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

12000020Aristotle 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.

HR sealofapprovalOverall:
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.

7 comments on “Book Review: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

  1. Christa says:

    I loved this book! Especially their families. I think it was so important that they were such an influential part of their lives.

    • wordyhughes says:

      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 🙂

  2. lab1990 says:

    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.


  3. fakesteph says:

    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!

  4. 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!

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