Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe
by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
Simon & Schuster | February 21, 2012

      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.
I don't know if you're aware, but my former co-blogger has written a review for Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. You can check her review by clicking this link, her review.

I finally know why everyone loves this book. At first, I was terrified that I wasn't going to like this book because of the high expectations I had set. Fortunately, I liked this book. It was a pleasant break from Lolita, which I am petrified of.

The story follows two Hispanic boys named Aristotle and Dante, obviously. The story is told in Aristotle's point of view, who doesn't find himself particularly extraordinary. He meets Dante at the pool one day, and they become friends. Ari and Dante are different people and their differences shape each other into more "mature" people, formative to their adult behavior. It's the cliche: he was ordinary until someone extraordinary came along and changed that. The writing is very simple, and the characters are mature for their age. A reviewer pointed out that the writing is similar to John Green's, and I agree to some degree. Sáenz's style isn't as superfluous, and the characters aren't overly mature like Green's.

The writing is simplistic, although I had moments where I had to reread certain lines to understand what the author was trying to say. It's an honest portrayal of the struggle of finding your identity and transitioning into adulthood. A minor thing that irked me was the "lack of plot." I probably felt this because I primarily read Fantasy novels, and it's not as exciting to read stories where characters aren't off in a magical land fighting evil. It felt weird to read about someone's life and how they discover who they are because it felt like I was intruding. Never going to read a self-discovery book because it's too intimate.

I think my opinions are somewhat bias. If I were to read a different a book of the same genre (Contemporary "Romance") with a similar plot that "accidentally" featured a Caucasian, Heterosexual relationship, I would not have rated it so highly. Two people who are "just friends" trying to keep their relationship platonic, but end up something more is another cliche. 

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