Review: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, by Benjamin Alire Saenz


To be careful with people and with words was a rare and beautiful thing.

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. 

(I used the Goodreads summary because I would have given the whole book away, trust me).

I don’t even know where to start with this book, because it was so beautiful and simple but it kept me turning the pages until before I knew it, I was done. Ari and Dante are both incredibly written characters with depth, and seemed so alive to me throughout the book. It’s no wonder at all that I’ve heard nothing but great things about this one, and that its won so many awards. I really don’t know what else to say about this aside from READ IT. Especially if you don’t think YA is for you, or if you’ve given up on it, like I had before reading this. Aristotle and Dante is so much more than just a coming-of-age story, and I think it would be really important for students to read in high school as they struggle with figuring out who they are and who they want to be.

I read this just in time to review it for Aarti’s #diversiverse challenge, in which you read and review at least one book by a diverse author between September 14 – 27. It’s a great way to expand your reading horizons and diversify your shelves! You can check out the rest of the posts and participants by clicking the link.


I could not recommend this book any higher. It is full of beautiful quotes, and moments that will likely make you nostalgic for your own teenage years and the friends you had.

I was in love with the innocence of dogs, the purity of their affection. They didn’t know enough to hide their feelings. They existed. A dog was a dog. There was such a simple elegance about being a dog that I envied.

I thought it might be a great thing to be the air. I could be something and nothing all at the same time. I could be necessary and also invisible. Everyone would need me and no one would be able to see me.

Have you read Aristotle and Dante? Did you love it as much as I did?


  1. I have heard good things about this one. I will have to read it sometime soon. I think I have asked you this before about another book, but is it good for a 13 year old girl?

  2. I read this book earlier this summer on audio and loved it, too! I agree – it’s pretty special. and that cover!

    I linked this post to the links post on my blog, too, just so all the other participants can see your review, too 🙂

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