Review: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe


Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe
By Benjamin Alire Saenz

Source: Gift, e-book
Genres: Young Adult, LGBTQ+, Realistic Fiction

Goodreads Synopsis:
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.

First of all, please don’t let the title put you off this book. Although it’s long and unwieldy, and - in my opinion - could be shortened (mainly so it doesn’t take me forever to type out my post titles!) to something like “The Secrets of the Universe”. However much I dislike the title, I loved the book much more than I expected to! I have heard so many good things about it, and ever since I have read the synopsis I knew I would enjoy it, but not this much! It was very cute, light and fluffy - just what I needed. I almost read it in one sitting.

My favourite thing about it was the way that it was so relentlessly readable. It was the book I never wanted to finish - at one point I actually said out loud “it can’t be so close to the end already?!” I enjoyed the storyline so much, and although nothing much happened, I still enjoyed it a lot.

The characters were also another great element. Aristotle was a really interesting lead - I don’t usually tend to like male narrators as much, but I really enjoyed hearing what he was saying. He was an interesting person, and although at some points he was unrealistic (the metaphors and philosophical monologues sometimes felt like the author was trying too hard), he was original, yet was still down-to-earth and relatable in most parts.

The ending was the main thing that really let this book down for me. I was so disappointed, not just at the fact that the book had ended, but how it had ended. If the ending was different, this book would have easily been a 5 star read. Because I read it on my Kindle, I didn’t know that the last 5% was not part of the story (God it annoys me when that happens), so I was left confused as to why the ending was so abrupt. The actual ending was disappointing - it was very predictable, and the way it happened really irritated me. It was very open ended and didn’t give closure at all.  

Overall, I enjoyed this book so much. If the ending was different, it would have been one of my new favourites, but I liked the majority so much it almost outweighs how much I hated the ending. The characters were instantly loveable and felt like real people, and I really didn’t want this book to end!

Me when finishing:
I need to re-read this soon!

My rating:

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