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

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

byBenjamin Alire Saenz

Paperback | April 1, 2014

see the collection LGBTQ+ Teen Reads

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This Printz Honor Book is a “tender, honest exploration of identity” (Publishers Weekly) that distills lyrical truths about family and friendship.

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.
Title:Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the UniverseFormat:PaperbackProduct dimensions:368 pages, 8.25 × 5.5 × 1 inShipping dimensions:8.25 × 5.5 × 1 inPublished:April 1, 2014Publisher:Simon & Schuster Books for Young ReadersLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1442408936

ISBN - 13:9781442408937

Appropriate for ages: 12


Rated 5 out of 5 by from Poetic Easily one of the most poetic novels I've read EVER! Would have wanted a little bit more development on the latter part (nearing the end), but overall, still a great piece of LGBT literature.
Date published: 2019-06-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautiful The story is riveting, poetic, and moving. A great LGBT find. There is humor and heart-warming scenes, then heartbreak and somber scenes. And again, the writing is simple at times and incredibly poetic at others.
Date published: 2019-02-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Brilliant, Touching, Unforgetable I read a lot but this book moved me. It breaks your heart at the perfect beauty of it all. It has love, friendship, coming of age, and family. It has pain, and it has triumph. And generally a powerful love that bonds so strong nothing in the universe could ever break it. Ari is a loner, he's secretive, and he hides himself from the world. Then there's Dante, who is open about love and about life. I really can't explain the intense friendship they forge and how Ari comes out of his shell. Because of Dante, we see the amazing Ari. And in turn, Ari is able to face the one thing he has been running from: love.
Date published: 2019-01-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from in love with this book honestly, words can't explain how amazing this book was. ari and dante are just such beautiful characters, and their families as well. this book broke me, but also slowly pieced me back together.
Date published: 2018-08-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great book! This was a beautifully written book, and is still one of my favourites to this day!
Date published: 2018-08-28
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Really loved this story 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.
Date published: 2018-08-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing While the shortness of the chapters surprised me at first,but then I fell in love with the style and the words and the emotions of it all. And the characters. I have never felt so connected to a main character in my life. I loved Ari. I felt that he was a part of me I keep hidden from the world, and Dante was a part that I wanted to be and expose for once. Self confident, sure, brave, open. Happy. I will never forget this book and how it made me analyze myself. (And what can I say, I'm a sucker for books that don't end in the conventional boy girl, man woman, hero and heroine fashion.)
Date published: 2018-07-30
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Lovely This book is sweet and easy to read! The characters are well developed and the story itself is very heartwarming (albeit heavy at times). I read it in one day and it made me smile from ear-to-ear.
Date published: 2018-07-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Absolutely beautiful I had screenshotted so many quotes from this book on Instagram, until i finally got my hands on it. It is such a a touchy story and featured so many lines that were absolutely beautiful to read. Ari's perspective was unique to most books I read, but was completely relatable to me.
Date published: 2018-07-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautiful I loved the way the story was written. The author made the characters very relatable.
Date published: 2018-07-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Incredibly touching This book was an incredible journey from beginning to end. It had me laughing, crying, and feeling for the characters so much it almost hurt. The relationship that forms in this book is one of the most beautiful I've ever seen written in a YA novel, and this was really a breath of fresh air in the genre for me.
Date published: 2018-06-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautiful Became one of my favorites! Aristotle and Dante’s relationship is beautiful. This book is rich and gives so much to the reader.
Date published: 2018-06-20
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Loved this book! Yay! I loved this! Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe is set in 1987 in El Paso, Texas. It's summer and Ari, who has never been very good at making friends, is trying to pass away the time on his own when he meets Dante at the local pool. Dante seems to get a long with everyone and is well liked, but he's never really been great at having friends either and the two boys strike up a friendship. Ari struggles to connect with people and is frustrated by his parents refusal to talk about his older brother who has been in prison for most of his life. Dante has a close relationship with his parents, but he struggles with his identity - who he is, what he loves, and what it means to be Mexican. This was one of those soft spoken books that isn't very plot driven, but develops some really beautiful characters. It does have some shocking plot elements that push the story forward, but ultimately it's a coming of age story about friends, family, and identity. I love YA books that have a strong family element, especially one that built around understanding and love, rather than conflict and rebellion, which I'd say is probably more popular in YA. I love Ari and Dante's parents in this book and the relationships that they all built with one another, how they developed and grew over the course of the book. In some ways it felt like a slow-build kind of book, but at the same time I found it hard to put down. I don't want to give any of the story away, I think it's a good book to go into blind. I did and I really enjoyed the experience.
Date published: 2018-06-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautiful This book is a great example of good lgbt+ representation and deals with heavy topics extremely well. Really glad I read it
Date published: 2018-06-07
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Amazing book Beautifully written. The reader will love the Dante and Ari right away. Their friendship and relationship is beautiful.
Date published: 2018-05-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from beautiful This is one that hits you in the feels from the first chapter. I have never related so much to a character before reading this book. It's a slow read, with not so much plot going, it is all about the characters, the relationship, the family dynamics and everything in between. And Dante is a friend everyone should have!
Date published: 2018-05-03
Rated 4 out of 5 by from loved the vibe this book had such a good, healing overall vibe that I adored sooo much! Dante is the sweetest kid ever and I love Ari so much. the writing of this book was really amazing too and I finished this in two sittings, only because it was late and I HAD to put it down
Date published: 2018-04-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Heartwarming storytelling that reads like poetry The first copy I read of this book was borrowed from the public library. It was so captivating I couldn't put it down! I read it all in one day and then later ended up buying my own copy so I could re-read it and highlight my favorite parts. My absolute favorite adventure book!
Date published: 2018-03-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Surprisingly Addicting! I absolutely loved this book! The characters were my favourite thing about the story. I finished it in one night and wished it would never end! It was surprisingly addicting. The writing was simple but it was supposed to be. It really felt like we are in the Ari's mind. I loved it!
Date published: 2018-03-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from This was an amazing book <3 This book is amazing. It deals with LGBT+ things in a good way. It's not what the book is based around, it's just a part of it. They make it normal. The characters are beautiful, and you get so much character development. 10/10
Date published: 2018-02-15
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Fabulous Amazing. The friendship between Aristotle and Dante was beautiful and i LOVED it.
Date published: 2018-02-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Beautiful Book This book is an all-time favourite of mine. In it, we get to follow the growth that Aristotle and Dante experience together. This is a beautifully written character driven book that I recommend to anyone. I have read this book many times in the past, and I plan to many times in the future as well.
Date published: 2018-01-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Best Book!! I loved this book from cover to cover. I recommended it to all my friends. I even cried at the end, not because it was sad, because it was just suck an amazing read! True art.
Date published: 2018-01-02
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great book. A little slow in the beginning but eventually becomes a beautiful novel.
Date published: 2017-11-28
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Loved It If you are just beginning this book, and you feel as though it is off to a bit of a slow start, believe me, KEEP READING. Solid plot and adorable ending.
Date published: 2017-11-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wow I was not expecting to love this book this much. It was simple, but heartwarming and beautiful. #plumreview
Date published: 2017-11-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautiful Coming Of Age Story There is a fair bit of hype going around when it comes to this book. Most of the time, the hype kills the book, because it can never be as good as it’s been made out to be. However, this book is definitely the exception to the rule. This book is absolutely beautiful, inside and out, and worthy of every award that is printed on it’s gorgeous cover. I went into this book not knowing a whole lot about it. Honestly, I had bought it because I am in love with the cover, and had heard some general, good things about it. It sat on my shelf for a few weeks, just because not knowing about it, it was never the next thing I was particular keen to read. Finally, I picked it up, and I fell in love within the first few chapters. Definitely one of my favourite books of this year. The Good Points of Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe: This book handles the LGBT subject matter in the most beautiful way. And by that, I mean that this book isn’t about being gay, and it doesn’t make a big deal out of it. Not to say it isn’t addressed or there aren’t people who are against it in the story. But it’s handled like any other romance, regardless of the gender of the characters, and that in itself made for a lovely story. The characters in this book, both Ari and Dante and the adults, are well developed, and have lots of depth. There isn’t a whole lot of plot to this story, so it’s the characters that make it work. And they do a wonderful job of it. I loved the focus on family in this book. When was the last time we got a young adult novel that had a strong family theme? I loved seeing how Dante and Ari interacted with their own families and with each other. And the way the secrets within the families were revealed was perfectly paced and given out just when you needed them. The language and the writing in this