Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Two fifteen-year-olds, struggling to find their authentic selves, in this big universe. Indeed, they search for secrets, their own realities, and their place in this universe.

It’s a straightforward story, the plot doesn’t have any surprising twists. It’s just going on, as you read you might even feel you are watching Dante and Ari and their story, which is happening in front of you. The poetic style of writing added to the surge of emotions. It will make you cry, it will make you laugh, it will make you angry, it will fill you with joy, and it will make you fall in love.

This book is a big recommendation to teens, not just for the LGBTQ+ communities but for every growing child, they have to read this. To know that everyone is struggling like them and they just need to give others, especially their parents a chance to understand what’s going on in their minds.

One key takeaway for me was – communication. Talk, speak up about what’s going on, however silly you think you feel just speak. Let others know, don’t shy away that they won’t understand, you never know you might just be helping someone who is struggling to open up.

Some noteworthy lines from the book –

  • I got to thinking that poems were like people. Some people you got right off the bat. Some people you just didn’t get—and never would get.
  • That afternoon, I learned two new words. “Inscrutable.” And “friend.” Words were different when they lived inside of you.
  • I could be something and nothing at the same time. I could be necessary and also invisible. Everyone would need me and no one would be able to see me.
  • I bet you could sometimes find all of the mysteries of the universe in someone’s hand.
  • “I love swimming,” he said again. He was quiet for a little while. And then he said, “I love swimming—and you.”
  • He was still experimenting with kissing girls even though he said he’d rather be kissing boys.
  • Another secret of the universe: Sometimes pain was like a storm that came out of nowhere. The clearest summer morning could end in a downpour. Could end in lightning and thunder.
  • “There are worse things in the world than a boy who likes to kiss other boys.”
  • To be careful with people and with words was a rare and beautiful thing.
  • All this time I had been trying to figure out the secrets of the universe, the secrets of my own body, of my own heart. All of the answers had always been so close and yet I had always fought them without even knowing it. From the minute I’d met Dante, I had fallen in love with him. I just didn’t let myself know it, think it, feel it. My father was right. And it was true what my mother said. We all fight our own private wars.

Available on Amazon Kindle Edition, Hardcover and Paperback.


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