Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

Book - 2014
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Fifteen-year-old Ari Mendoza is an angry loner with a brother in prison, but when he meets Dante and they become friends, Ari starts to ask questions about himself, his parents, and his family that he has never asked before.
Publisher: New York : Simon & Schuster BFYR, 2014
Edition: First Simon & Schuster BFYR paperback edition
Copyright Date: ©2012
ISBN: 9781442408937
Branch Call Number: YA SAENZ
Characteristics: 359 pages ; 21 cm


From Library Staff

This is a beautifully written coming-of-age story about two very different Mexican-American boys coming to terms with their heritage and identities. The unexpected friendship between Ari and Dante is powerful, raw and ultimately transforming. I loved spending time with them and didn't want to say... Read More »

From the critics

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DBRL_BriannaD Sep 14, 2019

Some books are incredibly and inexplicably beautiful. This is one of them. I can't put my finger on what makes this book so special, but I encourage everyone to give it a try for themselves.

Aug 06, 2019

"Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe" is comically relatable, funny and shares important morals everyone needs to know. The book explores the friendship (or is it something more?) between two incoming freshmen in Texas: Aristotle and Dante. As their relationship develops, they get to know each other, and, in the process, know themselves. A fabulous read for tweens and up, wanting to understand more about different worlds. I quite enjoyed the book. I believe that Saenz has crafted a universe for the characters inside of this masterpiece of literature. It is exactly the kind of reading we should push our younger generation to read.

i force everyone i possibly can to read this amazing book. ive read it 7+ times

Jun 25, 2019

This was an easy read but a great story. I wasn't sure what to expect going into it but two of my friends highly recommended it. The characters were relatable and really grew throughout the story. It felt like I was getting a glimpse of a real family with real family problems. Dante and Aristotle are great characters and have a beautiful friendship. Saenz's writing really transported me to El Paso and to summer.

Jun 18, 2019

I enjoyed this book. It was a very well written.

Jun 04, 2019

It felt wonderful to walk into an LGBT book without a lot of the typical trope drama. These boys talked to their parents, each other, and themselves in a way I've never seen in teen literature before. The story felt a little disjointed to me, I just couldn't feel as connected to it as I do to many books. But it was definitely a nice change of pace. Anyone looking for a bit of a soft novel to curl up with, and needing something different from many of the sad LGBT books that I've been reading recently, will appreciate this novel. It was a three- or four-hour read for me and could be considered a mild time commitment.

May 18, 2019


Hillsboro_ElenaG May 06, 2019

A lovely and timeless coming of age story about friendship, the hard introspective work of figuring out what sort of human you are and what sort you want to be, seeing your parents as flawed and beautiful human beings, growing up and growing together.

JCLBeckyC Apr 29, 2019

This unconventional love story belongs on a list of novels with the best last lines. It leaves me smiling and completely satisfied. And wanting to star gaze in the desert in a 50s-era Chevy pickup.

Jan 31, 2019

What a fantasatic read! This book has a great mix of characters. Dante is perhaps one of the quirkiest characters I've ever encountered in fiction while Ari is so relatable in the guard he has built between himself and the world. But what I loved most about this book is the portrayal of both boys' familiy circles. They are supportive and accepting. Like the best parents, they accept and embrace their children for who they are! It is wonderful to see books with LGBTQ characters with positive family dynamics!

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Add a Quote
Laura_X Aug 03, 2018

The summer sun was not meant for boys like me. Boys like me belonged to the rain.

Nov 18, 2017

"Do you remember the summer of the rain...You must let everything fall that wants to fall. —Karen Fiser”

Jul 08, 2015

All I did was smile at him. He'd told me something about himself. I was happy
Ari (pg.66)

Aug 18, 2013

"Smiles are like that. They come and go."

Violet_Lion_31 Jul 03, 2013

"Scars. A sign that you had been hurt. A sign thst you had been healed."

Violet_Lion_31 Jul 03, 2013

"And me, I always felt that I didn't belong anywhere. I didn't even belong in my own body - especially in my own body. I was changing into someone I didn't know. The change hurt but I didn't know why it hurt. And nothing about my own emotions made any sense."

JCLChrisK Apr 30, 2013

To be careful with people and with words was a rare and beautiful thing.

JCLChrisK Apr 30, 2013

I had a rule that it was better to be bored by yourself than to be bored with someone else. I pretty much lived by that rule. Maybe that's why I didn't have any friends.

JCLChrisK Apr 30, 2013

I didn't understand how you could live in a mean world and not have any of that meanness rub off on you. How could a guy live without meanness?

JCLChrisK Apr 30, 2013

See, the thing about guys is that I didn't really care to be around them. I mean, guys really made me uncomfortable. I don't know why, not exactly. I just, I don't know, I just didn't belong. I think it embarrassed the hell out of me that I was a guy. And it really depressed me that there was the distinct possibility that I was going to grow up and be like one of those assholes.

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Add Age Suitability
Jun 12, 2019

theythem thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

Jul 13, 2018

KaylaAlexander thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

May 16, 2017

cllehman thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

homarrmirezz Feb 24, 2017

homarrmirezz thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

Aug 19, 2015

VV12 thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

bootsandcats Apr 29, 2015

bootsandcats thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

BklynAllisonA Oct 16, 2014

BklynAllisonA thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

Jun 26, 2014

jroxy49 thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

Violet_Lion_31 Jul 03, 2013

Violet_Lion_31 thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over


Add a Summary
olive_bird_01 Jul 22, 2015

Through their friendship, Dante and Ari find the courage to become who they really are.

Jul 08, 2015

Ari doesn't know how to swim, but that doesn't stop him from going to the pool everyday. Thank god he does though cause this is where Dante enters, saying he can teach Ari how to swim. Soon there friendship starts turning into something Ari didn't think could happen.


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