book was amazing. It was one of those books that I marked with pencil and page flags, because there so many lines I wanted to be able to go back and read again and again. The Downsides of Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe: For the first half or so of the story, neither Ari nor Dante seemed like they were fifteen years old. Twelve maybe. They just came across as kids, and maybe that was the point. By the time the second summer comes around, they did seem to act their age and respond appropriately. It was just a little strange at the beginning. It was a little tricky to keep track of who was speaking which lines at a few parts of the story. A few names or indicators would have made it a lot easier to keep track of who was making what statement. All in all, I absolutely loved this book. It was a beautiful coming of age story, and I can’t wait until I am able to read it again. I highly recommend it to everyone.
Date published: 2017-10-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from FANTASTIC This book is so beautifully written. This story is something that will stick with me for a very long time.
Date published: 2017-10-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of the most adorable stories that I've ever read! This book is definitely on my top five favourite books of all time! Aristotle's character is so complex and sweet! Dante is just an angel! I love them so much and I cannot wait for the sequel!
Date published: 2017-10-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it Such a great story of growth and development, you can really connect with the characters. Definitely amazing!
Date published: 2017-09-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Flawless This is a fantastic novel. A great coming of age story with fantastic characters. A super breezy read, I read it in one sitting because I couldn't tear myself from the page. Reminds me a lot of Chaim Potok's "The Chosen," and I think it'll be a classic in high school classrooms in the near future.
Date published: 2017-09-12
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Wish I had this as a teen. This book was lovely. Beautifully written. I wish I had more book like this when I was in High School. The audio Book with Lin Manuel Mirranda is also a must.
Date published: 2017-09-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautifully written Great book with a happy ending.
Date published: 2017-09-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Adorable!!! This was such a cute novel featuring incredibly likable main characters. It's set in the 80's and it deals with the friendship between the 2 characters, Aristotle and Dante. Definitely worth reading!!
Date published: 2017-08-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great coming of age book A beautiful story and great coming of age tale for any kid who has ever wondered where they fit in in their world.
Date published: 2017-08-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Surprising and unique This book was one I could not put down. The writing was beautiful and the story surprising and deep. A wonderful story of growing up different. Must read!!!!
Date published: 2017-07-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Soooo beautiful This book is really one of the most beautiful book i've ever read. The story was beautiful and touching. It was more than just a love story. Also the writing in this book is just amazing. You can really see that this author was a poet before.
Date published: 2017-07-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Absolutely loved this book!! I ordered this book online after hearing so many good things about it and I was NOT disappointed. It is such a sweet story and (to me) a very quick read. Would definitely recommend this book to anyone looking for a good book to read!
Date published: 2017-07-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from one of the best books you'll ever read this is by far my favourite book. it's an honest portrayal of friendship, love, and one of the best lgbt books i've read
Date published: 2017-06-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautiful Development Such a heartwarming story about these two boys from start to finish, with a poetic style of writing
Date published: 2017-06-28
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Aristotle and Dante A well-written coming of age story. #plumreview
Date published: 2017-06-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Heartwarming I loved Aristotle and Dante discover the secrets of the universe. It was an incredible tale and a heartwarming romance
Date published: 2017-06-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from beautiful One of the most beautifully written books i've ever read.
Date published: 2017-05-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing work of YA literature This is a beautifully simple story that focuses primarily on characterization. It is thoughtful, heartbreaking, and grounded in the complexities of young adult friendships. This is one of my favourites and I teach it each year to grade 8 & 9 students. Also a work of LGBTQ fiction! Awesome.
Date published: 2017-05-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of my favorite books The style of writing is very quick yet so profound which makes the book something to remember long after you've read it. I absolutely adored the two boys (Aristotle and Dante) their relationship is not the smoothest but yet so beautiful.
Date published: 2017-05-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Absolutely shook I came for the gays. I did not leave disappointed. It's so incredibly well written and the characters are developed so nicely. This book both killed me and revived me at the same time and I need a sequel asap
Date published: 2017-05-04
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great Read A very interesting coming of age story that touches upon friendship, romance, growing up and the confusion that arises from the unsaid parts of discovering who you are and where you belong in the world.
