Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

Book - 2012
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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.
Publisher: New York : Simon & Schuster BFYR, c2012.
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9781442408920
1442408928
Branch Call Number: YA SAENZ B
Characteristics: 359 pages ; 22 cm.

Opinion

From Library Staff

Also available in ebook, audio, & book club kit!

September 2017 -

MARCH 2 - Aristotle and Dante couldn't be more different--Ari is from a lower income background with an older brother in prison, and completely angry at the world. Dante, the precociously intelligent son of two professors, seems to like poetry more than people. When the two meet, they become unli... Read More »

If you like the beautiful writing, contemplative tone, and 1980's setting of this YA novel...

A story of family, friendship, and first love written with beautiful language that will leave a smile on your face and tears in your eyes.


From the critics


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Quietday
Aug 03, 2018

4.25. I loved this book. It was tender, sweet, gritty and real. To hear the details of teenage life in the late 80s was the background of my life as well. Ari's thoughts and feelings were so well written. Just really a lovely read. Highly recommend.

n
Nat2D2
Jul 01, 2018

Sáenz is the master of simplicity. His novel is wrought with desire, conveyed with artful subtlety. I smiled the whole time I was reading this book and for a good twelve hours afterwards. Only one word properly describes this story: beauty.

mko123 Jun 18, 2018

There are secrets in Ari's family that he is not allowed to talk about. For instance, why is his older brother in prison? And what happened to his dad in the war that made him so quiet and unknowable? Ari feels like he wants to explode. The trouble is, he is a fearless fighter and he mustn't let his anger overtake him.Then he meets Dante at the pool and he finds a real friend that he can talk to. Dante has some of his own secrets. With humor and grace the two loners ask the important questions about life as they try to figure out their place in the grand scheme of things. I loved this book.

a
AnnaB895
May 28, 2018

This book is so amazing. Very cute and real and I was begging for more by the end of it. A very soft and cute gay romance, I wish nothing but happiness for my two little baby boys.

c
Chapel_Hill_KatieJ
Apr 11, 2018

Dante and Ari becomes friends when Dante offers to teach Ari to swim the summer they are 15. The boys are very different, but immediately bond over the fact that they don't fit in with anyone else. The four parents in this book are really well-drawn too, with their own personalities and struggles. There are major events in the book, but the plot isn't really the point in this book. Ari's soulful narration and Dante's openness are what make this book beautiful and this friendship so vivid.

SPPL_Anna Mar 12, 2018

Such a lovely coming of age story, and an absolutely excellent audio version.

t
TEENREVIEWBOARD
Feb 18, 2018

Aristotle and Dante is one of my favourite books, and I’m so glad that the story was able to be told. After completion, I just wanted to read the book a second time, then a third time, and maybe even a fourth. I loved just about every part of this book, which revolves around Aristotle, a Mexican teenager living in Texas in 1987. The book follows him throughout his high school years, where he struggles with connecting with his detached father, understanding his brother who is in prison, and his newly-formed friendship with a boy named Dante. The characters in this book are ones that will stay with me for a long time. The teens in the book were portrayed realistically; Aris isn’t a perfect character and makes quite a few mistakes. This only allowed me to connect with the story even more. Despite being completely satisfied with the ending of the book, the announced sequel is a release I am really looking forward to. 5/5
- @pastapages of the Teen Review Board of the Hamilton Public Library

m
MARVEL4LIFE
Nov 20, 2017

love this book so much!!!

d
daysha
Sep 11, 2017

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe is one of my favorite books to date. The raw emotion and intricate relationships made for one of the most beautiful and interesting reads. I found myself in tears at the parts of this story that weren't even considered sad, just because of the beauty behind the words. It was refreshing to see a friendship between two boys who had no desire to be anything other than themselves in front of eachother, and also to see them rely on eachother emotionally while going through transitions of emotions and in their lives. Definitely would recommend this book.

b
becker
Sep 03, 2017

This is a sensitive coming of age story written for a YA audience. It is about 2 friends who are struggling with issues of family and sexuality. For me, it didn't have the crossover quality that would allow for an adult to enjoy this but it is a really strong teen title with endearing characters and important issues. A book that will tug at your heartstrings for sure.

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Quotes

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Laura_X Aug 03, 2018

The summer sun was not meant for boys like me. Boys like me belonged to the rain.

b
bangbangtangdyn
Nov 18, 2017

"Do you remember the summer of the rain...You must let everything fall that wants to fall. —Karen Fiser”

p
paytonm20
Jul 08, 2015

All I did was smile at him. He'd told me something about himself. I was happy
Ari (pg.66)

j
jump4ever
Aug 18, 2013

"Smiles are like that. They come and go."

Violet_Lion_31 Jul 03, 2013

"Scars. A sign that you had been hurt. A sign thst you had been healed."

Violet_Lion_31 Jul 03, 2013

"And me, I always felt that I didn't belong anywhere. I didn't even belong in my own body - especially in my own body. I was changing into someone I didn't know. The change hurt but I didn't know why it hurt. And nothing about my own emotions made any sense."

JCLChrisK Apr 30, 2013

To be careful with people and with words was a rare and beautiful thing.

JCLChrisK Apr 30, 2013

I had a rule that it was better to be bored by yourself than to be bored with someone else. I pretty much lived by that rule. Maybe that's why I didn't have any friends.

JCLChrisK Apr 30, 2013

I didn't understand how you could live in a mean world and not have any of that meanness rub off on you. How could a guy live without meanness?

JCLChrisK Apr 30, 2013

See, the thing about guys is that I didn't really care to be around them. I mean, guys really made me uncomfortable. I don't know why, not exactly. I just, I don't know, I just didn't belong. I think it embarrassed the hell out of me that I was a guy. And it really depressed me that there was the distinct possibility that I was going to grow up and be like one of those assholes.

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Age

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KaylaAlexander
Jul 13, 2018

KaylaAlexander thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

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cllehman
May 16, 2017

cllehman thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

homarrmirezz Feb 24, 2017

homarrmirezz thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

ArapahoeJennieB Aug 01, 2016

ArapahoeJennieB thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over

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VV12
Aug 19, 2015

VV12 thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

bootsandcats Apr 29, 2015

bootsandcats thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

BklynAllisonA Oct 16, 2014

BklynAllisonA thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

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jroxy49
Jun 26, 2014

jroxy49 thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

Violet_Lion_31 Jul 03, 2013

Violet_Lion_31 thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

Summary

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olive_bird_01 Jul 22, 2015

Through their friendship, Dante and Ari find the courage to become who they really are.

p
paytonm20
Jul 08, 2015

Ari doesn't know how to swim, but that doesn't stop him from going to the pool everyday. Thank god he does though cause this is where Dante enters, saying he can teach Ari how to swim. Soon there friendship starts turning into something Ari didn't think could happen.

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