Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe
by Benjamin Alire Saenz
Published by: Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers
Form: Purchased Hardback
Big Themes: Identity, Growing Up, Friendship, Family, LBGT
Recommended for: Ages 14 and up (for language, alcohol use, and violence)
Ari doesn’t really have any friends. He has a mom who is a teacher, a dad who won’t open up, and a brother in prison that no one will talk about. One summer at the pool, a boy named Dante offers to teach him how to swim, and from that point on, Ari’s life will never be the same.
What I Loved:
Characterization: Both Ari and Dante are characters I fell in love with. I’m not one for realistic fiction, but what I’m learning is: if the author pulls off great characters, then bring on the realism.
Imagery: Some of the imagery was poignant and lovely. Particularly, around one pivotal scene involving rain. I would give examples, but I had to loan this book to a friend. So if you want some beautiful imagery, you’ll just have to go read it for yourself.
Diversity: If you’re looking for diverse books, this is a must read. (Hispanic and LBGT)
Family: Probably one of my favorite aspects of this book were Dante and Ari’s families. If you want a book full of loving, supportive parents, who are real, flawed, but beautiful individuals–this is your book.
Five big shining stars. This book will leave you feeling warm and fuzzy. I am so happy that such a book exists. If you are hesitant to read LBGT titles, I highly recommend this one as your first. It’s a beautiful story, rooted in friendship and family. I recommend it so highly that I’m giving it the Hughes Reviews Seal of Approval. And bonus points for a gorgeous cover.
I loved this book! Especially their families. I think it was so important that they were such an influential part of their lives.
Yes! The families were WONDERFUL! I’ve been having really good luck with finding YA with great portrayals of families lately. Sarah Dessen does great family dynamics too 🙂
This definitely has a great cover. I love when YA books focus on family, and I’m actually a big fan of LGBT novels. I do hope to read this soon.
I hope you get a chance to read it soon because it was truly wonderful 🙂
This wasn’t even on my radar, but now I feel like I HAVE to read it. Ah! And you’re right, the cover is gorgeous!
A lot of librarians were talking about this one and gushing over it! Yay librarians!
I know a ton of people loved this one, but I wasn’t really aware of why exactly until I read your review (I guess I had been living under a rock!). And holy! How AMAZING does this sound?? If I were to go just on the cover and themes, I would have thought this one might be a tough read emotionally, but I am thrilled to read that this one gave you warm fuzzies!! 😀 Okay, okay, MUST read this one now!