Review: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe


Author: Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Original Publication: 2012

Rating: 4 STARS

YA Fiction | 359 Pages |Published by Simon & Schuster

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“Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe” should be required reading for all teens. At face value, it is a book about family, friendship, love, and the secrets we all carry within ourselves throughout our lives. All of these aspects of the book come together to create a deeply meaningful story that could bring lucidity to the lives of teens. If I had read this book when I was fifteen, I believe I could have come to understand myself far sooner.

I have rarely finished a book this quickly. It only took a handful of hours! Granted, it’s not very lengthy but I immediately fell in love with the characters. Dante is a special person who I wish I had in my life when I was younger. He is bold and unafraid. It is rare to find a teen who knows himself as well as Dante does. Of course, he isn’t portrayed as perfect, and grows throughout the novel. But he is undoubtedly the star of the story because he changed Ari’s life and he truly is special.

Ari is a boy who keeps feelings inside like many young people do. I was this way, because young people don’t know who they are yet and are unsure how to articulate their fears and wants. His growth throughout the story is immensely satisfying to read and it gives me great joy to know that a young reader will see Ari’s journey and understand how beautiful, pure, and natural his love for Dante is. The ending was truly magical and these stories must continue to be depicted, especially so that young readers of color see meaningful stories told about themselves.

I want to thank Benjamin Saenz for writing a timeless story that will resonate with young people who want to discover the secrets of the universe or simply want to unravel a few of the mysteries that come with being a teenager.

5 thoughts on “Review: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

  1. I read this book because of this post. I absolutely loved every second of it. The ending brought me to tears. Thank you so much for writing this review and exposing me to this amazing novel.

  2. I just recently finished reading this book, and I was curious to see if you had read it– so I hunted through your archives. Of course, you did! It looks like we have some very similar opinions. I definitely think this should be recommended reading to all teenagers. Ari is so thoughtful and articulate, but he is so naive that he is completely believable. Now that I’m done reading this, I miss these characters so much.
    Great review, Nza!

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