Today’s review is about the most beautiful book I’ve read in a while. Here’s Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, by Benjamin Alire Sáenz.
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The hype surrounding this title is freaking unbelievable. There doesn’t seem to exist a person who dislikes this book, specially on Tumblr. I was mostly drawn by its cover. Such a beautiful work of illustration and design combined! Those huge stickers break my heart but it doesn’t seem to exist an edition without them. I also found the title really fascinating. At first, I even thought it was really about the philosopher and the writer! Later only did I know about the main subject of the book.
Benjamin Alire Sáenz is an american writer (poet and novelist). This book isn’t his first but it’s, by far, the most popular.
Aristotle (or Ari, like he likes to be called) is an angry teenager with an older brother in prison and Dante has a very specific way to look at everything in the world. Although they seem so distinct, these two boys meet and begin one of those friendships that could last forever and ever.
I have to admit a couple of things before fully talking about this book. I never before read a book with romantic interest between two boys and I never have read a book with hispanic protagonists. So that makes my reading of this book even more special, even though there really isn’t a limit of things I loved about it.
Sometimes, I can’t bear to deal with ramblings between the story. That happens a lot in this book. Ari often looses himself in thoughts of life and its great mysteries and secrets. In most books, this would probably make me terribly bored but it definitely wasn’t the case. Ari is created in such a way, I just wanted to hear all his doubts and insecurities about existing.
Sáenz has an undeniable talent for writing. It’s something completely notorious throughout this book. His style isn’t the most conventional one but it isn’t completely new. There’s some bits here and there that bring his work to another level.
My absolute favourite thing about this book was the characters. I never knew fifteen year old boys this sensitive. Both Ari and Dante are so special and particular. I fell in love with them, I don’t even think I ever came across such beautifully created characters. They jump from the pages and I so heavily wish they were real. Also, both Dante and Ari’s parents are the most magnificent of people and I wish they were my parents too. Beautiful families in literature make me both sad and happy.
I think it’s really important for this kind of books to start to appear. More and more, teens early in life realize the world isn’t just composed of white and heterosexual people. It’s so important to make every type of audience more aware of the world surrounding them and all the diversity in it. This is relevant not only for the people who read the book to identify themselves but also to make them more conscious about the planet they call home. I myself don’t read enough books with diverse main characters and it’s something I’m trying to change this year.
Anyway, I highly recommend this book to everyone. It’s so beautiful and pure and lovely. The story is beautiful and the characters even more so. I think it’s easily one of my favourite books of the year and possibly ever. After finishing it, I had the urge to immediately start to re-read it. It just feels like one of those books that will only get better and better, each time you go through its pages.
Here’s one of the many beautiful quotes:
I hated being volunteered. The problem with my life was that it was someone else’s idea.
Please let me know if you’ve read this title and what you though of it! See you soon,