Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe was written by Benjamin Alire Sáenz and first published in 2012. It is a coming of age novel which focuses on the friendship between two Mexican-American teenage boys. Since release, the novel has been nominated for many awards and won the 2013 Stonewall Book Award for Children’s and Young Adult Literature, the 2013 Michael L Printz Award, the 2013 Lambda Literary Award for LGBT Children’s and Young Adult Literature and the 2013 Pura Belpré Award for Narrative.

Aristotle “Ari” Mendoza is a troubled teenager. It’s not that he tries to be bad but he just doesn’t fit in. He prefers to keep himself to himself and doesn’t make any effort to socialise with the other boys his age. Everything changes when he meets Dante Quintana. Dante is everything that he’s not. He’s out-going and intelligent and not afraid to show his feelings. The two of them quickly bond over swimming and the fact that they both have ridiculous names.

Through his friendship with Dante, Ari confronts the issues that plague his home life. His brother Bernado is in prison but he doesn’t know why as talking about him in the house is a taboo subject. He also has a poor relationship with his father – a Vietnamese War veteran suffering from post-traumatic stress – and longs to be able to discuss his feelings with him.

Gradually, Ari begins to work out the issues in his personal life and discover the kind of man that he wants to be. However, when a serious accident puts a strain on their friendship, both Ari and Dante must rely on their bond in order to pull through and come out stronger than ever.


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