Benjamin Alire Saenz’s “Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe” is the story of Ari, a fifteen year old who likes to be alone. Like the rest of his family he keeps his thoughts to himself. It isn’t until he meets Dante, a boy who feels everything and is unapologetic about it all, that he beings to change. The two are finding themselves and take the journey together. In the summer heat of Texas these two boys must figure out if their friendship can handle life and all that comes with it or in their case, without.
As you meet these characters you almost feel sorry for them, both of these boys are different from other’s their own age that it almost feels desperate that they become friends. Ari, who is struggling with a father that says almost nothing and a mother who says everything, is just trying to find his own words. Dante has found his words and has no problem using them, but still finds it hard to be around other people. Saenz’s characters are beautifully written and you find yourself feeling so strongly about them.
The character development is slow going, but the story is about more than just them developing. It is about them finding themselves and finding the other people around them. The story flows beautifully and builds to such intense moments that you will find yourself holding your breath if you aren’t already crying your eyes out. This is a wonderful coming-of-age story with a fresh take on friendship and everything that comes with becoming a man and more. I cannot recommend this book more than I do now.
Question For The Comments: Do you remember your first best friend?
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