Meet the young adult must-read book to add to your list: Aristotle and Dante discover the secrets of the Universe. Written by author Benjamin Alire Sáenz, this YA fiction is alluringly beautiful.
Aristotle and Dante Discover The Secrets Of The Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
"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 spend time together, they discover they share a special friendship—the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime.
And it is through this friendship, Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves and the people they want to be."
My thoughts about this book
“I bet you could sometimes find all the mysteries of the universe in someone's hand.”
I guess this statement is enough to make you read this astonishing book. There’s something strange about this book. It attracts the reader to the universe where two Mexican boys, Aristotle (who goes by the name Ari) and Dante, are discovering the secrets of this gigantic universe. A
s a reader, I felt connected to the story and could sense the urgency of anything happening to the characters in the book. The story was pretty simple, yet unique. The enticing sensation of attachment that I felt while reading was something undesirable.
The story revolves around Aristotle, a 15-year-old boy struggling to get through the phase of becoming a boy to a man while dodging the fact that his older brother is in prison, and his father fought in a war that he never talks about. Ari’s struggles to be not exactly like his brother are utterly convincing. His relationship with his mother was something that one cannot ignore. It stated the fact that every mother in the universe is special and would do anything for the sake of her child. The story was decent-paced until Ari meets Dante in a swimming pool where Dante offers to teach Ari swimming, to which Ari agrees. A loner boy who thinks he’s nothing but a waste meets a happy and intelligent boy. What’s going to happen next? This question motivated me to find out more and more about them.
Their bond was something that one can’t describe. They become best friends eventually, but one summer everything changes as they survive a grimacing accident that changes their lives in ways they couldn’t have imagined. But somehow, they get past all that and lead a normal life while Ari works at a burger joint flipping burgers and Dante flies to Chicago with his family for an entire year.
The story also reflects the conflict that arises between teenagers about their sexuality. This conflict plays a vital role in the book, as Dante finds he would much rather enjoy kissing boys than girls. Ari doesn’t understand Dante and continues to discover the secret about his brother.
In the end, after some misfortunate and happy events, both Ari and Dante discover the most expected secret of the universe, i.e. love. They were more than just best friends, which their parents help them realize, and the story ends with a cheerful note while they watch stars in the sky at their favorite spot in the desert.
I really appreciated the ending, and how the author made them approve of their feelings for each other. There was something strange about this book. I can’t put it down. It is really a page-turner that will ensure you finish this book in the least possible time.
Teachings from the book
- Everyone is fighting their own war.
Just like Ari’s father, everyone’s fighting his/her own war. It may not be a physical war, but an emotional one. Like Ari’s mother was fighting the war to forget every memory of “Bernardo” (Ari’s older brother), his father was fighting the war to come past the trauma that the war left him with. Ari was fighting his own war from becoming a boy to a man. Dante was fighting a war about his sexuality.
So, everyone is fighting his/her own war and the least we can do is respect and support them to win this war.
- Silence is not always the answer.
Silence may be a good option but it’s not always the answer, it may ruin some well-established relationships as it did with Ari and his parents. They never talked about Bernardo, which made Ari feel like he never had a brother. That silence about his brother did nothing but give birth to the chaos that ultimately disturbed his parents' relations.
So, sitting and talking about things is better than staying silent and letting it kill you from the inside.
- A best friend is better than a thousand friends.
A best friend is way better than a thousand friends. The loner boy Ari had no friends until Dante came along and introduced him to the bright side of life. They became best friends and developed that special bond that one cannot put in words. And because of their friendship, Ari saves Dante from the car. That was not a thought, but an impulse to save his pristine best friend from dying.
So, don’t seek thousands of friends and settle for that one best friend who’s always there for you, no matter what.
- It’s all right to be curious about your sexuality at this age.
It’s completely normal to keep exploring your sexuality, it’s not a nefarious activity. Dante was also curious about what it'd be like to kiss a girl, so he kissed a girl. Later, the thought of kissing a boy crossed his mind, which made him question his sexuality, which is completely normal. As a result, he was sure of his undying love for Ari and they had a happy ending.
So, if you aren’t completely sure about your sexuality, then just go out there and explore what you’re missing.
Now that we’ve understood what the story was about and discovered some secrets of this universe, it’s time to wrap it up. The writing style was straightforward and kept me hooked till the end. It mainly focused on the life of a teen’s journey to becoming an adult and what factors may affect his/her growth. The story was simple, yet unique in a good way. It has the potential to take you to its world and make you witness everything right in front of your eyes. So, if you haven’t read this book, then what are you waiting for? Go read this egregious yet enticing piece of literature.