MK’s Book Reviews: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

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I’m back after a long, amazing weekend at Lake Sacandaga in upstate New York. I missed a few days due to no wifi at all (which can be quite nice) but now I’m back and it’s Tuesday which means it’s time for a book review.

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe is one of the best books I read last year. You should read it too. Here’s why…

The Goodreads summary:

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.

That’s all I knew about this book going into it. If you do more research, you find out more about where the story is headed–but I suggest you don’t. I didn’t know whether it was a story about friendship or family or first loves–and I think that’s one of the things that was so appealing to me. I was just reading the story, guessing where it was going, but not knowing how it was going to turn out. It’s easy to do with this book because Ari, the narrator, is so heartbreakingly real:

The first page:

One summer night, I fell asleep, hoping the world would be different when I woke. In the morning, when I opened my eyes, the world was the same. I threw off the sheets and lay there as the heat poured in through my open window.

My hand reached for the dial on the radio. “Alone” was playing. Crap, “Alone,” a song by a group called Heart. Not my favorite song. Not my favorite group. Not my favorite topic. “You don’t know how long…”

I was fifteen.

I was bored.

I was miserable.

As far as I was concerned, the sun could have melted the blue right off the sky. The sky could be as miserable as I was.

Some people don’t like reading about angsty teens. I do. Perhaps it’s because deep down, I still am one. So what happens when one angsty teen makes a less-angsty friend? They both start to learn things from each other. This book has a plot, but it’s the meandering kind, not the three-act structure. The real beauty of this book lies in the characters.

Favorite quotes:

The problem with my life was that it was someone else’s idea.

“Do you think it will always be this way?”
“What?”
“I mean, when do we start feeling like the world belongs to us?”
I wanted to tell him that the world would never belong to us. “I don’t know,” I said. “Tomorrow.”

“So why do you want to get drunk?”
“To feel something.”

Another secret of the universe: Sometimes pain was like a storm that came out of nowhere. The clearest summer morning could end in a downpour. Could end in lightning and thunder.

The summer sun was not meant for boys like me. Boys like me belonged to the rain.

In conclusion, I loved this book because it was beautiful and wonderful and well-written and real. 9/10. Have you read it? What did you think?

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3 thoughts on “MK’s Book Reviews: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

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