Newengland's Reviews > Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
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's review
Apr 01, 12

really liked it
bookshelves: finished-in-2012, ya
Read from March 30 to April 01, 2012

Well-written, sensitive story of one very angry Mexican-American boy named Aristotle. He thinks his anger is over an older brother in jail -- one his parents refuse to talk about. But it is more than that, as we will learn.

He hits it off with bubbly, intellectual kid named Dante (also Mexican-American, though much less dark and brooding). The two vow to unlock the secrets of the universe together but, it turns out, the secrets of the universe are much closer to home. OK, in the mirror, then.

At first I thought this book was loaded with incredibly corny, over-the-top dialogue and thoughts. At first, as the cover and inner flap and reviews seemed to indicate, I thought I was reading a book predicated on friendship alone. So I said to myself as I read, boys don't use words like that around each other or show affection for their buddies that way -- they show it with put-down humor and sarcasm. Then, when Dante's secret of the universe turns out to be physical attraction to other boys and more specifically boys named after Greek philosophers, I realized that I was in another country -- not Kansas anymore -- and it wasn't the Corn Belt, either.


Probably too heavy for a middle school classroom library, but a great book for more mature teens learning how to accept people for who and what they are (or learning how to accept themselves for who and what they are)...
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03/31/2012 page 168
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