Book Review: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Rating: 5/5
Genre: YA
Goodreads description:

“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 thoughts:

Gonna be honest here. I only read this book because the audiobook is narrated by Lin-Manuel Miranda, so I went in not knowing anything about this story.

This book is told from the perspective of Aristotle (Ari), who starts off as a rather shy and introverted boy. He meets Dante at the swimming pool and the two quickly become friends.

This book is very much character-driven, as opposed to plot driven. There isn’t some huge overarching storyline, the story is the friendship between Ari and Dante.

I’ve been reading more and more books of this type lately and I’m loving it. I love watching characters grow and develop, which is why I tend to prefer TV shows over movies, and series over single novels.

I found Ari to be hugely relatable. He’s an introvert just like me. I’m not super into going out and always having plans with other people. I would usually rather spend a night in relaxing than out being social.

Ari is also pretty stubborn, especially in terms of his feelings, which I also related to.

I love the way this friendship is portrayed. Both Ari and Dante just seem so real to me. They don’t have a perfect friendship ― they fight and make up and hang out just like normal people. It’s just such a perfect relationship between two people.

I feel like in many YA novels, the friendship builds into a huge fight halfway through the book and then the characters make up. That’s never been relatable for me. In my life, when I have problems in friendships, it’s never a big blow-up, but rather small things that bubble up and then get resolved without a big argument.

Dante and Ari are just so real and this story is so beautiful. I highly highly highly recommend reading it if you haven’t.

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