Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

November 20, 2015 | Posted by Gaby in Book Reviews | 3 Comments

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire SáenzAristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe
by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
Genres: Young Adult, Realistic Fiction, Contemporary, Romance
Publication Date: February 21st 2012 Pages: 368
Format: Paperback
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5 Stars
Source: Borrowed

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.


Where do I even begin to explain the reasons why I loved this book? This book was amazing and just what I needed right now. I’ve been hearing about this book for a while now and my best friend was pushing me to read it but I was always avoiding it, I WAS SO WRONG TO DO THAT. WHY DIDN’T I READ THIS BOOK EARLIER? I’M SO MAD AT MYSELF.

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe is a story about love, self-discovery and acceptance, growing up and about family. Benjamin Alire did a fantastic job in creating this beautiful book. The story is beautiful, cute, heartwarming and overall just so emotional. I did not just read this book, I fell in love with it. I’m in love with the story, the characters and the romance. What I love most about this whole thing is the simpleness and regularity of this book. This is a book about two 15 year old boys who become friends and together set out to discover what the world has to offer them. The book is ordinary, yet so extraordinary. I’m not sure if I’m making any sense but I hope I am. The fact that Benjamin Alire Sáenz can tell us a story as common as two boys growing up and discovering who they are in such a beautiful way blows my mind.

Another thing that I love about this book is the characters and the family dinamics. Aristotle and Dante both became real people in my mind, like I could actually picture these two boys somewhere having the conversations they had, swimming and just having fun. The characters are so beautifully written and so complex that i just love it. Aristotle is an angry boy and Dante is the complete oposite of him. While Ari doesn’t like to show emotion, Dante is so free spirited. But this is what makes them so amazing. Reading how they interact gave me life. I fell in love with Dante the minute he appeared in this book. His personality and character just made him so amazing. Also the romance in this book is fantastic and not just the main romance story but the romance of the parents as well. From time to time we would read a cutesy and romantic scene between Aristotle’s parents or Dante’s parents and I would just die of feels. Like these couples just warmed my heart. This is romance done right people! And not just the romance, I think I can honestly say that these are my favorite parental figures of all the books I’ve read. It’s so rare to get a book where we can see  good, influential, parental figures and to get 4 in this one book just makes me so happy

And last but not least I want to mention that this book is full of so many amazing quotes. For me quotes are something I adore and when a book has good quotes theres a huge chance I’m going to love it.  I firmly believe that a quote can make you want to read a book, at least in my case. So I’ll list below some of my favorite quotes from this book, just a few of the many that you can find in it.

Just in case it wasn’t clear enough, I LOVE THIS BOOK. And I recommend it to anyone who likes a good heartwarming, captivating and overall fantastic story.



“Words were different when they lived inside of you.”

“Maybe we just lived between hurting and healing.”

“But love was always something heavy for me. Something I had to carry.”

“We all fight our own private wars.”

“I wondered what that was like, to hold someone’s hand. I bet you could sometimes find all of the mysteries of the universe in someone’s hand.”

About Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Benjamin Alire Sáenz (born 16 August 1954) is an award-winning American poet, novelist and writer of children's books.

He was born at Old Picacho, New Mexico, the fourth of seven children, and was raised on a small farm near Mesilla, New Mexico. He graduated from Las Cruces High School in 1972. That fall, he entered St. Thomas Seminary in Denver, Colorado where he received a B.A. degree in Humanities and Philosophy in 1977. He studied Theology at the University of Louvain in Leuven, Belgium from 1977 to 1981. He was a priest for a few years in El Paso, Texas before leaving the order.

In 1985, he returned to school, and studied English and Creative Writing at the University of Texas at El Paso where he earned an M.A. degree in Creative Writing. He then spent a year at the University of Iowa as a PhD student in American Literature. A year later, he was awarded a Wallace E. Stegner fellowship. While at Stanford University under the guidance of Denise Levertov, he completed his first book of poems, Calendar of Dust, which won an American Book Award in 1992. He entered the Ph.D. program at Stanford and continued his studies for two more years. Before completing his Ph.D., he moved back to the border and began teaching at the University of Texas at El Paso in the bilingual MFA program.

His first novel, Carry Me Like Water was a saga that brought together the Victorian novel and the Latin American tradition of magic realism and received much critical attention.

In The Book of What Remains (Copper Canyon Press, 2010), his fifth book of poems, he writes to the core truth of life's ever-shifting memories. Set along the Mexican border, the contrast between the desert's austere beauty and the brutality of border politics mirrors humanity's capacity for both generosity and cruelty.

In 2005, he curated a show of photographs by Julian Cardona.

He continues to teach in the Creative Writing Department at the University of Texas at El Paso.

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3 responses to “Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

  1. I have heard so many amazing things about this one, Gaby. I am glad you really loved it, too! When there is a family aspect in a book I am all for it. So many books nowadays are lacking that and it’s upsetting to see that, so when it does come along, I will read that book!

    Your review has made me add this to my Christmas list 🙂

    Erica @ Novel Ink recently posted: Abby and the Cute One // Erin Butler

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