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

“I got to thinking that poems were like people. Some people you got right off the bat. Some people you just didn’t get–and never would get.”

Plot Overview

This is coming of age story of two Mexican American teenage boys, Aristotle and Dante. They both are different from the other boys, often misunderstood and quite a loner, until they find each other.

Both of the characters are quite different from each other and have different complexes. This is the story of them finding themselves.

My Experience

I loved this book. Reading it was such a heart-warming experience. I have heard so many good things about this book before even picking it. I don’t think I have heard any bad reviews about it. So, I was kind of expecting it to be good, but again being a YA fantasy book I was still skeptical.

The book has dealt with so many important topics in such a subtle and heart-warming way. The emotions expressed were just perfect, neither too much nor too less. There are points in the book where I had tears in my eyes, but I don’t know it was because of the book or because I was projecting my feeling with these characters.

The whole book is very much character-driven. The storyline and plot are not that amazing and one can say it is quite predictable. But Benjamin has almost narrated the whole story in such a lyrical way that I never felt bored or disengaged ever. The chapters are short and quick to read. I was able to finish this book in 4 hours.

The relationship of both Aristotle’s and Dante’s parents with their kids is quite inspiring and beautiful. But to me at times their open-mindedness seemed a little too good to be true, considering the story-timeline is around the year 1987. But I think the author must have done it on purpose to spread the awareness around homophobia.

I loved the fact that this book is not that romance heavy but it focussed more on teenage boys trying to find themselves, their relationship with their parents, trying to understand their body and biological changes happening at the time, dealing with topics like drugs, alcohol, and parties. Though I would say that both Aristotle and Dante are pretty good kids and I don’t think any parent can complain about them.


This is a beautiful book with lovely characters and it has a nice warm and breezy feel. I would highly recommend this book.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Published inBooksFiction

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