Title: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe
Author: Benjamin Alire Saenz
Genre: YA contemporary
Length: 359 pages
Published by: Simon and Schuster
Source: received in exchange for review (THANKS SO MUCH, Simon and Schuster!)
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.
So I requested this from Simon and Schuster specifically to use for Diverse Book Week – because when I put out a call on Twitter, a BUNCH of people recommended this.
You were all right. I love this book to pieces.
First of all…
WHY IS IT DIVERSE?
First and foremost, Aristotle isn’t white (hallelujah! Us pasty white people get boring sometimes). He’s Mexican, and so is Dante, although Dante apparently has lighter features. But yeah, they’re both from non-Anglo backgrounds, and that’s really cool. I loved learning bits and pieces about their culture.
And there’s another aspect of diversity, although I won’t say much because you should read it to find out. I’ll just say there’s diversity in sexuality and zip my lips, otherwise I’ll end up spoiling something.
Everything about this book is beautiful. There are lines that I read about ten times over, just because they were so incredible. I won’t include any of them here because it is my firm belief that you all need to experience this book for yourselves. But trust me – they’re awesome. Some books you power through, reading them so fast because you have to know what happens. This book is not like that – it’s one I savoured, turning the pages slowly, actually hugging it at one point (not weird at all) because I just wanted the story to keep going.
I loved the dialogue. It’s not for everyone – there are very little dialogue tags, and whole scenes are taken up just by dialogue, a line at a time, by Aristotle and Dante. I loved it.
I loved the chapters. They were really short, just fragments of life.
I loved the pacing. It’s not fast pacing so much as fast motion – like I said, fragments of their stories told in short scenes, progressing through the most important years during Aristotle and Dante’s adolescence. It was perfect.
I loved the friendship. Very rarely are there male friendships in YA books – that’s one of the things I loved about Dead Ends by Erin Lange. Throughout the novel they grew as characters, and that progression was really lovely to see. They’re such different characters, and they often had different ideas. They argued frequently, and I was scared they wouldn’t make it through. A friendship like that, though…well, it’s pretty impossible to break.
The ending was incredible. I just…I CAN’T EVEN, guys. When I finished, I put the book down and thought about it for the rest of the day.
I’m SO happy this is the last book review of Diverse Book Week, because it’s by far my favourite out of the three I’ve reviewed. We don’t just need diverse books – we need diverse books that are AMAZINGLY written. Like this one. It made me sad, and angry in parts, but at the end, it just made me happy.
It’s quite nice to recommend a book that makes you happy.
I advise each and every one of you to read this book. It is incredible.
Rating: 5/5 Wonderkitties