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

 Aristotle and Dante

This was an amazing read, I can’t believe I didn’t pick up this book sooner. It’s one I have seen being mentioned on social media sites, book blogs and goodreads, so I knew it was going to be a great read however I wasn’t entirely sure what it was about.

Aristotle and Dante are two teenage boys who meet each other one summer day at the swimming pool, it doesn’t take long for their relationship to develop and before long they become friends. However each boy is different, Dante is outgoing, smart and confident whilst Aristotle is an introvert, an observer and a thinker. Throughout the plot their personalities compliment each other and the reader can watch their relationship develop. It is a beautiful and intriguing read.

I really liked the characters as many of the lost feelings Aristotle had reminded me of being that age and not fully knowing where you fit in with people at school, at home or even friends. I loved Dante’s fun and confident personality, he was such an interesting character to follow as well as Aristotle because individually I wouldn’t have imagined a successful relationship between them but they each brought something different to their friendship.

The plot was well paced and the reader follows the space of a year as Dante and Aristotle’s relationship faces it’s challenges. I loved the layout of this book as the chapters are all different lengths, some being only a page. The plot is also layered out in time frames within a large section and from Aristotle’s viewpoint. Normally I would find this odd as you see the world through one character’s perspective and as Dante is the more extroverted of the two I would love to have learned what went on in his head. However I think this would make a great second book, and I wonder what direction it will head in.

I think a great asset of this book is the writing style, it’s very easy to read and follow. I found myself flying through this plot, I didn’t want to put it down as I really enjoyed the fluidity and pace. The different references to art and literature kept me intrigued and the running Mexican theme was interesting too. I don’t know much about Mexican culture or heritage so I was interested in Dante and Aristotle’s links, there feelings towards their family connections and language.

I can’t deny that I absolutely loved this book, the plot, the characters and the writing. It’s a definite 5 stars out of 5 for me on goodreads. I find it funny though from the blurb it sounds like there isn’t a lot going on in the plot but I found the book addictive. It is a real, relationship centred storyline and I can honestly say I would love to read more about the characters.

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