Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe: one of the most beautiful books I’ve ever read

Title: aristotle and danteAristotle 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…


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




17 thoughts on “Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe: one of the most beautiful books I’ve ever read

  1. Awww. To be honest, I have not found a single negative review for this novel – every review I’ve read were all praises of how beautiful and heartfelt it was. I can’t wait to read this myself! I don’t think I’ll settle buying an ebook… I’ll go for a hardcopy! Surely, this many positive reviews can only attest to how awesome it is! ^_^

    Faye at The Social Potato Reviews

  2. Okay. I am DEFINITELY reading this book in June! I’ve wanted to read it for a while, and each time I read a review singing its praises (ie. EVERY SINGLE REVIEW I’ve ever seen on this book), I just want to read it even more, so yeah…definitely getting onto it ASAP!

  3. Stoooop! I don’t need more books to add to my TBR but I NEED THIS SO MUCH. I love dialogue and if this is dialogue heavy then yespleaseverymuch I’m in. x) I love that it’s also diverse. Particularly if it adds in culture? I like learning about the weirdness that is other people’s normalness. (If that even makes sense. lol!)

  4. I haven’t read this book yet, but I’ve heard so many wonderful things about it!
    Plus, it won so many awards… *strokes book cover in a hopefully non-creepy manner*

  5. Okay this is the second amazing review I have read for this book and WOW I just want it in my life right now. it sounds so diverse and beautiful and if it’s worthy of hugging (that’s not weird, by the way – I do it when a book really touches me) … I NEED to read it. ASAP. Lovely review, Emily ^.^

  6. Pingback: What Happened This Month: diverse book week, TFIOS movie and so much school | The Loony Teen Writer

  7. OK, I think I’m definitely reading this one now. I’ve seen so many great reviews from everyone (literally, everyone)! I’m going to go buy it, and treasure it until I get the chance to read it. Maybe even give it some pre-hugs 🙂

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