Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe
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Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

4.27 of 5 stars 4.27  ·  rating details  ·  15,929 ratings  ·  3,088 reviews
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 shar...more
Hardcover, 359 pages
Published February 21st 2012 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
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1. Obtain a copy of Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe.

2. Read the book.

3. Fall in love. Fall in love with the writing, the characters, everything. Read past midnight, read in school, read everywhere and all the time. Slam the book shut and whisper-scream oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh. At the end of the book, allow a single tear to run down your right cheek and say a silent prayer of thanks for the fact that you are able to read at all.

This book was so so beautiful.

In actuality, it doesn't have a "plot". Not a main story or event that the characters center around. It's about a boy. It's a story about a boy who is sad and angry and can't figure out why. It's about him trying to love himself and others. It's about the teenage condition and mentality.

Let's talk about why I loved it. Mainly, I loved the mood and tone. It made me feel mellow and warm. I liked that it was slow paced, that it felt like real life with small but import...more
i really thought this was going to be a slam-dunk of a book. all those prestigious awards and recognitions, a gay coming-of-age story that got the coveted dana stamp of approval, that cover….

and it is not a bad book, not by a long shot; i definitely enjoyed reading it. it just doesn't transcend its YA status like so many YA books do. this is an excellent book for its audience, but for me, it doesn't have that crossover appeal that so many recent YA titles have had.

it gets points for featuring a...more
Do you remember the feeling you get when you watch the sun rise or set?

Do you remember the feeling you get when you're so happy that you felt like flying?

Do you remember the feeling you get when you're so sad and alone that you felt like curling yourself into a ball and wishing you never had to move on?

Do you remember the feeling you get when you're so mad that you don't know why your mad?

Do you remember the feeling you get when you wished you knew the mysteries of life?

Well, this book brought u...more
All the Secrets of the Universe
Through all of youth I was looking for you
without knowing what I was looking for

— W.S. Merwin

The Book Smugglers , a book review blog, wrote this review, and I quoted ...

"I think the best thing I can say about the book is how I can see Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe as a book that can be picked for a lit class to be dissected for its craft and examined for its themes BUT only after the reader is able to recover from becoming a blubbering me...more

Posted at Shelf Inflicted

I really loved Last Night I Sang to the Monster. It was sad, beautiful and powerful. It moved me deeply, making me cry buckets, shredding my heart to pieces and putting it all back together. I’m not really a crier. If a story has the kind of power to turn me inside out, then I want more.

So you can imagine how thrilled I was to finally get a copy of Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe from the library. The cover is gorgeous and infused with meaning....more

”We all fight our own private wars.”

Secrets. Some secrets and truths in life we discover and share along the way. Others we hold close. But there are some things that should not be kept in and hidden away. Who we are in life. Who we want to be. Who we want to love should never be hidden. These are secrets Dante and Aristotle learn along their journey to manhood.

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz is a beautiful book. Simple. Pure. Powerful. Poetic. My...more
Raeleen Lemay
"The problem with my life was that it was someone else’s idea."

It’s funny how just the other day I was talking about writing craft, the combination of skill and care that is so important when putting together a story and how certain books unfortunately fail in every conceivable way.

It is possible that Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe is the antithesis to every single terrible book I’ve read lately. In fact, Aristotle and Dante is the kind of book that gives me hope that...more
Such an amazing story about love, identity, and family. I really feel everyone should read this book.
Aug 08, 2012 Catie rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Catie by: Malinda Lo
Shelves: read-in-2012, romance, ya, lgbt
I have so many books to review, but I wanted to make sure to write something about this one because it was my favorite of all the books I read on vacation. I wasn’t sure about Benjamin Alire Sáenz. Earlier this year, I read the beginning of, and subsequently gave up on, Last Night I Sang to the Monster . There was something about the writing or the main character that put me off. So I was a little worried about this one, but with all of the great reviews it’s received so far, I just had to give...more
Maja (The Nocturnal Library)
No matter how many books I review, I so rarely describe them as beautiful, and yet, when I started thinking about Aristotle and Dante, beautiful was the only word that pushed itself to the forefront of my mind. It is a gorgeously written, warm little book that would melt even the most hardened of hearts. The second I finished it, I found myself torn between the need to celebrate it rather loudly, and the odd desire to keep it jealously to myself. Alas, with the well-deserved Printz medal on its...more
(some spoilers sorry!)
I love love love this book!!! Here's the funny part half way through I returned my book to the library because I thought the book was just another Bromance-that-doesn't-lead-to-romance but I was wrong. There are so many things I loved about this book, I loved that at first I could not tell it was a gay book even though the bromance was extreme I really couldn't tell and I didn't know for sure Dante was gay until half way through the book. And I had no idea Ari was gay until...more
There aren't enough words.
Jesus Christ but the adults in this book are just unbelievably well-adjusted.

Holy shit.

