Today I’m reviewing ‘Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe’ by Benjamin Alire Sáenz.
For so long I’ve seen this book circulating on Tumblr and Goodreads, it’s so popular and well loved and I after reading it, I can really appreciate why!
The book follows two young Mexican boys living in 1980’s El Paso. The protagonist of the book is Aristotle or Ari as he’s more commonly called. Ari befriends Dante and the two begin a journey together that bonds them. Both characters are complex. The story is very ‘coming of age’ and explores the different internal struggles the two characters have.
My favourite part of this book is the family dynamic. I feel like a lot of YA books don’t focus on family, some don’t even have parental characters in them but this book really focuses on family and although both Ari and Dante have their own family issues, the families are really loving and complex and it was such a joy to read about them.
Aristotle’s brother is in prison and his family doesn’t talk about him, this causes Ari a lot of pain and it’s interesting to read about how the whole family handles this. I loved reading about Ari’s dad and mum, they were fascinating people and although the main focus was on Ari I felt like they were complex and well developed. They were just cool, supportive people, trying to do their best for Ari. I really appreciated that normalcy. Also shout of to Dante’s parents for also being 10 outta 10 cool! Family is 100% my favourite part of this book.
Dante is a gorgeous character, so sweet and loving. I really enjoyed his honesty and freedom. I also enjoyed reading about his struggles with his culture. It was interesting and something I don’t often think about.
Benjamin Alire Sáenz combines real-life issues of young people into a fun and real story. It explores humanity and life in a way that engages readers. I loved its nostalgic feel and the relationship between the two boys. His writing is gorgeous, rich but not overwhelming or fluffy. It was a little slow at times, lots of smaller moments to fill in important stuff but overall I enjoyed the book and would most definitely recommend to other readers looking for a new read!
4 out of 5 stars and so much love! This book is timeless I think and when I need a little hope for the future I’ll definitely pick it up again.