Thursday, February 4, 2016

Review: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

12000020Title: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe
Author: Benjamin Alire Sáenz
Number of Pages: 359 (HB)
Date of Publication: February 21, 2012
Publisher: Simon & 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.


In my opinion, the story was built by a simplistic manner. The tone was nonchalant to incessant, and the mood was generally calm and "gray". The book begins with Aristotle's youth. He was a loner then. He had no friends, he didn't feel his sisters' compassion, and he was mystified by his father. His mother....well she loved him truly. I thought that the atmosphere in the story was a bit depressing, but things lightened up as the plot progressed, especially when Dante entered the frame. Dante immediately became Ari's friend, and they seemed to magnetize towards each other, always together in doing things. For the first time, Aristotle had a true friend.

I can keep going on and on about how the story progressed and still find other ways of expressing my feelings about this book. In all honesty, I really loved how melodramatic everything seemed from my point of view, and things escalated quickly enough at the end to have me clutching at my emotions because of the writing employed. Ugh. Benjamin Alire Saenz, you are a miracle.

Ari's character development in the story really helped me figure out how this book was going to turn out. I mean, yes, there are a hell lot of other factors but what really stuck to me was Ari's background and the things he went through. I'm going to be blunt, there were some times that I got a bit bored, but those were overcome by the intense moments in the plot. There were scenes that might seem boring at first, but would actually contribute to the story in a profound way.

Of course, let's not forget Dante. He himself underwent a great deal of change relative to his personality and outlook in life. And the emotional stresses that he surpassed were also enlightening. The way Aristotle and Dante had somehow always managed to find a way to maintain their connection as friends profoundly astounded me.

This book tells us about how people can start as strangers and actually end up as.... well, read to find out. Aristotle And Dante Discover The Secrets of The Universe is on my highly-recommended list. The setting, characters, and POV all in all consist of this wonderful work full of emotions and friendship. It connected to me right away, leaving a personal and sentimental mark that will forever be on my mind. This is definitely worth re-reading.


Because of the astounding way in which the entire development of all characters was laid out perfectly, I am giving this book four grenades!

About the Author

Benjamin Alire Sáenz (born 16 August 1954) is an award-winning American poet, novelist and writer of children's books.

He was born at Old Picacho, New Mexico, the fourth of seven children, and was raised on a small farm near Mesilla, New Mexico. He graduated from Las Cruces High School in 1972. That fall, he entered St. Thomas Seminary in Denver, Colorado where he received a B.A. degree in Humanities and Philosophy in 1977. He studied Theology at the University of Louvain in Leuven, Belgium from 1977 to 1981. He was a priest for a few years in El Paso, Texas before leaving the order.


  1. I'm glad you liked this one! I've been wanting to read it for a while.
    Krystianna @ Downright Dystopian

    1. YAS! It's full of feels. Hope you like it too! :)