REVIEW #144: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

\ Title: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe
Author: Benjamin Alire Sáenz
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Release Date: February 21st 2012
Pages: Hardcover, 359 pages
Source: Audiobook from the Library

Summary from Goodreads:
A lyrical novel about family and friendship from critically acclaimed author Benjamin Alire Sáenz.

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.

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe is a slow moving novel about two unique boys sparking a one of a kind friendship that both saves their lives and changes them forever.  I chose to listen to the audio book. The narration was well done; the story was told from Aristotle's, who goes by Ari, point of view.  The two boys seem to be quite the opposites yet Dante is determined to keep Ari as a friend in spite of an accident, a move, and family issues.  Dante is the only true friend Ari has.

The friendship was something rather incredible.  Ari saves Dante's life without hesitation not thinking about the consequences. Even though Ari tries and tries again to push Dante away, Dante is relentless and will not give up.   Both characters are extremely well developed and very unique.  Saenz does a great job of explaining the history and background of each boy and how it has made them the people they are today.

My issue with the book was not the characters, nor the family dynamics, nor the friendship; it was the plot. The book truly is a story about how these two boys conquer and overcome the hurdles they are faced with in life.  There was not a lot of action, mystery, or love simply a lot of teenage boy angst and confusion.

Overall I had to give the story 2 stars, not because it was not well written simply because it was not for me. The story moved at a pace far to slow for my liking.  There were some important events that changed the dynamic of the story but nothing that I really enjoyed.  Others may enjoy the book especially if you are looking for a deeper more lyrical story about learning and not being afraid to be honest with yourself.  



  1. That's a bummer. This cover is so stunning, but I just really struggle getting through slower books. I'll probably have to give this one a pass. Great review!

    1. I loved the cover, it was what initially drew me in.

    2. It's actually a very well done book. The author does a beautiful job at creating the characters but also showing what teens go through. I understand no one wants to read another antsy book but there is so much to the book it works. I would highly recommend it only if your in the mood of being carried into a almost romantic sweet inspirational part of the world that people seem to forget

  2. Oh, I'm sad this one wasn't for you. I loved it so much, and devoured it in a matter of hours and then made my cousin read it. But I can understand what you mean about the slow pace, and not ever book can work for every person. I just thought it was so beautiful.

    1. It was very well written, I can see others enjoying it though!

  3. Too bad you didn't end up liking the book, and it doesn't sound like I would either. I definitely like a fast-paced book, with action, romance, something. Hope the next one is better! ~Pam


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