books, review

Review: Aristotle and Dante Discover The Secrets Of The Universe



Original Release Date:

February 21st 2012

Date I Read The Book:

Jan. 19 2016

My Star Rating:

5 stars



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.

My Review:

I read this book quite a while ago so forgive me if this review isn’t comprehensive.

I really enjoyed this book, the characters were all complex and fully fleshed out (+ diversity! which is nice). Our two main characters underwent some serious character growth over the course of their friendship (mind you this book spans years, we see their summers together and apart from first meeting to *spoiler* getting together).

I also thought the adults in the book were interesting and not two-dimensional nor completely absent, both of which are rare but pleasant in a YA novel.

Despite my enjoyment of the book, this is not a little cutesy read, and it does deal with some difficult subjects. Teenagers having sex and doing (illegal) drugs is discussed, sometimes in fairly graphic detail (think like that one scene in Looking For Alaska).

So, I’d only recommend this book for older YA readers, or maybe mature 15 year olds at the youngest. I do highly recommend it though, and I feel like anyone struggling with their sexuality or just with being a teenager in general should read this book.

Bonus: Lin Manuel Miranda (Aka Hamilton creator) narrated the audiobook so… If you don’t trust my endorsement, trust his!


“Maybe we just lived between hurting and healing.” 
― Benjamin Alire Sáenz, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

“I hated being volunteered. The problem with my life was that it was someone else’s idea.” 
― Benjamin Alire Sáenz, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

“You should just sit them down and make them tell you. Make them be adults.”

“You can’t make anyone be an adult. Especially an adult.” 
― Benjamin Alire Sáenz, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

“There are worse things in the world than a boy who likes to kiss other boys.” 
― Benjamin Alire Sáenz, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

3 thoughts on “Review: Aristotle and Dante Discover The Secrets Of The Universe”

  1. This book seems interesting. I’m curious, were the characters based on the personages they are named after (Aristotle/Dante)? Or did they stand alone from those names? I mean that would be an interesting choice as well by the author.


    1. Their names are important to the story and to their friendship, but they are modern teenage boys with no relation to the philosophers they are named for.

      Whether they are meant to emulate the namesakes in anyway, I have no clue. I don’t know much of either Aristotle or Dante.

      Hope this helped!

      (You should read the book though, I don’t think you’ll regret it.)

      Liked by 1 person

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