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


Aristotle doesn't have any friends. He likes to be alone, and has always felt misunderstood. He's unknowable. But when he meets Dante Quintana at the pool one summer day, against all odds, he makes his first real friend. He's drawn to Dante for some unknown reason, even though, on the outside, it looks as if they have nothing in common. Dante makes him feels things; sometimes he feels more alone or confused because of Dante, but usually, Dante makes Ari feel accepted and, well, loved.

But when Dante has to move to Chicago for the year and Ari is alone once again. They keep their friendship alive with letters, but Ari needs someone to talk to. He's dealing with girls and kissing and questions about his imprisoned brother, and no one to help his discover the secrets of the universe. But best friends can help with everything--and Dante and Ari's belief in each other will battle any war that might come.

I loved this book. It was incredible. Everything about it, from the narration to the plot transitions. It was a true pleasure to read. The description on the back of the book is so vague, so I was never sure what was going to happen next in the plot, but I loved that. I got to see all of the trials that shaped Ari into the person he was meant to be, the person he was afraid to be, and it was marvelous. There were a lot of surprises, though. More than I saw coming. But none of them felt like they were added to the story to add drama--they felt purposeful and necessary. It was miraculous.

The characters were by far the best part of this novel. Ari, in particular. I adored this narration and dialogue. And his heart. He was so lost and alone and confused, and he didn't want to talk to anyone about it. It was sad and maddening, but I loved it. I felt so honored to read for him point of view. I loved Dante, as well, but Ari was more intriguing because he was still figuring things out. Dante was so self-aware and sure most of the time. Ari just wanted to know what was going to happen all the time, but he never did, and he was so mad about that. Mad at the world. He was simply a phenomenal character.

Ugh! Don't even get me started on their relationship! It made me feel so complete. Their friendship was so incredible; two characters that had no idea what to do with each other. They didn't have to work to get along. They were just themselves and that's it. Nothing more. They accepted each other's faults and inadequacies, and saw them as positives instead. It was a slow burning love, that had me squealing for joy at the end. I fangirled hardcore.

Benjamin Alire Sáenz is a fantastic writer. He would slip in these incredible quotes into the dialogue and the narration that made my heart thump and my brain melt from their profoundness. And the last line of the novel was killer! So romantic and stunning. I was in constant awe of his talent. I need to read everything he will ever write.

This is a must read book. It's as simple as that.

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