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.