Ryan'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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"As Dante was watching me search the sky through the lens of a telescope, he whispered, 'Someday, I'm going to discover all of the secrets of the universe.'"

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All of the stars in the universe - an instant favourite. As some of you may know, I'm a sucker for a good coming-of-age love story, and this one completely delivered. I read this in one sitting. One. I don't think you understand, I'm ADHD, I hardly ever finish a book in one sitting. But this book? I refused to put it down. I said I'd read the first chapter before I went to bed, and before I knew it, it was 2 am, and I was a complete mess, crying, and hugging this book to my chest because it was so damn good. I swear, if it wasn't 2 am, I would have turned back to page one, and started all over again.

(Drinking game: Take a shot every time I say "universe" in this review. Or don't, you may get alcohol poisoning by the second half.)

I've always had an all-consuming fascination with the universe and how utterly complex and thrilling all of it is. I once read my astronomy textbook from cover-to-cover for fun. Yeah, I'm that kid. I completely understood what Dante and Ari where always talking about - how they wanted to discover the secrets of the universe. I've been looking for the same things.

"I bet you could find all of the mysteries of the universe in someone's hand."

I loved all of these characters, and loved how raw and real everything was. Ari was a fantastic narrator, and Dante was added to my list of fictional characters too pure and good for this world. The ever-present family and heritage aspect in this book were also wonderful. Though I am not Spanish myself, all of my babysitters growing up were from Spanish-speaking countries, so I've had a love for the Hispanic culture ever since I was little.

"The summer sun was not meant for boys like me. Boys like me belonged to the rain."

Funnily enough, in my review of Eleanor & Park, I mentioned how I disliked that the book took place in the eighties. Aristotle and Dante took place (correct me if I got the dates wrong, please) in the summers of 1985 - 1987, yet it seemed to flow much nicer, and much more naturally in this book. Everything just fit in it's place perfectly.

"We all fight our own private wars."

The last scene left me with tears in my eyes. Happy tears, but tears all the same. I've been emotionally impacted by a book many times over, but this one was practically life-changing.

(view spoiler)

Suffice to say, I absolutely adored this book. I could go on for hours about Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, but instead of that, I'll end the review with my favourite quote from it:

"'There are worse things in the world than a boy who like to kiss other boys.'"
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Quotes Ryan Liked

Benjamin Alire Sáenz
“I bet you could sometimes find all the mysteries of the universe in someone's hand.”
Benjamin Alire Sáenz, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

Benjamin Alire Sáenz
“We all fight our own private wars.”
Benjamin Alire Sáenz, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

Benjamin Alire Sáenz
“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


Reading Progress

June 18, 2016 – Shelved
June 18, 2016 – Shelved as: to-read
July 24, 2016 – Shelved as: lgbt
August 5, 2016 – Shelved as: i-need-this-like-i-need-air
August 10, 2016 –
page 0
0.0% "Okay, yeah, so technically I'm supposed to be reading The Young Elites right now, but I saw this at the library and I couldn't help myself."
August 10, 2016 –
page 82
22.84% "I promised myself I would go to bed forty minutes ago after I read the first chapter, but now I'm determined to finish this, whoops."
August 11, 2016 – Started Reading
August 11, 2016 –
page 334
93.04% "description"
August 11, 2016 – Shelved as: favourites
August 11, 2016 – Shelved as: feels-trip
August 11, 2016 – Shelved as: read-in-2016
August 11, 2016 – Finished Reading
August 13, 2016 – Shelved as: august-tbr
August 23, 2016 – Shelved as: library
August 23, 2016 – Shelved as: need-to-buy-a-copy
August 23, 2016 – Shelved as: that-cover-though
October 27, 2016 – Shelved as: 5-star
October 29, 2016 – Shelved as: hand-me-the-tissues
October 29, 2016 – Shelved as: unfinished-series

Comments Showing 1-26 of 26 (26 new)

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message 1: by *eKa* (new) - added it

*eKa* What a great review, Ryan! My friend recommended it to me, so now I am convinced to read it! I love fiction books talking about universe, too.


message 2: by Ryan (last edited Aug 13, 2016 11:16PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ryan eKa wrote: "What a great review, Ryan! My friend recommended it to me, so now I am convinced to read it! I love fiction books talking about universe, too."

