Overall Rating: 5 Stars
Title: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe
Author: Benjamin Alire Sáenz
Format: Hard copy borrowed from the library
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.
Where do I even begin?
I was not prepared for how moved I would be by this book.
My heart could not handle how deeply I would feel for these characters. It was so unexpected and beautiful and I swear… how I felt when I put this book down? That’s how I want to feel after I read a book. I want to feel that breathlessness and that longing and immediate nostalgia.
Both Aristotle and Dante are two of my all-time favorite characters and together they are my OTP (One True Pairing). Could two more perfect-for-eachother people ever come together so brilliantly in a novel again? I’m not sure, but then again, this is the only book by Benjamin Alire Sáenz that I’ve read so far.
I openly admit that I’m an annoyingly optimistic person and I tend not to relate very well with pessimistic or consistently melancholy characters in books. But Aristotle? Oh my goodness, I felt like I understood him. I felt like, though I couldn’t fully empathize with him, I was deeply sympathetic toward his character to the point where I just wanted to give him a great big hug and never let go.
Kudos are certainly due to the author for this because along with feeling like I truly knew these two characters as if they were good friends, I felt like I actually understood pre-teen and teenage boys when they’ve always been a complete mystery to me.
And, goodness, I need to talk about the love story in this because… gahhhhh… I had so many butterflies I’m surprised I didn’t choke on all the wing dust. The romance was so subtle and innocent and gorgeous, it felt like landing gently on a cloud when everything came together.
There were certainly moments when my heart absolutely ached for these characters, but there were also moments when I could have squealed with joy (and I’m pretty sure I did a few times.)
Beyond that, the growth of Ari and Dante throughout this book is so realistic and just perfect, I loved growing up with them.
And their parents? Oh my goodness, I so loved their parents, flaws and all. Particularly Ari’s mom. I just loved her conversations with Ari and his non-verbal conversations with his dad.
Speaking of conversations, Dante and Ari’s conversations were simple, yet profound. And, I guess, if I would describe this entire novel in three words it would be those three: simple, yet profound.
Butterfly Rating: 4 Stars
Re-read Worthiness: YES!
Bookshelf Placement: Already there 🙂
Book Boyfriend Rating: 5 stars