“How could I have ever been ashamed of loving Dante Quintana?”
*Warning* Spoilers ahead
I recently finished Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe and I’m so glad I decided to pick it up. It was a quick, yet adorable read and I gave it 4.5 stars. I heard that Benjamin Alire Sáenz is working on a sequel and I can’t wait for it to come out because I need more from these characters.
The characters were by far the best part of the story. I related to Aristotle and some of the problems he faced. He was an amazing narrator and an angry teenager who wanted to change. Dante was so pure and adorable and I wanted to give him a hug from the first scene. They both seemed so real and went through problems that teenagers face. Even though there wasn’t much of a plot, Aristotle and Dante made this book worth reading. They are both so lovable and felt like actual people. Ari had amazing character development and was able to overcome what he was grown up to believe, with the help of Dante. When he finally admitted his feelings for Dante, it made me so happy.
Technically, this is a contemporary book about the romance between the two main characters. However, I felt that the romance took a backseat to the friendship between Ari and Dante, which was beautiful. I haven’t read a lot of books that are primarily about friendship, rather than a relationship, and I’m so glad this is the one I read. I’ve never read anything before that had a relationship that was like theirs. They never pushed each other to share something that they didn’t want to talk about and understood each other perfectly. Dante didn’t get mad at Ari for not writing back, but instead accepted it and understood why. Ari saved Dante’s life and protected him multiple times. They made each other better people.
The other thing that I enjoyed was the way this book was written. It was beautiful and sounded so pretty. I have never read a book like this before and this book changed me. It just felt so raw and honest. I wish I had the audiobook because the only thing better than experiencing the way this book is written by reading it, is having Lin-Manuel Miranda read it to me.
I loved how much of an emphasis was put on the family. We saw the dynamic between Dante and his parents and the drastic difference there was compared to Aristotle and his parents. They worked together in two completely different ways, but they were always there for them. Their parents were important in the story and added so much, which was refreshing. In a lot of YA contemporaries that I read, the parents are cast to the side and never say or do much. In this book, they affected Dante and Ari’s behavior and the choices they made.
The only thing that I didn’t love about this book is how Ari was told that he was in love with Dante rather than figuring it out himself. I think that if he realized it on his own, it would have made the scene much more impactful.
Overall, this book was beautiful in all aspects and now is when I wait to reread it. I will miss the characters, but I’m looking forward to the sequel that will come out eventually (I hope…Benjamin Alire Sáenz needs to give us an update).