10 Mar

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

Book Review: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sȧenz


Friendship, Identity, LGBT


Author Benjamin Saenz has written a truly beautiful story about life and a story of true friendship  in his widely renowned novel Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. In the novel, a young boy named Ari struggles to make friends with anyone, wishing to be alone and free, as well as wondering about his arrested brother that his parents never speak about. He meets a new guy, Dante, and discovers with him all of the secrets of life Ari has wished to know. Through their journey together, Ari and Dante learn how to bring the truth about themselves out of each other through the power of friendship and sacrifice. This loving tale brings out strong friendships, self confidence, and trust between these two unforgettable characters that inspires young adults to be true and proud to who you are.

The novel has definitely made me think harder about life as we know it. Throughout Ari and Dante”s journey together, I saw so many events between them that had me thinking about my own friendships with others. Dante initially offers Ari the gift of friendship through swimming, a common passion both of them have together. Ari is extremely cautious at first, not knowing what kind of a person Dante is and being wary of starting something with someone. Dante starts to press details out of Ari in persuasive but subtle ways to break down the wall of isolation Ari had built around himself. Even though Ari swore to himself to keep everything to himself, he eventually learns to open up to Dante, which truly helped him to find his identity. Through reading all of this, I saw that I was extremely similar to Ari at one point in my life, wanting everything hidden and kept away. It was not until I met a few of my closest and dearest friends that I finally opened up and saw a part of my own identity I was looking for. Saenz uses real life scenarios with beautiful details that brings the story to life for people of all ages, starting with young adults on. With these real life scenarios, anyone can relate to the story in some way, and maybe even find their own identities as well.

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe is a timeless tale that makes people think about their lives in so many different and creative ways. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wishes to think more deeply about life and themselves. You will truly appreciate the work Saenz has done to bring the story into your life.

Guest reviewer: Rebecca

aristotle and dante