Book Thoughts: Aristotle and Dante discover the secrets of the universe

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.

My Thoughts:

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.

5 thoughts on “Book Thoughts: Aristotle and Dante discover the secrets of the universe

  1. I really liked this one too!! You’re right in that Ari and Dante are a bit unbelievable at times and I did like Dante a bit more.. Ari was so angsty. I guess that’s just his character type but sometimes it was sad to read his thoughts. Surprisingly it worked so well without any real plot which I was surprised about!!


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