Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe is a tenderly crafted and heartening tale of two young Mexican-American boys who fall in love in 1987 El Paso, Texas. The narrative is seen through the eyes of Aristotle Mendoza, a 15-year-old boy who is grappling with his sexuality and his place in the world. When Dante Quintana, a new boy in town, arrives, Ari is immediately drawn to his intellect, humor, and free-spirited nature. As the two boys spend more time together, they develop a deep friendship that allows them to explore their identities and their emotions.
Sáenz’s writing is poetic and suggestive, and he skillfully captures the essence of first love. The characters are well-crafted and relatable, and the story is brimming with humor, heart, and sagacity. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe is a must-read for those who have ever felt adrift or isolated, and it is a powerful reminder that love is love, regardless of circumstance.
One minor drawback of the novel is that it can be a little sluggish at times. The first half of the book is mostly focused on Ari and Dante getting to know each other and cultivating their friendship. While this is essential to the plot, it can make the novel feel ponderous. However, the second half of the book is much more swift-paced and thrilling, and it compensates for the slower pacing in the first half.
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe is a beautifully written and heartening coming-of-age story that will undoubtedly resonate with readers of all ages. I highly recommend this book to anyone seeking a story about love, friendship, and self-discovery.