Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe
Books | Young Adult Fiction / LGBTQ
Benjamin Alire Sáenz
Now a major motion picture starring Max Pelayo, Reese Gonzales, and Eva Longoria! A Time Best YA Book of All Time (2021) This Printz Honor Book is a “tender, honest exploration of identity” (Publishers Weekly) that distills lyrical truths about family and friendship.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.
Coming Of Age
Benjamin Alire Sáenz
Simon and Schuster
Community ReviewsSee all
"A gay love story between two Mexican American boys in 1980s El Paso. Banned in a number of conservative states (Texas, Florida, Wyoming, Tennessee), this was a "required reading" for my class LLSS 450, short for <i>Language, Linguistics, and Sociocultural Studies - Books and Related Materials for Young Adults. </i> <br/><br/>This has been perhaps our most enjoyable read of the semester, but still hard hitting like any of the books we've read. I feel that this is a rather accessible novel, making it so that many kids of many different ages would be able to read, enjoy, and understand the novel. Though, despite this book being set in the 80s, a little over 40 years ago, much is still the same. While we do have same sex marriage now, there are definitely states that are trying to challenge the Supreme Court's decision. <br/><br/>In certain parts of the country, the attitudes that Aristotle and Dante faced in 1980s El Paso, are very much the same, or at least similar, boys still get beat up, and some kids are subjected to religion and conversion therapy. I mean, look at how the book has been banned in at least 4 states as of right now (2023). <br/><br/>There is nothing graphic, just some kissing, a little underage drinking and drug use. Usually movies consisting of such things would be PG-13. In fact, the people that rate such films, seem to agree. "This may include stronger language, extended violence or sexual situations and drug-use." <i>(Michigan State University, 2017)</i> <br/><br/>So unless Florida, Texas, Wyoming, and Tennessee are going to somehow change the guidelines created by the MPAA for the PG-13 rating (no this is not a suggestion to try to do so, please don't), then there is no reason that this book should be banned at the high school level, much less the middle school level. <br/><br/>It seems quite apparent that the issues that the above listed states have with this book is the discussion of queer identities and race, even more frustrating that the book takes place in Texas (El Paso) and has been banned there. <br/><br/>With there being many more interesting side topics, and things that I connected with a bit too well at times, this book was just so well done and is perfect (in my opinion) for anyone starting middle school, and older."
"This book was absolutely amazing and I am at a loss for words. Everyone always talks about The Song of Achilles and They Both Die at the End, but this book surpassed both those books in my mind. I cannot believe I have never read this book before. Wow I can't even believe how much this book means to me already!"
"2.5/5 (rounded up)<br/><br/>aristotle and dante really seemed like it was meant for me- a queer story about teenage boys having gay angst in the summertime of 1980s texas, being read by a bookish teenage lesbian who also has gay angst in the summertime of 2020s texas? perfect! unfortunately, it was not that for me. i liked it enough at first, and i did finish! <br/><br/>the problems for me lied in the way the story was told especially near the end- i found a lot of inconsistencies in the attitudes towards queerness in the era and personally i hated the way ari had to be TOLD he was gay and that he loved dante, by his parents no less! i don't know about you guys, but i would be horrified if my parents sat me down and told me such an intimate part of my own identity, much less who i loved. <br/><br/>ari's character was also quite confusing, you could never decide any of his personality traits definitively because as soon as one came through, it flipped! i was confused throughout reading, and hopefully that improves in the second novel (which i will be reading). <br/><br/>all in all, it was a pretty decent book! it just didn't do it for me. i will read the next book, and see if my opinions change in october!"