Author: Benjamin Alire Sáenz
My rating: 4.5 of 5
Aristotle Mendoza (better known as Ari) is fifteen–an awkward, complicated age for anyone–and he has no friends, no social life, and no communications skills. That’s just the way life goes sometimes . . . until he meets Dante, another fifteen-year-old guy. A guy who reads because he likes to, who cares about the fate of birds, who watches the stars in the desert to get away from the city light pollution. Meeting Dante might just change Ari’s life–to the very core of his being.
This is an incredibly brave and beautiful book, both poetic and direct at the same time. The sparse, to-the-point style is perfect for Ari’s character. As he’s going from still-kind-of-a-boy fifteen-year-old to essentially-grown-up-but-not-quite almost-seventeen-year-old, it’s like “I can totally relate to that.” That’s how I feel when I read it, you know? And Dante–I can’t see how anyone could not fall in love with that guy. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe is definitely a character-driven story, which is one of the things I love about it. Do be warned: it’s shounen ai, although it’s pretty mild. The story is really more about the struggles of growing up, though. It’s not a book I would recommend to everyone, but I will likely read it again myself, for what that’s worth.