Date published: 2017-04-17
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Amazing I fell in love with this instantly.
Date published: 2017-04-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from So amazing This book was written so beautifully and the characters were so well developed. I could not put this book down.
Date published: 2017-04-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from so so good Please give this a read! You will not regret it.
Date published: 2017-03-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from i'm trembling "there are worse things in the world than boys who like to kiss other boys". i died and came back to life so many times while reading this. where is the sequel
Date published: 2017-03-10
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Beautifully written A great coming of age story told with depth and understanding.
Date published: 2017-02-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of my faves I love this book. This is one of my favourite books over any genre. It's incredibly sweet as well as an easy but engrossing read. Relatable and well done.
Date published: 2017-02-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Masterpiece Do me a favour and bury me with this book
Date published: 2017-02-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from This book is my favourite book of all time. The writing and characters of this story make it so memorable. The writing is so beautiful and captures the characters so well. However, if you're looking for an exciting story, this isn't the book for you. It really focuses and the characters and their feelings. If that's something you're into reading, this is a beautiful story that I would recommend over and over again.
Date published: 2017-02-18
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Beautifully written 4.5 stars for the poetic prose and the lovely but quirky friendship between Ari & Dante. :) Loved the dynamic between them and both of their parents. The secondary characters were okay but I didn't like them so much. Again, this author is an amazing writer. Definitely teared up while reading some of the chapters.
Date published: 2017-02-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautiful! Honestly, I had no idea what i was getting myself into when i picked this book up, but it blew me away. It's such a great coming of age novel that is so refreshing as it focuses no only on the characters relationships, but also about aspects such as mental health and family dynamics.
Date published: 2017-02-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from All of the feels! The year that I read this it immediately became my favorite read of the entire year. This novel still holds up as one of my favorites of all time. It's an amazing and beautiful story. I always struggle to find the words to express just how much I love it...that's just how good it is! The story is very character driven and both Ari and Dante are amazingly depicted and fleshed out throughout the novel. They each have very distinctive and distinguishable voices and personalities. This book is just so happy-making! #plumreview
Date published: 2017-02-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from awesome book! this book was amazing! the relationship between ari and dante is wonderful!
Date published: 2017-02-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from liked this book a lot Maybe 4.5 stars**? I have mixed feelings about this book. It was beautiful and I really liked it, but i also felt like it was a little boring and I didn't have the problem of "I can't put this book down!!" It was a great book and I really liked it, maybe just not the best book out there :) I loved the ending though it was so satisfying and made me happy
Date published: 2017-02-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A beautiful story. OH MY GOODNESS I'M GONNA CRY ESPECIALLY BECAUSE OF THAT BEAUTIFUL HEARTWARMING FLUTTERY FLUFF OF HAPPINESS ENDING. IT COULDN'T HAVE ENDED MORE BEAUTIFULLY. Dante and Ari are so adorable and intriguing, fun characters to read about. Dante is very admirable with his uncensored and lovable personality. Ari is imaginative, a deep thinker; just as lovable as Dante. he's one of those people you just want to hug. Their chemistry and the ways that they were similar and different to each other was just perfect. I can't explain how much I loved them individually and together. This is such a hearty story. Heartwarming, heartbreaking, heartfelt. And the realistic personal wars that each of the characters fought and the way it was all portrayed and written was so beautiful and lyrical. <b><i>"He looked so happy and I wondered about that, his capacity for happiness. Where did that come from? Did I have that kind of happiness inside of me?"</i></b>
Date published: 2017-01-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of my all time favourite books bought this without really knowing what to expect, and it has easily become one of my favourite books of all time! it was absolutely phenomenal and heartwarming, could not put it down. the book doesn't really have a plot, it's more structured around the characters. a really great self-discovery and identity book! i've read this over 5 times and found myself bawling my eyes out each time :)
Date published: 2017-01-23
Rated 4 out of 5 by from ARISTOTLE AND DANTE DISCOVER THE SECRETS OF THE UNIVERSE Wow, this was pure perfection! I started out reading this book with a neutral mind. I thought it was going to be good, but I didn't think it was going to be as brilliant as it turned out to be.Honestly, there are some books that you shouldn't live without reading and this is one of them. Clever, realistic, touching, funny, and endearing! A must read!
Date published: 2017-01-21
