Wow, it has been such a long time since I’ve written a review. Luckily, today I’m going to be starting with one of my newest favorites: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. After years of hearing recommendations for this book, I finally read it. And OH MY GODS. Why did I wait so long? Now, let’s see if I can convince you guys to read this book and love it as much as I did.
According to Goodreads: 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.
In the beginning of the book, I thought that this was just going to be your typical coming-of-age story. It starts out in a typical way, a bored boy in the summer. Boy meets other boy. Boys become friends. Sound mundane right? However, I fell in love with both Ari and Dante. Ari is originally someone who would usually be categorized as An Unlikeable Character, but his cynicism and “realness” eventually made him grow on me. As the narrator, his relatively straightforward manner was really refreshing. Additionally, it was such a joy watch him slowly open up and shed his armor around Dante. On the other hand, Dante was one of the characters who I just instantly liked. His intellect and positive attitude drew me in and just wouldn’t let me go. I also admired how unapologetic and candid he was. Honestly, I aspire to have Dante’s disposition and outlook on life. I also really appreciated that although this book has intersectional diversity (Latinx and LGBTQIAP+), I didn’t find that it was solely about those components. Rather, it was naturally woven into the story and the boys’ identities, a large part of them but not the sole focus. Finally, I also really appreciated that the family bonds, especially those of the parents and the boys, were discussed quite a bit. I wish more books explored parental relationships like this book did, showing all the different sides.
The plot of this book is not by any means horrible, and the pacing is perfect, but there are not exactly any crazy twists. Instead, at its heart, this book really is a character driven book. This is truly Ari’s and Dante’s story, and the fact that this book is so focused on them allows for a lot more emotion and touching moments. The language of this book was honestly so beautiful and just really spoke to me. It’s written in prose, which I think allows for a lot more freedom of expression, and it’s crafted in such a way that just pulls you in, that’s almost poetic. I actually cried at the end, but not for the reasons you might think. This is the first book I’ve ever read that made me cry in happiness. There were so many “gem” moments, and by the end of the book my heart just felt so full, like it was about to burst from happiness.
As you can probably tell, I absolutely adore this book, so much so that it’s kind of hard to put my love into words. I definitely recommend this book to everyone. I mean everyone. If you haven’t read it, go read it now! You’ll wonder why you waited so long to read this gem. If you have read it, I think it just may be time for a reread…