I mean, I’m not saying I was expecting “Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe and Shortly Thereafter Dante is Tragically Beaten To Death with a Tire Iron by Men Who Fear What They Don’t Understand and Dammit Dante, Aristotle Wishes He Knew How To Quit You,” but neither was I expecting this:


Ari, the problem isn’t just that Dante’s in love with you. The real problem—for you, anyw...more
Having thoroughly enjoyed the author's writing style in Last Night I Sang to the Monster, I had very high expectations for Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe , especially given that I've heard nothing but raves about it.
The title and cover has caught my eye immediately. Its cover features, without doubt, one of the most stunning artworks ever to grace a book jacket. So pretty and unique - I could literally stare at it forever. Also, the truck on it foreshadowed some kind o...more
Rating: 4.5 Stars

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe is a quiet novel, slow to begin and often meandering, but beautiful. Saenz's writing is lush and gorgeous, capturing the complexity of adolescence and depicting an immigrant household in a realistic manner. Ari and Dante both experience inner dilemmas in reconciling their Mexican backgrounds with their American lifestyle and, moreover, with the stereotypes and stigmas they face in the world at large. Saenz is one of the fe...more

I am not exactly fond of "Coming Of Age" novels. Usually I end up hating them, so after two or three I just stopped trying... When I picked this book, I had no idea about the genre, the plot, I didn't know a thing.
Actually, I just liked the cover.

Yeah. The cover made me read this book. I was sitting in my train to university, roaming over my list of books and then stumbled over this one, remembered the mesmerising cover and decided to just give it a chance.
I ended up missing half of the thing...more
"Ari, Ari, Ari. You're fighting this war in the worst possible way"
"I don't know how to fight it, Dad."
"You should ask for help," he said
"I don't know how to do that either."

(that was pretty much me...)
Ellen Hopkins
This book speaks to the heart of humanity. Poetic. Beautiful .
Kim  *Mo Chridhe*
This is the one time that I'll encourage you to judge a book by it's cover. Look at it. From the author's name, to the title, to the illustration and the calligraphy - everything just screams beautiful.

Then this dedication:
To all the boys who've had to learn to play by different rules.

And this preface:
Why do we smile? Why do we laugh? Why do we feel alone? Why are we sad and confused? Why do we read poetry? Why do we cry when we see a painting? Why is there a riot in the heart when we love? W...more
I really loved this book. The writing was amazing, and I found myself quickly enthralled. The characters are vivid, blanced, and real. They felt like real teenagers to me with all of their hopes, and their fears, and their dreams. I really enjoyed getting to know Dante. His growth, and development over the course of the story was a pleasure to read. I love the balance between him, and Aristotle. The differences in their personality, and views on the world made thier friendship that much richer....more
First of all: many, many thanks to my wonderful friend the scarecrow for gifting me a copy of this book, along with The Cuckoo's Calling! Go check out her reviews. They're hilarious, eloquent, and I now have a 'to-read' list as long as my arm. :)

How refreshing it is to just settle down with a book, and for once, not be transported to some faraway world where fantasy rules, but to where the most important focus of the story is friendship. Yes, I am aware that last sentence was simply dripping wit...more
Beautiful even with all the sad that's in it. Or is it beautiful because of the same?

It's sad, he's sad, in fact, most everyone in this is. All those questions, some of those feelings? It's one of those books that slowed me down, I'd normally go through something like this quickly (it isn't such a thick book, right?) but all those feels had me slowing down; a fact that has me coming away from this with a clearer picture of both boys and their families.

Aristotle, at first there was this disconne...more
Sean Kennedy
A keeper. POC main characters, some really nice understated character moments (and some highly dramatic ones). The only strange thing is setting it in 1987 - the height of the fear of AIDS and yet it never came into the story. Yes, the characters are teenagers, but the spectre of AIDS and the hysteria around it would surely affect the mindset of two closeted boys who are trying to find their place in the world. Still, that is about the only fault I can really find in the book.

Aaaaack! goodreads just ate my review.
2.5 star read but rounded up to 3 stars.

This is a good book about friendship between two boys.
And, then.

(view spoiler)...more
So this is where I curse my limitations in writing, throw a bunch of adjectives up in the air and hope some of them stick.:)
These boys.....Ari and Dante...are so beautiful, so innocent yet wise in their quest for meaning and self-discovery. Their friendship and love is luminescent. These boys are sweet and mouthy and questioning and goofy and I delighted in every single word of their story.

Dante and Ari are only barely sixteen but unlike most coming of age stories, there is very little cliché h...more
Scott Robins
Absolutely breathtaking and beautiful. Hands down, one of THE best LGBTQ YA novels ever written.
"Why do we smile? Why do we laugh? Why do we feel alone? Why are we sad and confused? Why do we read poetry? Why do we cry when we see a painting? Why is there a riot in the heart when we love? Why do we feel shame? What is that thing in the pit of your stomach called desire? "
These are the secrets of the universe.Simple questions like these.
"Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe" is the title of this exact book.And what a beautiful title it is.When I first found out about t...more
Ari has always felt lonely; adrift in a universe that he can’t grasp, unable to understand how to simply just be. He can hide his feelings so well they become too hard to translate. Then there is Dante; vociferous, self-assured and open Dante. When they meet at the local pool and Dante offers to teach Ari how to swim, they develop a friendship and set out together on a path to open up each other’s worlds.

This quietly beautiful book spoke to me in a way that only a handful of books ever have. It’...more
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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 Humaniti...more
More about Benjamin Alire Sáenz...
Last Night I Sang to the Monster Everything Begins and Ends at the Kentucky Club Sammy and Juliana in Hollywood He Forgot to Say Goodbye Carry Me Like Water

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“Words were different when they lived inside of you.” 353 likes
“I bet you could sometimes find all the mysteries of the universe in someone's hand.” 307 likes
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