Rated 3 out of 5 by from it was fine This was a good book. And the idea of it was beautiful, and the message from it was beautiful, but as a book, I didn't think it was beautiful. It was a good book. Sure. I enjoyed reading it. But it didn't blow me away. I'm glad that I read it, and I'm glad that the author wrote about this the way that he did, but I didn't fall in love. I didn't like the way that it was written. I didn't like the short sentences and the choppy dialogue. I didn't like that I didn't know who was talking half the time because there was so much back and forth without any 'he saids'. The story was good. What happened in the story was good. How it came together was good. but to me, it just wasn't as special as everyone else thinks it was.
Date published: 2017-01-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Touching! The story of Ari and Dante is one that has not left me. Highly, highly recommend!
Date published: 2017-01-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Heart-warming. This book means a lot to me..I felt as if I knew both Aristotle and Dante personally and it really moved me. This book is so beautifully written and makes my heart happy.
Date published: 2017-01-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Must Read This book is quite simply beautiful. I read it in a single sitting. There really isn't much of a 'plot' or an event that the story wraps itself around. The book is about a boy. A boy who struggles with his identity, his sexuality, his heritage, who is learning to love himself and others. The setting of the book is lovely, the pacing is wonderful. But more than anything, I fell in love with the characters. It really reiterated how magical books are - I have nothing in common with Aristotle, and yet I could still relate to him and see pieces of myself in him. All in all, this book is heart breaking, heart warming, and will stick with you long after the final page. #plumreview
Date published: 2017-01-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from beautiful such a heart touching store, had me in tears multiple times #plumreview
Date published: 2017-01-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing Book I bought this book about 2 years ago and I have read it many times since then. It's definitely my favourite book.
Date published: 2016-12-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from MUST READ This book makes usually hard-to-digest topics so easy to read that you will find yourself flipping through the pages endlessly until you reach the end. I was about 2 chapters in and had already begun to recommend it to everyone!
Date published: 2016-12-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing! It's so refreshing to read a unique coming-of-age love story about two people who are not only POC, but also LGBT! Amazing read.
Date published: 2016-12-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from READ THIS BOOK This might just be the best book I've read in 2016. There is not much plot to speak of, it's more just following the two main characters through their lives. The relationships in this book are touching and realistic.
Date published: 2016-11-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Gorgeous The Greatest of the Modern Love Stories: Two racialized boys who learn that only they can determine their relationship. It's real yet remains epic in its scope and it turns it from a YA novel to a classic. It's a story of friendship, identity, love, growing up, and discovering the universe.
Date published: 2016-11-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from BUY IT AND READ IT i really wish i could give this novel infinity stars because that's what it deserves. this novel is so beautiful. i love it so much and i'm still wondering why I haven't read it sooner. i love dante and ari so much it hurts, ok, they have become my favourite characters and i already want to read this book over again. this book has passed the outsiders (my old favourite book) and i'm so happy about it. i can't stop crying. wtf. but basically since i hit page 300+ i haven't stopped crying or wanting to. i needed to take so many breaks reading this because it either made me too happy i couldn't think or too sad i couldn't read through my tears. thank you benjamin alire sáenz for writing such a beautiful, amazing and heart warming book.
Date published: 2016-11-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very Sweet Book It's amazing, such a good story. The friendship between the characters and the characters themselves are well-developed and dynamic. It's really nice, plus if you're looking for an lgbtq+ book, this is the one.
Date published: 2016-11-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Such a good story! Already read it twice and still would go back and do it again.
Date published: 2016-11-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Brilliant! If I could give more than 5 stars, I would ! Friend, if you wonder if you should pick this book, do it. Do it. This book is a blessing, I promise you cannot regret it.
Date published: 2016-11-06
Rated 4 out of 5 by from wow so much character development and unique writing-style. highly recommend!
Date published: 2016-11-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A real page-turner! This book was wonderful. The characters were very well-developed and the story was sweet. Definitively would recommend reading it.
Date published: 2016-11-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Bookshelf Staple Very cute friendship to romance story. I love the voice that all the characters have despite having one POV character. Very good for people growing up thinking that their weird for not knowing who they are yet.
Date published: 2015-11-17

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Editorial Reviews

“Benjamin Alire Saenz is a writer with a sidewinder punch. Spare sentences connect resonant moments, and then he knocks you down with emotional truth. The story of Ari and Dante’s friendship widens and twists like a river, revealing truths about how hard love is, how family supports us, and how painfully deep you have to go to uncover an authentic self.”