Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
Hi, I am Sarah. I am fourteen years old and an avid reader; it is one of my favorite things to do. Inspired by authors’ creations of magnificent places and surprising havens built by simple letters, I aspire to be an author and, meanwhile, nurture the love to write.
Aristotle “Ari” Mendoza is fifteen and he begins his summer like any other, alone and sort-of-maybe-lonely, not quite knowing how to read the world. He meets Dante at the pool, learns to swim, and makes a steadfast friend. Dante is alone but not lonely, a dreamer and a thinker. And with Dante, Ari starts to ask questions, look further, than he has before.
Because the two know this: life is hard and complicated and people are difficult to figure out. Sometimes it’s impossible to battle the loneliness inside. Sometimes, who knows what your purpose is on this planet. But sometimes you do know it: It’s watching the stars in the bed of your truck in the dessert. It’s naming your dog Legs and waking up every morning and going for a run. It’s reading poetry with your best friend, it’s mustering the courage to write back to him even though you’re not much of a writer, it is standing up for your friend when you need to. The real secrets of the universe is finding a best friend and not letting them go, and learning to live and love and be brave in the vastness of this world, of this universe.
Benjamin Alire Sáenz’s staccato, lyrical prose captures the contradiction of belonging, the turmoil of teenage hood, and the brilliant spark of love and friendship. This book is vulnerable and poignant and true, and inspires us to discover our own secrets of the universe, in our own little section of it.