“Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe” by Benjamin Alire Saenz

4/5 Stars

I have heard so many people recommend this book and I now understand why. It has a very “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” feel about it, although I think this book is slightly less emotional. The book was good, but that is about all there is to say about it

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Image taken from Goodreads.com

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It didn’t have a central plot; it followed Ari’s last years in high school. During this time, he makes his first friend, learns more about his family, and his self. I was entertained the entire time because Ari had a unique way of thinking.

Some critiques say that the writing style is choppy, which is true. This didn’t bother me too much. What did bother me is that Ari had unfinished thoughts some of the time. I enjoyed how philosophical the book felt,  and when Saenz didn’t explore a topic as deep as he should’ve, it felt unsatisfying.

He had this problem with his characters too. Ari was very mysterious, which did add to his appeal, but in a way he felt underdeveloped. The author tried to force development on his character at the end of the novel instead of letting the readers see him grow throughout the story.

The only other complaint I have is that the dialogue between characters felt clunky. Most of the time, I could get past this because the story was entertaining enough. On a few occasions, the conversations did seem very scripted.

Despite these negatives, I do not regret reading this book. Even though it was easy to read, it wasn’t mindless. It made me think about what I would do in his situations. If you enjoy coming-of-age stories, this novel is definitely for you!

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