February 12, 2015

Wicked Review: Aristotle and Dante Discover The Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire-Saenz

Published: February 21, 2012
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers
Acquired: Borrowed Paperback

A lyrical novel about family and friendship from critically acclaimed author 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 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.

How do I even formulate words? Just how?! As of now, I'm typing and pressing the backspace button at the same time because I can't find the words to actually describe the greatness that is this book.

At one point in our lives, whether you're a boy or a girl, you felt so angry while you were growing up. Angry at your parents. Angry at your teachers. Angry at your older siblings. Angry at the waiter who got your order wrong. Just plain angry. You don't know what to do about these pent-up emotions. We were like Aristotle.

I want to have my own Dante. Someone who will show me the secrets of the universe. Someone who'll annoy the heck out of me because he or she is always right. Someone who won't take my crap when I hand it to the world. Someone who will be stupid enough to love me as a real person.

Each character were written so perfectly. They stood out and yet they blended really well with each other. The awards this book was given was well deserved. Sometimes, I'd get intimidated by books with such big awards. I feel like as if those books are only for extremely intellectual people. But it's very simple. It's real. It's epic.

I highly recommend it to you. I swear, you will love it, You will live for this book. You need this book like you need air, water, food and everything.

Benjamin Alire Sáenz (born 16 August 1954) is an award-winning American poet, novelist and writer of children's books. His first novel, Carry Me Like Water was a saga that brought together the Victorian novel and the Latin American tradition of magic realism and received much critical attention. In The Book of What Remains (Copper Canyon Press, 2010), his fifth book of poems, he writes to the core truth of life's ever-shifting memories. Set along the Mexican border, the contrast between the desert's austere beauty and the brutality of border politics mirrors humanity's capacity for both generosity and cruelty. In 2005, he curated a show of photographs by Julian Cardona. He continues to teach in the Creative Writing Department at the University of Texas at El Paso. 


  1. I found this book to be absolutely breath-taking! Definitely a favorite of mine. I;m glad to see other people loving it as well!

    Great review and blog! x.

    1. Thanks, Sophie. :) I'm gonna spread this book around because I want more people to read it and love it like I did.

  2. Wow, this book sounds awesome! I am loving it already! I love how both main characters are boys. That's very rare these days where heroines are popular. :)