Books Reviewed · YA Novels

That Time I Fell in Love With Ari & Dante: A Book Review

Hello Loves!

We’re still in the throws of week 2 of August! I’m sure many of you know this is prime back to school season! While I’m lucky that my grad classes don’t start up again until September, I still absolutely love the rush of the last few weeks of summer. I enjoy walking the aisles of Target piling my basket up with back to school supplies–there is no other feeling like it haha. Hmm maybe I’ll do a Back To School giveaway of some kind closer to September. Let me know down below if that would interest you! Also, speaking of giveaways: I’m planning on hosting an Instagram giveaway once I hit 500 followers. So if you’re not following me then check out my account here & spread the word! 🙂

Today’s review is on a book that I absolutely fell in love with. These characters were so genuine and I just loved seeing them develop over the course of the book. Check out below for all the details!

Also, if you’re sort on time, then check out my Need to Know section for a quick summary of my review!

Ownership: Borrowed from the library 
Genre: 
YA contemporary; LGBTQIA+ 
Publisher:
 Simon & Schuster
Published: 2012
Pages:
 359
Price:
$9.99 (paperback)
Place: AmazonB & N, Book DepositoryGoodReads, IndieBound
GoodReads Updates:

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My Rating:

fivestars

 

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz follows Aristotle and his friendship with Dante. Ari sees Dante as everything he’s not: articulate, self-assured, easy-going with people. Ari struggles to open up to others. He’s closed off until he meets Dante one day at the swimming pool. Ari can’t swim and Dante offers to teach him. The two boys quickly develop a friendship. But over time their friendship faces multiple hurdles and Ari & Dante will have to bond together to over come them. In the end will their special bond be strong enough?
Ugh where do I even begin?!?! This story was just wonderful! I flew through it so fast and fell in love with Ari and Dante. Okay that might be a slight lie. There were moments in there where I seriously wanted to shake Ari. Then again, I’m definitely more like Ari than Dante, as I tend to hold my emotions inside. Still, I wanted to scream at Ari because I was an outsider looking in and knew that Ari was being annoying, but also that certain decisions would make him so much happier! Haha can’t you tell I was invested?! But I also understood that Ari had to come to certain things on his own and through his own pace. And in the end, I enjoyed watching Ari reached those points and seeing how him & Dante grew both together and separately.
IMG_7720.JPGBesides, Ari and Dante, I also really loved their respective parents. In YA novels, parents are not always present or they might be off in the background somewhere, but I felt within this novel that both set of parents were very present throughout the novel. I liked seeing Ari’s relationship develop with his father and also loved seeing him interact with his mom. Additionally, I really enjoyed Dante’s parents as well. It was great seeing how both Ari & Dante’s parents also grew within the novel–they weren’t static parents all the time.  This was especially true with Ari and his father. Also, I thought it was great that both parents were supportive of Ari and Dante. Not every story showcases a positive parent reaction to LGBTQIA+ children. And I thought it was really great that Sáenz included these positive reactions.
What was great about this story was that it wasn’t just a coming of age tale. It was also a relationship story. Relationships were everything here. Parental relationships, friendships, and romantic relationships. I loved seeing all three weaved within this story. Sáenz does an amazing job of bringing this story to life. His writing draws me in and never lets me go. I loved his writing style and while I only saw the story from Ari’s point of view, I still felt like I saw what I needed to from the rest of the characters. I fell in love with Ari and Dante and fell in love with this story. I just wanted to hug the book close to me in the end.
Overall, I highly recommend this book if you haven’t read it yet. It’s a great mix of coming of age and first love. I think anyone who has ever struggled with finding their identity (cue almost anyone who’s gone through being a teenager) will relate to this novel. It’s also a fast read that will have you glued to the pages. So if you’re looking for your next read, pick this one up 🙂

  • Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz follows Aristotle and his friendship with Dante. The two boys quickly develop a friendship. But over time their friendship faces multiple hurdles and Ari & Dante will have to bond together to over come them.
  • This story was just wonderful! I flew through it so fast and fell in love with Ari and Dante. I enjoyed watching Ari & Dante grow both together and separately.
  • Besides, Ari and Dante, I also really loved their respective parents. I felt within this novel that both set of parents were very present throughout the novel. I liked seeing Ari’s relationship develop with his father.
  • Also, I thought it was great that both parents were supportive of Ari and Dante. Not every story showcases a positive parent reaction to LGBTQIA+ children. And I thought it was really great that Sáenz included these positive reactions.
  • Sáenz does an amazing job of bringing this story to life. His writing draws me in and never lets me go.
  • 5 Stars!! Overall, I highly recommend this book if you haven’t read it yet. It’s a great mix of coming of age and first love.

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It was the most beautiful thing an adult who wasn’t my mom or dad had ever said to me. And I knew that there was something about me that Mrs. Quintana saw and loved. And even though I felt it was a beautiful thing, I also felt it was a weight. Not that she meant it to be a weight. But love was always something heavy for me. Something I had to carry. (p. 244)

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. (p. 261)

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Thanks for stopping by! Let me know if you’ve read this book! If you have, what are your thoughts on Ari & Dante? Ari & his parents? Dante’s parents? Have a favorite scene or quote? Let me know in the comments below! 

As always, Happy Reading!

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6 thoughts on “That Time I Fell in Love With Ari & Dante: A Book Review

  1. I recently listened to this on audio, and I was thrilled that their parents were always around. I think my favorite thing about Dante was his hatred of shoes! I feel those pains, as I sit here at my desk without shoes on. 🙂 So glad you loved it, too!

      1. Shoes are the WORST! It was wonderful, though. Lin-Manuel Miranda was the voice actor, and he’s supposed to read the next book (once it’s finished), too!

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