Review: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

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Book Title/Author: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
Publication Date/Publisher: February 21, 2012/Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Series: No
Source and Format: Borrowed from Library
Rating: 5 stars

From Goodreads:

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.

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“I mean, when do we start feeling like the world belongs to us?”

Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous: the cover, the writing, the story. Benjamin Alire Sáenz works some serious word magic in Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe.

“Eating menudo and hotwiring a truck are two totally different forms of art.”

I didn’t know much going in. I knew it would be about two teenage boys and their friendship, and they had these weighty names. Were they going to be the actual Aristotle and Dante as modern teenagers? I didn’t know (they aren’t).

I bet you could sometimes find all of the mysteries of the universe in someone’s hand.

Each chapter is only a few pages. I LOVE this because I like being able to put a book down without having to read 20 more pages to get to the end of the chapter, but in this case I feel like it also adds to the storytelling. Every chapter is a moment in Ari’s life: a letter from Dante, a night in the desert, a conversation with his parents, a question of his identity.

My life was still someone else’s idea.

Ari and Dante both struggle with their ideas of what it means to be a real Mexican growing up in the 1987. More than that is their struggle of what it means to be a real person at any point. They experiment with girls and drugs and drinking and their friendship.

He looked so happy and I wondered about that, his capacity for happiness. Where did that come from? Did I have that kind of happiness inside me? Was I just afraid of it?

At this point, I want to read all of Benjamin Alire Sáenz’s other books and get lost in his wonderful words.

Love was always something heavy for me. Something I had to carry.

 

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4 thoughts on “Review: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

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