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

Roanne Andaya, Staff Writer

unnamed“The problem with my life is that it was someone else’s idea.”

There are many, many things to be said about this book, and one of them is just—wow. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe—or just Aristotle and Dante, as I will shorten it—is an amazing coming-of-age romance. Written by Benjamin Alire Sáenz, this book illustrates the hardships of a boy trying to find himself.

Now let me be honest; this is not an easy read. The unique voice that Sáenz uses throughout the story takes a little getting used to. However, it should be read by anyone craving a book with characters of colour and LGBT themes.

Set in the summer of 1987, Aristotle and Dante tells the story of friends Ari and Dante. Aristotle Mendoza—nicknamed Ari—is a self-proclaimed loner .He likes to wallow in his loneliness and is in a state of constant anger: at his father for not being open and talkative, and at his family for keeping numerous secrets from him. He isn’t comfortable around people his age and has a hard time with words.

And then he meets Dante.

Dante, who makes him see the world differently. Dante, with his open and unique perspective on life. Dante, who in every shape and form is the complete opposite of Ari. But it’s through their friendship that Ari begins to see that he can’t discover the secrets of the world without first uncovering his own secrets. But as the two become closer, and Dante starts to see their friendship in a different light, Ari must draw the line. Because Ari isn’t gay…

Or is he?

Told entirely through Ari’s eyes, this is an excellent read. It is a unique book that shows growth and understanding, not only though the boys’ experiences, but also in the narrator’s voice. It is a sad and bittersweet novel that will hit you right in the gut with angst and tears, only to sooth you by the ending. Aristotle and Dante will not only open up your mind; it will also open up your heart.

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