Review: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe (Aristotle & Dante #1)

Review: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe (Aristotle & Dante #1)Aristotle and Dante by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
Series: Aristotle and Dante #1
Released by Simon & Schuster on 21 February 2012
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 359
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781442408937
Source: Purchased

amazon • • bookdepository • goodreads


Dante can swim. Ari can't. Dante is articulate and self-assured. Ari has a hard time with words and suffers from self-doubt. Dante gets lost in poetry and art. Ari gets lost in thoughts of his older brother who is in prison. Dante is fair skinned. Ari's features are much darker. It seems that a boy like Dante, with his open and unique perspective on life, would be the last person to break down the walls that Ari has built around himself.

But against all odds, when Ari and Dante meet, they develop a special bond that will teach them the most important truths of their lives, and help define the people they want to be. But there are big hurdles in their way, and only by believing in each other―and the power of their friendship―can Ari and Dante emerge stronger on the other side.

For the past couple of years, I’ve heard a lot of praise for this book with quite possibly the longest title ever. Literally everyone seemed to love this book, and though it wasn’t exactly my genre, I had gotten curious about it. So when I saw it at my local bookstore for a good price, I finally took Aristotle and Dante home with me.

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe tells the story of… well… Aristotle and Dante. They meet one day at the local swimming pool, where Dante teacher Ari to swim. And over the course of a couple of months, the two boys become best friends.

Ok, I had no idea why my brain had made this up, but I was highly convinced this book was going to be a road-trip book. Maybe it was the red pick-up truck on the cover, maybe it was just something I’d overheard, I don’t know why, but this book was totally not what I had expected at all. I also already knew how this book was going to end, so that part of the story was no surprise to me at all. I think these two facts combined were why I didn’t love this book as much as everyone else seemed to do.

I mean yeah, contemporary is totally not my thing, though I still keep picking up contemporary books (I have loved some in the past); but somehow I was kind of bored reading this? It was definitely mostly character driven, and while I never really said I liked one or the other, I do think I would enjoy a plot-driven book a bit more. Or at least a bit of both. It felt to me like this book didn’t really have a plot at all View Spoiler » so at some points, the book just felt a bit too slow. I was actually considering putting it down at around page 100 View Spoiler »

Character-wise, I have to say none of the characters really stood out to me. I neither liked nor hated Ari, but I did like Dante a bit more. I loved the interaction he had with his parents, I loved how he liked reading and drawing. Later on in the book, I started to like Ari a bit more, especially when his interaction with his dad picked up.

But yeah, in the end, I didn’t love this book as much as the rest of the world seemed to. I heard lots of people cried while reading this, but somehow I just can’t imagine which part they cried at. But yeah, I guess this just wasn’t the book for me, alas. I heard there might be a sequel coming out, but I highly doubt I’ll be picking it up, because even though the ending of this book didn’t really feel like an ending View Spoiler », I do think the story is finished, for me at least.

My opinion in one gif: