Audiobook Review: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

Title: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe
Author: Benjamin Alire Sáenz
Series: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe #1
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Publication date: April 9, 2013
Length: 7 hrs and 30 mins
Source: Borrowed
Summary (via Goodreads): A lyrical novel about family and friendship from critically acclaimed author Benjamin Alire Sáenz.


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.




I listened to this audiobook on a road trip to visit my family. The narrator was fantastic, and instantly drew me into the story. I’d give this audiobook, and story in general, 5 out of 5 stars.


The description gave no indication that this was set in the late 80s, so I was a bit surprised by that when I first started listening. But I really did enjoy the story right off the bat. I was trying decide between audiobooks to listen to on my trip, and this one was recommended to me. I’m so glad I listened to it. I thought Aristotle, or Ari as he’s most often known as, was a fascinating main character, and I really love Dante’s character. I’d looked this story up on Goodreads before listening, so I kind of already knew what was going to happen based on the genres it was listed under.


I was a bit surprised by how long it took to get to the point I expected the book to go to though. What I wanted to happen didn’t happen until nearly the end. But at least the buildup/anticipation was entertaining enough. There were happy parts, sad parts, kind of crazy intense parts, etc.


Ari’s “girl friends” from school were pretty annoying. I just wanted more Dante, and less of them. Towards the end of the audiobook, I cried some, because it got kind of emotional. Ari’s parents were okay,  especially towards the last quarter or so of the book. But I thought Dante’s parents were the ones who shined through; they were the kind of parents most kids probably dream about.


Before I listened to the audiobook, I saw that there was going to be a sequel coming out sometime in the future, which makes me super happy. I’m so ready to see what happens next in Ari and Dante’s story. I didn’t get nearly enough of them in those 7+ hours. Obviously, because I was driving, I didn’t keep track of my favorite lines, but there were some really good ones!


Final note: A fantastic audiobook, with an equally amazing narrator. I’d highly recommend this book to diversity lovers, to anyone who likes books set in the not too distant past.


5 stars

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