at all, but I’m convinced I must read it because it just sounds so powerful. And I didn’t even know before now that it featured a dog and OMG that makes me SO happy!! 🙂 LOVE stories with featured animals ❤ So yeah, I need to get to this one – I think I'll move it up my tbr. Thanks for this great review!


  11. I’m so glad you enjoyed this book Lola, it’s my favourite read of 2014 so far because of the beautiful characters. Ari and Dante were so true to life and I just wanted to hug them both. The animals were lovely too, I love dogs hehe.


  12. Pingback: August Finds | Lipsyy Lost & Found

  13. Pingback: Best Young Adult Books with Mild LGBT Themes | Hit or Miss Books

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