Monday, August 3, 2015

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe ~ Book Review

Title: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of        the Universe

Author: Benjamin Alire Saenz

Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary

Published: February 21, 2012

Hardcover: 368 pages 

Good Reads Summary:

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.


This novel has received so much praise, love and awards. It has been on my list forever. I am trying to read more diverse books and this one is always on everyone's favorites. I cannot remember reading a single negative review about this book. 

When I started reading it, I started to panic a little. I liked the book, but it was not blowing me away. I have always heard that this was a character driven story but I think I expected there to be a stronger plot or something big to happen early in the story. But, that did not happen. I pressed on with the story worried that I was going to be the only person who did not enjoy this book.
About half way through the book something magical happened. There was a switch. The story went from a simple story to an amazing impactful story. One chapter I was just reading along and then the characters thoughts became deeper. The author's writing style is extremely simplistic. At the half way point, he maintained his simplicity but the impact of it had changed. The emotions and the thoughts of the characters were so much deeper. I loved, LOVED the letter writing in the story. Such a special touch to the book. I have so many quotes that I wrote down in my journal. So many simple, beautiful words that made this book unique. You have to read it. It is a must-read book. I borrowed this copy from the library, but I need to have a copy of this book. 

Things I ADORED about this book:  sorry I am about use the word "love" a lot!

  •  The characters. It took me a while to fall in love with Aristotle but when I did, I fell really hard for him. Aristotle is a very complex character. He is extremely introverted (which I can really relate to) and struggles with who he truly is. Dante was a shining light! I loved him instantly. Dante was outgoing and wore his heart on his sleeve. He was absolutely adorable and caring. 
  • I loved how the parents of Aris and Dante had such a central role in the story. I have never seen parents have so much dialogue in YA Fiction. It was very refreshing and I think they are parents that every kid should have. This added so much unique elements and dynamics to the story.
  • I loved the theme about everyone having their "own private wars". All the characters had their own struggles and they all dealt with them differently. 
  • The writing style. It was not poetic. It was not metaphorically written. It was just so simple but made a beautiful impact! It was pure genius. 
  • In the end, I loved that there was no huge plot line. I love when a writer can create something so beautiful from something so simple. How can such simple words hold such a high impact??
Even though I had a hard time getting into this story. It doesn't even matter. This book was so incredible. The second half was unbelievable and that ending was one of the best endings I have ever read. I could literally pick this one up and start reading it again. 

My Favorite Quotes ~ I will try my best to narrow it down. :)

"Sometimes pain was like a storm that came out of nowhere. The clearest summer morning could end in a downpour. Could end in lightning."

"We don't always make the right decisions, Ari. We do the best we can."

"...Dante's face was a map of the world. A world without any darkness."

"Words were different when they lived inside of you."

"I came to understand that my father was a careful man. To be careful with people and with words was a rare and beautiful thing."

Good Reads Rating: 

I hope you read this book. It was so special and it is going to stick with me for a very long time. Have read anything else by this author?? I am excited to read more by him! Have read this book? Are you planning to read it? I hope you are!!

Happy Reading Everyone!!


  1. I absolutely adored this book too Theresa, and completely agree with the 'switch' and how magical it felt after that. I'm a big fan of emotional contemporaries and love reading from the male perspective. I tended to enjoy Dante's point of view more, he was just so gentle and loving. Such a beautifully told story as well, so precious. So glad you loved this one too Theresa and wonderful review! <3

    1. Me too! I am a fantasy girl at heart but I love a good, emotional contemporary. I adored Dante! He was such a sweet, charming boy. I just loved reading about him. This book was incredible and it will stick with me for a long time.

  2. SO glad you loved this. I agree at first I wasn't so sure but it was beautiful. I agree that their parents played such a big role. Great review!

  3. I know! I was worried I wasn't going to join this book's fan club. But I fell in love with it! Such an amazing book! The parents were so incredible. So refreshing to see in YA!

  4. Wow! I love everything about this review. Your complete honesty helped me decided whether or not to give this book a chance. Keep up the awesome reviews👍

    1. Thank you so much! I was very worried that I was not going to love it like everyone else! I was so wrong. I added this one to my all-time favorite books. Please give this one a chance! It took me half the book to become invested. But it was so worth it. :)

  5. Wow! I love everything about this review. Your complete honesty helped me decided whether or not to give this book a chance. Keep up the awesome reviews👍

  6. Wow! I love everything about this review. Your complete honesty helped me decided whether or not to give this book a chance. Keep up the awesome reviews👍

  7. Huh. Somehow I got it into my head that this wasn't a particularly great book... but clearly, I was wrong! It sounds really beautiful - I'm adding it to my TBR now!
    Beth x

    1. Definitely give it a chance! The writing is outstanding, especially in the second half of the book. I really hope you enjoy it. :)

  8. I am glad to see that you liked this so well. I will be reading it for the Coyer Scavenger Hunt. I need a ridiculously long title and this book caught my eye awhile back.

    1. Yes! I hope you like it! :) It took me a while to become invested but I fell hard for this one! I am still in a hangover from reading it. :)