Aristotle and Dante Discovers the Secret of the Universe is one of my favorite books, and I have to admit that I was a bit nervous that this sequel would somehow ruin my view of the first book, or simply just disappoint. But it didn’t. It so didn’t! I can’t tell you how happy I am that this sequel that I didn’t even know I needed is out in the world. It was just as brilliant, heartbreaking and beautiful as the first book, if not more!
Aristotle and Dante Dive into the Waters of the World continues after the happy ever after- ending of the first book, showing the complexity and struggles with building a relationship and how to stay in love when the world doesn’t approve of it. Even though this sequel wasn’t even expected at the time of the first book, nor necessary in any way to complete the first part of the story, it was such a magical addition to it. I loved being back in Ari’s and Dante’s world again and to see their relationship develop, and see them continue to explore their identity and sexuality, while trying to find their place in the world.
In the first book I had some problem to connect with Ari at first, but here he just stole my heart right away since he was much more open. It’s amazing how much he’d grown and learned since the first book and how he developed even further, embracing the world in a completely new way, throughout this story.
“As I felt the beating of Dante’s heart against the palm of my hand, I wished I could somehow reach into my chest and rip out my own heart and show Dante everything that it held.”
The dialogues and writing style are absolutely remarkable. Almost every sentence in the book is quotable. And the side characters are all absolutely outstanding. One of my favorite aspects of the first book was the family dynamics and they were even better in the sequel. Both books in this series contain such beautiful portraits of all the parents and how they are real persons with their own sad stories, feelings and shortcomings.
The only part that didn’t blow me away was the ending. It felt really rushed, with some major events coming out of nowhere. Some parts also felt almost a bit cheesy in the way Benjamin Alire Sáenz really wanted to wrap things up and find some kind of happy ending for everyone. Like how a random guy at a party came out to his friends thanks to Ari in a way that didn’t feel authentic at all. But this is just a minor complaint, and overall I absolutely LOVED this book!
It was just as wonderful, painful and honest as the first book, but with some more added snarkiness and amazing character development. It also really appreciated how this book addressed some really important issues with the AIDS and Act Up references, weaving it into Ari’s and Dante’s struggles to dare to love without feeling shame. I called the first book one of the most intelligent YA books I’ve ever read, and this sequel deserves the same praise. Thank you Benjamin Alire Sáenz for writing this magical and unexpected gift! I can’t recommend this book enough!
Get your own copy:
1/14/2020 0 Comments
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz
This book is a beautiful story of friendship, coming of age and finding out who you truly are. Aristotle (Ari) and Dante meet at the swimming pool one summer and become instant friends, despite seemingly having nothing in common. Ari is an angry, socially awkward, boy with a brother in prison and a father suffering from PTSD, who has more or less built a wall around himself. Dante is a sweet, kind, gentle, boy who loves art and poetry and who is not afraid to express his feelings and show his vulnerability. But as they spend the summer together, they discover that they share a special friendship—the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime.
At first I had some problems to connect with Ari. His anger and cynical way of looking at the world made him much harder to like than the sweet, wonderful Dante. I did love Ari’s relationship with his mother though. They had such an honest and humorous relationship, full of bantering and snarky comments. Generally, this book contains such beautiful portrait of all the parents and how they are real persons with their own sad stories, feelings and shortcomings.
This book is one of the most intelligent YA books I’ve ever read. It’s built around Ari’s and Dante’s conversations about life, the meaning of it, the problems with family and growing up, and love.
It’s written in such a tender way, gently describing how Ari and Dante explore their identity and sexuality, and eventually find their place in the world. It’s a wonderful, authentic, painful and honest LGBTQ story, reminding us all how love always should be without shame.
