First Impressions


Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the UniverseAristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
Series: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe #1
Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers on February 21st 2012
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 359
Format: E-Book

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. - See more at:

The unfiltered thoughts, feelings, wonderings and ramblings as I read ‘Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe’

This is a beautiful coming of age story that follows Dante and Aristotle, two friends on the path of discovery who they really are.

  • How amazing is this cover?
  • I love an underdog story and Aristotle sounds like an underdog
    • I think this is of his own choosing though, but never the less I am rooting for him
  • Enter Dante
  • I love that Dante is obsessed with his parents, how many 15 year old boys would ever admit this or feel this way about their parents
    • My brother is 15 and he just hangs out in his room and grunting is his form of communication
  • The relationship between Dante and his father actually had me laughing out loud. He called him a wise ass and then sat in his chair, brilliant!
  • Dante comes across like an old soul, while Aristotle seems to have lost all faith in the world and is happy to just be invisible and alone, or so he wants us to think
  • Okay seriously Dante is funny, like laugh out loud funny
  • Insrutable
    • Even I needed to look this one up, if I had been patient I would have got to the page where it was defined

      ‘Boys die of boredom while reading poetry’

  • Dante has TBR desk!
    • I need one of these
    • No wait, I lie. It would just become this messy ever growing pile 
  • I need a word journal
    • I want a little book I can write words I find when reading and sentences that stand out
    • I encourage my students to keep one of these, yet I don’t keep one myself, terribly modelling!
    • I am going to get one this week
  • Oh Dante is getting cuter and cuter
    • I hope when I have kids, their friends bring over gift for me…in the form of book mwahahahaha
  • I wonder how it would feel to be Aristotle. His friend has come over and won his dad over receiving 2 smiles. He has made more of connection with his father in the 2 minutes he has met him that what Aristotle leads us believes to be their relationship is
  • Is this a LGBT book?
    • I am getting the vibes it is, I have not even read the synopsis. I just judged it on cover alone. Naughty! Naughty! 

      ‘I knew that he would never grow up and say stupid things like, a girl is like a tree’

  • I like the idea of adopting other cultures. Imagine a world where we take the best part of each culture and don’t use just one culture to define our identify, but we use a bunch to define who we are a positive citizens
  • Oh what a life you could lead if you had one parent as your complete and utter ally
    • Dante your dad is the best! 
  • a 15 year old boy to care that deeply for an animal is amazing. Some would say it was just a bird! We need more Dante’s in the world

    ‘I felt alone, not in a bad way. I really liked being alone’

  • Dante is able to see right through Ari’s facade, I like that
  • Ari seems content to be sad and lonely, even though he claims not to be sad all the time. Yet his is jealous of Dante’s self assured attitude
  • I wonder if Ari’s brother would accept Dante
    • I hope so
    • Ooooh and his family…I am getting nervous 
  • I am 8 years older than my sister and 10 years older then my brother, I could never look at them and think that they were born a “little too late”

    ‘When do we start feeling like the world belongs to us?’

  • Someday…
  • I wonder why Ari’s brother is in prison – it must be bad if no one talks about it
  • Dante is a giant marshmallow
  • I like the dialogue, it sounds like good hearty banter
  • There is a lot of swearing. I was hoping I could recommend this one for my school library…nope

    ‘I wondered what that was like, to hold someone’s hand. I bet you could sometimes find all the mysteries of the universe in someone’s hand’

  • Why is Aristotle so dark and cruel inside? What has made him this way?
  • Oooooh Ileana you just showed so much kindness. I love people like you. Just because someone gives off an ‘I don’t care’ attitude doesn’t mean they don’t need peoples kindness and compassion from time to time
  • I love how it can go from silly banter to the deep inner thoughts of Ari. The way the story twists and turns is very fluid. Light moments bleed into the the darker ones.
  • Just googled the ‘Nighthawks’ by Edward Hooper painting
  • Ari why must you be so difficult? Dante is a friend, write him back!
  • Oh more paintings to google
  • There was no excitement for that kiss
  • I think that Gina might like him, or she knows he’s gay and is trying to let him see he isn’t alone, that he has a friend in her
  • Well that all happened very quickly – she kissed him, has a boyfriend, drops out of school, gets married because she is pregnant. Silly girl, I liked you!
  • The worlds most casual kisser…bah, if only – someone always catches feelings
  • I love Gina and Suzie, seriously such amazing friends
  • I want to drive to the desert and lay in the bed of a truck stargazing – add to bucket list
  • Ari, Ari, Ari – why do you fail to see how many people in your life love you?
  • Dante, I feel for you. Unrequited love is awful, but unrequited love with your best friend is the worst kind.

‘Another secret of the universe: Sometimes pain was like a storm that came out of nowhere’

  • Ari stop being a dickhead!
  • I feel like Ari’s relationship with his father has improved astronomically since the start of the book
  • Oh the feelings! Warm fuzzies
  • Now I am mad. I truly don’t understand why men/boys feel the need to beat up someone when they discover they are gay. I just don’t understand what their purpose is or what they are trying to gain from it. If you do this, you are a monster. It absolutely breaks my heart that people have to suffer such ignorance.
  • Dante is always confessing secrets and is always sad after his revelations
  • Oooooooooh I could just gobble up this ending!

Gay 1

I had no idea when I originally picked this up that it was an LBGT book. I was pleasantly surprised. What a beautifully written well crafted story. Being a teacher, I kept thinking about how amazing this book would be to give to my students who are struggling with finding their own identity. It has such powerful messages of acceptance, love, forgiveness, diversity and honesty.

It is something I would definitely by for my classroom if my students were just a year or 2 older. Because it has quite a large amount of swearing and talks of masturbation, it would probably upset a few of my parents. Nevertheless it was written in a way that I couldn’t put it down. The chapters were nice and short, there was no part of the book that I felt was unessesary. Every aspect was crucial to the development of Aristole and Dante.

Lets be real, I could use an Aristotle and a Dante for a friend.

I laughed, I cried, I cheered, I gasped and I booed. Just brilliant!

Well played Benjamin Alire Sáenz.

“I renamed myself Ari.

If I switched the letter, my name was Air.

I thought it might be a great thing to be the air.

I could be something and nothing at the same time. I could be necessary and also invisible. Everyone would need me and no one would be able to see me.”


Side note: I just discovered there is going to be a sequel *runs around screaming*

Rating Report
Overall: five-stars