Title: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe
Author: Benjamin Alire Saenz
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, LGBT
Release Date: April 1, 2014
Dante can swim. Ari can’t. Dante is articulate and self-assured. Ari has a hard time with words and suffers from self-doubt. Dante gets lost in poetry and art. Ari gets lost in thoughts of his older brother who is in prison. Dante is fair skinned. Ari’s features are much darker. It seems that a boy like Dante, with his open and unique perspective on life, would be the last person to break down the walls that Ari has built around himself.
But against all odds, when Ari and Dante meet, they develop a special bond that will teach them the most important truths of their lives, and help define the people they want to be. But there are big hurdles in their way, and only by believing in each other―and the power of their friendship―can Ari and Dante emerge stronger on the other side.
I didn’t know what to expect in this book but I was pleasantly surprised! It has a really slow start but it was hard to put down because Ari is so adorable and you just want to continue to read and get to know him more.
Ari is a 15-year old boy who is more of a loner. He didn’t open up that easily not until he met Dante. They got along pretty well and became best friends.
I loved how honest and real Ari and Dante were. It’s not hard to connect and relate with them. Aside from these 2 main characters, I also loved the family dynamics/how the parents were shown in the story. You could see the rawness of their emotions which made me love this book more.
A beautiful, coming-of-age story that will surely tug at your heartstrings.
“For the music to be over so soon. For the music to be over when it had just begun. That was really sad.”
“Not always. But Ari, I don’t always have to understand the people I love.”
“My mother and father held hands. I wondered what that was like to hold someone’s hand. I bet you could sometimes find all of the mysteries of the universe in someone’s hand.”
“Maybe everyone loves differently. Maybe that’s all that matters.”
“I came to understand that my father was a careful man. To be careful with people and with words was a rare and beautiful thing.”
Soundtrack: Invisible Thread by Matt Gould and Griffin Matthews
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About the Author:
Benjamin Alire Sáenz (born 16 August 1954) is an award-winning American poet, novelist and writer of children’s books.
He was born at Old Picacho, New Mexico, the fourth of seven children, and was raised on a small farm near Mesilla, New Mexico. He graduated from Las Cruces High School in 1972. That fall, he entered St. Thomas Seminary in Denver, Colorado where he received a B.A. degree in Humanities and Philosophy in 1977. He studied Theology at the University of Louvain in Leuven, Belgium from 1977 to 1981. He was a priest for a few years in El Paso, Texas before leaving the order.
In 1985, he returned to school, and studied English and Creative Writing at the University of Texas at El Paso where he earned an M.A. degree in Creative Writing. He then spent a year at the University of Iowa as a PhD student in American Literature. A year later, he was awarded a Wallace E. Stegner fellowship. While at Stanford University under the guidance of Denise Levertov, he completed his first book of poems, Calendar of Dust, which won an American Book Award in 1992. He entered the Ph.D. program at Stanford and continued his studies for two more years. Before completing his Ph.D., he moved back to the border and began teaching at the University of Texas at El Paso in the bilingual MFA program.
His first novel, Carry Me Like Water was a saga that brought together the Victorian novel and the Latin American tradition of magic realism and received much critical attention.
In The Book of What Remains (Copper Canyon Press, 2010), his fifth book of poems, he writes to the core truth of life’s ever-shifting memories. Set along the Mexican border, the contrast between the desert’s austere beauty and the brutality of border politics mirrors humanity’s capacity for both generosity and cruelty.
In 2005, he curated a show of photographs by Julian Cardona.
He continues to teach in the Creative Writing Department at the University of Texas at El Paso.