Book Review: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

Title: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

Author: Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Publishing date: 2012

Pages: 359

Price: £5.59

ISBN: 9781442408937


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.


First off – I apologise if this contains any spoilers!

I heard a lot about this book from other book blogs and instagram accounts as went into it with very high expectation and I was not disappointed.

The story flowed well from the very start and instantly hooked you into the plot and the characters. From the beginning you sympathise with Ari and as the story progresses you’re always learning new things about him.

I have to admit, I guessed the ending of the book pretty much from the first chapter. I won’t tell you the ending – that’s for you to read. But what I didn’t guess is how it got there. Throughout the story there are multiple twists and turns which keeps the reader interested.

The part that got to me most – I think – is the relationship between Ari’s family and his brother, Bernardo. You really connect with Ari and, because of the perspective it’s written from, you know what’s going on in his head.

Another thing I love about this book is the use of dialogue. Some authors rely heavily on the use of description but Sáenz’s use of dialogue is amazing. Some of the chapters are written solely in dialogue and I love it. You feel like you’re stood with the characters as they talk.

However, there are a few things about this book that I personally didn’t enjoy as much. The main thing being – it ended too quickly. A lot of the book is building up to the questions Ari has about his brother and essentially this is dealt with within about 2 chapters and then not referred to again. The same with the relationship with Dante. Although I understand that Sáenz may have felt like he reached the end and didn’t want to write past it, I still feel like there could have been more.

If you enjoyed ‘I’ll Give You the Sun’ and ‘Night Owls’ then I would 100% recommend this book to you. It deals with everything a book about teenagers should so dive in, meet Aristotle, and join him on his journey of discovering all the secrets the universe has to offer.

My Rating: 3.75/5


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