Aristotle and Dante discover the secrets of the universe – Benjamin Alire Saenz – 2012 – YA LGBT
Fifteen-year-old Ari Mendoza is an angry loner with a brother in prison, but when he meets Dante and they become friends, Ari starts to ask questions about himself, his parents, and his family that he has never asked before.
I liked the character of Ari most of the time, although I did prefer Dante. I thought Ari was well-written, but I just wanted someone a bit less miserable to read about! I also liked the parents in the book. Gay people may not always have parents as supporting as this, but it’s nice to read a positive book.
The book is told from Ari’s point of view, and I found him a bit unbelievable in that way some characters are in YA – not that I didn’t like the way he was written, but I sometimes find characters in YA are not the most realistic. I had the same thing with Dante, but I liked the way the characters weren’t particularly believable. The relationship wouldn’t have played out in this way at all if it was a realistic book. It feels almost like a fairy tale.
I liked the style of writing in the novel – it reminded me of David Levithan’s books, and was nice and a simple read.
There wasn’t really anything I didn’t like about this book, but I didn’t really feel like Ari’s side of the relationship was as well developed as Dante’s. It felt like the book could have been an unrequited story of friendship until a couple of chapters before the end, so I’d have liked it to be a bit more romantic – I guess that doesn’t go with Ari’s character though.
I gave the book 4 stars on Goodreads. I would recommend the book for an easy to read LGBT novel.