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.