Aristotle and Dante discover the secrets of the universe | Benjamin Alire Sáenz | Book Review

Spoiler Free Review

I had never heard of this book before, perhaps because I never actively searched for books in the Young adult genre. I always felt something to be amiss or overdone in most books I’ve read in the genre.

This book was a super balanced book and just beautiful! I picked it up without reading the blurb (I realise that I do this with most books that were suggested to me!) This book was suggested by a friend of mine on my Weekly Newsletter and this book did not let me down!

Also, I judged this book based on its cover!

Title: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe
Author: Benjamin Alire Sáenz
Genre: Young Adult/LGBT/FIction
Pages: 359
Rating: 4/5
Links: Goodreads | Amazon
Image Credits: Goodreads


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.

Source: Goodreads

My Thoughts

I did not read the summary of this book and assumed based on the title that it would be a book in the magic realism genre, but Oh well! this turned out to be YA. To be fair, I’m not someone who just picks up YA books. Not that I hate them or something, but I don’t prefer to read them as well. This book was definitely one of those that turned out to be great! It was fun, a definite page-turner and a book that helps keep my hopes for YA going on.

This book is the journey of Aristotle “Ari” Mendoza and Dante Quintana who begin to discover things in their life and the secrets of the universe through books, friendships, love during their teens. This book definitely stands above cliche and does justice to the title and to the reader. This book is a respectful piece of writing on teens figuring out about LGBTQ in the 1980s in the USA when it was still Taboo!

Loved the simple fluid language, except that sometimes the dialogues seemed much too mature for seventeen-year-olds.

But these two boys definitely caught my attention and won hearts with their character, they’re own little wars that they fight, their morals and principles. One can not hate these two amazing teens.

In some sense, the descriptions were poetic and were the right balance of dialogue and descriptions which make the book a page-turner.

Even though this is not a fast-paced story, the book definitely has this weird magical power that pushes you back into the couch and keeps you hooked on! A mother’s warning breaks the spell though.

Maybe we just lived between hurting and healing.

Benjamin Alire Sáenz

What I really liked about the book: There are many things I liked, the simplicity, the fact that this YA can actually claim to be a part of this universe (as in it is embedded in truth), this doesn’t look like fantasy at all. And most of all, I fell in love with the characters. The roller-coaster of emotions while reading sure did make the experience amazing!

What I didn’t like about the book: The ending, or the series of events and the reasoning about the ending did not seem to justify the book (to me). It could very well be true, but based on the explanation given by the author it did not fit with me. But then, this is the author’s story, and I have to respect that. It just didn’t work out for me. Also, the ending was great, just the justification of it seemed a little off.

My Recommendation

If you are in for a great reading experience, a good story and an amazing time-this is your book! Just go ahead, get yourself one.

If you are looking for a book in the LGBTQ and YA genres, this could/should be somewhere in the top of the priority list.

I Would Rate it:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

With that,
More Power to you!


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Cover Pic Credits: Carousell

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