C.G. Drews'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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Jun 03, 2014

it was amazing
bookshelves: contemporary, read-2014, young-adult, 5-star, ya-male-narrators, read-2017, audio-books, reread
Read 2 times. Last read July 10, 2017 to July 14, 2017.

REREAD: JULY 2017

Okay wow. Just wow. You know how there are some books you love but then when you come back to reread, you realise you truly adore them SO MUCH YOU HAVE NO WORDS??? Because I'm having that moment. This is an emotional, painful and beautiful book and I hAVE feelings. omg. I swear I love this 53 x more than the first time I read it. I need more stars??

SMOL LIST OF THOUGHTS DURING MY REREAD:
• I listened to the audio (narrated by Lin-Manuel Miranda!) and it was sooooo good. Absolutely perfect narration.
• I'm 99% sure Ari actually has depression, just undiagnosed because it's the '80s and he has no "reason" for it. Although there was one scene where the mum took him to the doctors after his flu (he was super miserable still) and the doctor said there was "nothing wrong with him" and the mum looked mad for a minute. Ari didn't know why. I wonder if she knew he probably had depression?
• SO MANY HEADCANONS. I DON'T EVEN KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH MYSELF.
• Also I so so freaking love Ari. He is beautiful and angry and sweet and a little bit sassy.
• I actually didn't find the story slow or meandering AT ALL in this reread. Every page, every line was perfect.
• 1000% appreciation for how dialogue heavy it is.
• I ship this ship so much.
• all the shipping
• why are they so precious, the deluded little cinnamon toasts
• I think the entire book is so quotable?!? I just want to hug these beautiful sentences and thoughts and words and wish I could write like this someday.
• I LOVE the family relationships. Two boys, both with two sets of loving/caring/healthy parents. Wow. WOW.
• Did I mention the writing is so beautiful?
• My only thing about the ending, in retrospect is, (view spoiler)
• Legs. <3 <3
• Introversion appreciation. <3 <3 <3
• GOD, THIS BOOK IS SO PERFECT.

~~ Also I JUST REMEMBERED THERE'S GOING TO BE A SEQUEL. HOLD ME.



FIRST READ: JUNE 2014

That was so positively swoon worthy I just...I just need a moment. OMG. THAT WAS BEAUTIFUL.

I was pretty sure I'd like this book...I'd been recommended it enough! But still! Eeeh, what if it wasn't for me? But of course it was. I just 100% fell in love with Ari and his confused dealing of being a teenager and the world. And Dante too, with his buoyant personality and thing for hating-shoes. Dude, shoes suck. Absolutely. This is a beautiful book teens absolutely need to read. And scrap the "Teen" part, because EVERYONE SHOULD READ THIS.

I was just going to give this a 4...and to be truthfully it's like a 4.5. BUT LIFE IS SHORT. So it's getting a 5! And I love it! And yes I'd recommend it.

What I really loved was how it broke stereotypes and considered how confusing the world is. I don't know about you, but I've always felt the world is super confusing. Ugh. What is even going on, life? And just Ari's thought process was so vivid and really personal. I felt sucked in immediately.

The writing is gorgeous. It's very crisp. No fluff. I LOVE THAT. Also: dialogue. Dialogue everywhere.

My only twitchy face comes at how slow it was. It basically takes place over 2 years...which is a long time. People grow. People change. It's all very interesting and I felt very invested. But the first 50% I just kept wondering if something was going to happen. And then BOOM plot twist and everything really fell apart. So, I admit, I was dubious for a while. Maybe a little bored. But then I couldn't put it down.

And can I just say something about the parents in this book?? There are TWO sets of parents, Ari's and Dante's. Both are still married. Both still absolutely love each other. That is so beautiful and sweet and I just spent os much of the book thinking, "Finally. Awesome parents." Parents are often shoved into a corner of "annoying and useless" in books, but they're actually goldmine's of what it is to grow up. And the parents just continually out-sweeted themselves. I was won. I'm so glad Ari had parents like he did, even if it wasn't always smooth sailing. I love Dante's parents too.

