Published by Simon and Schuster on April 1st 2014
A lyrical novel about family and friendship from critically acclaimed author Benjamin Alire Sáenz.
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.
This book is incredible. Seriously. So, so, so, so, beautiful. I know, I know… I’m way late to the game. It was a Printz Award Honor book in 2013 and so many people I respect were raving about it. I just never got around to reading it. I’m so glad I finally did!
I have to admit, a big part of why I finally read it was the audiobook. Lin-Manuel Miranda narrates it. I was so on board for that. His narration is perfection and I now want so many more YA books to be read by him!!! But that was just a bonus, not why I fell so hard for this book.
Where do I even begin with this one? It was the kind of book that had me thinking about it all the time. Usually with an audiobook I just listen in my car. When I’m not listening it usually isn’t on my mind. Not so with Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. I’ve listened to another audiobook since finishing this one, as well as reading multiple books, and I am still hung up on it.
The storytelling style is deceptively simple and straightforward. Yet every little thing Ari shares with the reader builds and builds to tell a complex and rich story. It’s never overwritten and the often sparse style adds to the power of Ari’s words. And it packs quite the emotional punch.
I didn’t want this book to end because I wanted to spend more time with Ari, Dante, and their parents. These are some of my favorite fictional characters ever. I loved their relationships with one another and the ways they learned about each other and themselves. We see everything from Ari’s perspective but still really get to know the others.
I could go on and on and on about Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz and the audiobook narration by Lin-Manuel Miranda. A perfect pairing of heart-breakingly beautiful story and incredibly talented narration. Highly recommend.