Get your own copy:
All 1 Star 2 Stars 3 Stars 4 Stars 5 Stars Abbi Glines Abdi Nazemian Adam Silvera Adib Khorram Aiden Thomas Aisha Saeed Aislinn Brophy AJ Collins Alexandra Christo Alex Beltran Alexene Farol Follmuth Alexis Hall Alex Kelly Alex Sanchez Alice Dolman Alice Oseman Ali Hazelwood Alison Cochrun Al Riske Alwyn Hamilton Amanda Ferreira A. Meredith Walters Amy Aislin Amy Harmon Amy S. Foster Amy Spalding André Aciman Andy V Roamer Angie Thomas Annabeth Albert A. Poland Ashley Poston Ashley Woodfolk Ashlyn Kane Audrey Coulthurst Becca Fitzpatrick Becky Albertalli Benjamin Alire Saenz Beth Bolden Bill Konigsberg B.L. Maxwell Briar Prescott Bri Spicer Brooke Skipstone Cale Dietrich Casey McQuiston Cassandra Clare C.F. White C.G. Drews Charli Meadows Chris Bedell Ciara Smyth Clarissa Pattern C.L. Beaumont Colette Davison Colleen Hoover Crystal Frasier C.S. Pacat Daven McQueen David Biddle David Yoon Dean Atta Debbie McGowan Debbie Rigaud Debbie Schrack Deborah Harkness Delia Owens D.G. Carothers Dhonielle Clayton Douglas Stuart Dustin Thao Elisa A. Bonnin Elizabeth Acevedo Elizabeth Arroyo Elle Kennedy Elle Wright E. Lockhart Emily M. Danforth Emily Mims Erin Watt Ernest Cline Evan J. Corbin Eve Morton Everina Maxwell Evie Dunmore Felice Stevens Grace Williams Gwen Martin Hanya Yanagihara Hayden Stone Heather Truett H.E. Edgmon Hettie Bell Holly Black Hope Irving Hudson Lin Ingrid Sterling Jacqueline Lee Jacqueline Woodson James L. Sutter Jamie Deacon Jandy Nelson Jax Calder Jay Hogan Jeanette Winterson Jeff Zentner Jen Bailey Jenna Evans Welch Jenn Burke Jennifer E. Smith Jennifer G. Edelson Jennifer Gilmore Jennifer Iacopelli Jennifer Kropf Jennifer Niven Jenny Downham Jenny Han Jeremy Ray Jesse H. Reign Joelle Lynne John Green Jonny Garza Villa Julianne Donaldson Julian Winters Kacen Callender Kami Garcia Kara Leigh Miller Kasie West Kate Larkindale Katharine McGee Kathleen Mareé KD Casey Kendall Grey Kevin Van Whye Kiley Reid Kim Fielding Kim Holden Kim Liggett Kitty Bardot Kris Ripper K.S. Marsden Laura Hall Laura Pavlov Laura Silverman Lauren James Laurie Frankel Leah Johnson Lee Matthew Goldberg Leigh Bardugo Leylah Attar Lisa Henry Lisa Williamson Lisa Wingate Liv Rancourt Liz Plum Lola Noire Lynn Michaels Mackenzi Lee Madeline Miller Magdalena Di Sotru Maggie Doolin Maggie Stiefvater Malin Persson Giolito Malorie Blackman Margaret Stohl Marie Lu Mary E. Pearson Mason Deaver Matthew R. Corr Melina Marchetta Meredith Russo Miel Moreland Mila Gray Miranda Kenneally Moa Backe Astot Morgan James M. Tasia Nancy Garden Natalie Haynes Nicholas Sparks Nicola Yoon Nic Starr Nic Stone Nina Kenwood Nita Tyndall Nora Sakavic N.R. Walker Owen Lach Penny Aimes Phil Stamper Quinn Anderson Rachael Brownell Rachael Lippincott Rachel Hawkins Rainbow Rowell Ray Stoeve Renée Dahlia Rhiannon Wilde Riley Hart River Braun Roan Parrish Robin Gow Roseanne A. Brown Rowan MacKemsley Ruby Moone Ruta Sepetys Ryan La Sala Sally Green Sally Rooney Sarah J. Maas Sarah Waters Sarina Bowen Sasha Laurens Saundra Mitchell Saxon James Serena Bell Shannon O’Connor Sidney Bell Simone Elkeles Siryn Sueng Sophia DeRise Sophia Soames Sophie Gonzales S.R. Lane Stephen Chbosky Stephenie Meyer Steven Salvatore Susan Mac Nicol Suzanne Collins Tahereh Mafi Tal Bauer Tamara Girardi Teagan Hunter Terry J. Benton-Walker Tiffany D. Jackson Timothy Janovsky T.J. Klune T.L. Bradford Tobly McSmith Tomasz Jedrowski Tomi Adeyemi Tracy Deonn Val Wise Veronica Rossi Veronica Roth V.E. Schwab Victor Dixen Victoria Aveyard V.L. Stuart Wesley Chu Xan Van Rooyen Yamile Saied Méndez