I'm still sniffling, because the ending is positively heartbreaking AND IN THE BEST WAY POSSIBLE.
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Quotes C.G. Liked

Benjamin Alire Sáenz
“Words were different when they lived inside of you.”
Benjamin Alire Sáenz, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

Benjamin Alire Sáenz
“And it seemed to me that Dante's face was a map of the world. A world without any darkness.

Wow, a world without darkness. How beautiful was that?”
Benjamin Alire Sáenz, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

Benjamin Alire Sáenz
“Your smile is back.' That's what Dante said.

'Smiles are like that. They come and go.”
Benjamin Alire Sáenz, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

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
“To be careful with people and with words was a rare and beautiful thing.”
Benjamin Alire Sáenz, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

Benjamin Alire Sáenz
“The summer sun was not meant for boys like me. Boys like me belonged to the rain.”
Benjamin Alire Sáenz, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

Benjamin Alire Sáenz
“Words could be like food - they felt like something in your mouth. They tasted like something.”
Benjamin Alire Sáenz, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

Benjamin Alire Sáenz
“Talking to myself in my journal qualified as talking to someone my own age.”
Benjamin Alire Sáenz, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

Benjamin Alire Sáenz
“One of the secrets of the universe was that our instincts were sometimes stronger than our minds.”
Benjamin Alire Sáenz, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

Benjamin Alire Sáenz
“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?”
Benjamin Alire Sáenz, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

Benjamin Alire Sáenz
“The Ari I used to be didn't exist anymore. And the Ari I was becoming? He didn't exist yet.”
Benjamin Alire Sáenz, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe


Reading Progress

June 3, 2014 – Shelved
June 3, 2014 – Shelved as: to-read
June 23, 2014 – Started Reading
June 23, 2014 –
page 138
38.44% "Hmm...it's a little monotonous. But I LOVE the writing."
June 24, 2014 – Shelved as: contemporary
June 24, 2014 – Shelved as: read-2014
June 24, 2014 – Shelved as: young-adult
June 24, 2014 – Shelved as: 5-star
June 24, 2014 – Finished Reading
November 17, 2016 – Shelved as: ya-male-narrators
July 10, 2017 – Started Reading
July 10, 2017 –
page 20
5.57% "I haven't read this since like 2014 WHEN DINOSAURS STILL ROAMED THE EARTH.
I forgot how adorable and angsty Ari is omg. 😂"
July 11, 2017 –
page 65
18.11% "Ari: I don't like people.
Dante: *EXISTS*
Ari: okay I lied"
July 12, 2017 –
page 98
27.3% "Ari talks a lot about how lonely and sad he is deep inside...and I used to think this book was just about growing up, but does anyone else think Ari might have depression???"
July 13, 2017 –
page 198
55.15% ""I love swimming," he said again. He was quiet for a little while. And then he said, "I love swimming -- and you."

And I love being in pAIN apparently."
July 14, 2017 – Shelved as: read-2017
July 14, 2017 – Shelved as: audio-books
July 14, 2017 – Shelved as: reread
July 14, 2017 – Finished Reading

Comments (showing 1-9 of 9) (9 new)

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Shelumiel Delos Santos <3<3<3<3<3 x BAJILLION!


Tamara LIN NARRATES THE AUDIO BOOK WHAT EVEN i never listen to audio books and i have the book so i don't need it but??? i need it!


Alice Swan [Stones of Rome] Oh, great. Now I want to reread it, too.


Cassandra {semi-hiatus} Crap. I have so many books I need to read for the first time, and now I'm going to spend the rest of my summer trying not to reread this one...


C.G. Drews JUST RE-READ IT TOO, ALL OF YOU. I swear it's 5000% the kind of book that needs rereading. *happy tears*


Jess &#x1f4da; The audiobook is so perfect omg I cried so much ❤️❤️


Jess &#x1f4da; Also every fucking line in this book is so perfectly crafted I feel we need some sort of alter or shrine for it


C.G. Drews @Jessica: OMG I KNOW RIGHT? I want to quote the entire thing. A shrine is the only answer.


message 9: by Melody (new) - added it

Melody This book is just SO PRECIOUS. I don't even know how many times I reread it. Legs is beautiful. The boys are beautiful.
And I agree with you about the ending but IT IS STILL SO BEAUTIFUL ARG.


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