Thank you! I would highly recommend this book, it's wonderful :)


Emily Ross This is a brilliant review! :-) I listened to this novel as an audiobook and it hits so hard. It's just spectacular.


Ryan Emily wrote: "This is a brilliant review! :-) I listened to this novel as an audiobook and it hits so hard. It's just spectacular."

Thank you so much! I haven't listened to the audiobook, but isn't it narrated by Lin-Manuel Miranda? I might give it a shot


TheBookAddict Great review, Ryan! : ) I'm so glad you loved this book as much as I do.


Ryan TheBookAddict wrote: "Great review, Ryan! : ) I'm so glad you loved this book as much as I do."

Thank you! :) This book was truly amazing.


Lena Love the review, Ryan! <3 This book is so beautiful^^


Ryan Lena wrote: "Love the review, Ryan! <3 This book is so beautiful^^"

Thank you, Lena! I agree, this book is incredible.


Cassandra {semi-hiatus} I'm so glad you enjoyed it, Ryan! This is without a doubt one of my favorite books of all time, and the book that got me into contemporary. I read it on a cruise I took for my quinceanera, and I remember waking up at five in the morning three days in a row so I could read this book with the sunrise and give it a perfect setting for the perfect book. Now I really want to reread it... I might have to. Lovely review and thoughts! :)


message 10: by Ryan (last edited Aug 14, 2016 05:11PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ryan Cassandra wrote: "I'm so glad you enjoyed it, Ryan! This is without a doubt one of my favorite books of all time, and the book that got me into contemporary. I read it on a cruise I took for my quinceanera, and I re..."

Thank you! Oh, that sounds wonderful - reading it with the sunrise is the perfect setting this book. I might have to do that one day :)


Emily Ross Hey Ryan :-) the audiobook is narrated by Lin Manuel Miranda and I would recommend him as a narrator - he is brilliant and he did give a separate voice to both Ari and Dante that sounded both different and natural. I would recommend the audiobook :-)


message 12: by Ryan (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ryan Emily wrote: "Hey Ryan :-) the audiobook is narrated by Lin Manuel Miranda and I would recommend him as a narrator - he is brilliant and he did give a separate voice to both Ari and Dante that sounded both diffe..."

Really? Thank you for telling me! I don't normally listen to audiobooks, but I'll make an exception if it's narrated by Lin :)


message 13: by Ryan (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ryan Vilda wrote: "Gosh, this book looks so freaking good. Why have I not read it yet? Awesome review!"

Thank you! And it is truly incredible. You should definitely read it some time :)


message 14: by Annie (new)

Annie woah I need to read this after this review!! :)


message 15: by Ryan (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ryan Annie wrote: "woah I need to read this after this review!! :)"

Aw, yay! :)


message 16: by Sana (new) - rated it 2 stars

Sana Great review, I'm glad you loved it!


message 17: by Ryan (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ryan Sana wrote: "Great review, I'm glad you loved it!"

Thank you :D


Brooklyn Lovely review, I've been meaning to read this for ages. Glad to see you enjoyed it so much!


message 19: by Ryan (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ryan Brooklyn wrote: "Lovely review, I've been meaning to read this for ages. Glad to see you enjoyed it so much!"

Thank you so much! I would highly recommend this book :)


message 20: by emma (new) - rated it 4 stars

emma LOVE LOVE LOVE THIS BOOK <3


message 21: by Ryan (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ryan Emma wrote: "LOVE LOVE LOVE THIS BOOK <3"

Me too! <333


message 22: by Val (new) - rated it 5 stars

Val Hdz I loved this book, it was just so great. Great review and happy you like it.


message 23: by Ryan (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ryan Val wrote: "I loved this book, it was just so great. Great review and happy you like it."

Thank you! I'm glad you liked it, too :)


Mishti I know! This book was such a lovely read for me. It's wonderfully written. And Ari and Dante are just :') AHHH IM GETTIN ALL THE FEELS AGAIN!


message 25: by Ryan (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ryan Mishti wrote: "I know! This book was such a lovely read for me. It's wonderfully written. And Ari and Dante are just :') AHHH IM GETTIN ALL THE FEELS AGAIN!"

Agreed :') All of the emotions <3


Jesus Oh God i loved your review and by the way i was afraid almost ending the book, because a ithought Dante was gonna die, because he was too good for this world and characters like that usually suffer and shit


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