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Review: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

23 Feb

aristotle

“i ❤ falling in love w/a good book, getting lost in its words, living in a world of pure imagination.”

I tweeted that after reading a few pages of Benjamin Alire Sáenz’s “Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe” which now has made my list of favorite favorite books, which currently has 37 titles.

I wasn’t even aware of it until the American Library Association’s Youth Media Awards where it won multiple awards- the Pura Belpre (Author), the Stonewall, and as a Printz Honor Book.

Official Summary:

A lyrical novel about family and friendship from critically acclaimed author Benjamin Alire Sáenz.

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.

Immediately, I wanted to read it. Plus, I love long titles!

I literally couldn’t put the book down. I was so engrossed with the story, the characters. I wanted to know what happened next. I wanted to see how the inevitable conflicts were handled. I wanted to make sure they were in a good place when I said goodbye to them.

I wasn’t particularly in love with the ending. It’s not that it was bad, it was just a bit overdramatic. But the majority of the book was great.

It’s when you can’t stop thinking about the characters even after the last page that made “Aristotle and Dante” a favorite of mine. And, I relate when there’s an issue of identity, when the characters show actual, realistic growth. This was more than a book about being gay, though. Sáenz’s words were powerful and emotional. He put his characters in beautiful and awful situations- just like life.

After finishing this, I wondered what it was that made a book truly stand out to make it be not just a favorite book of mine but a favorite favorite. I really shouldn’t have overanalyzed because the answer was simple. It’s when I feel grateful that a book like that exists in the world and “Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe” is definitely one of those!

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