Serial: Artemis Recommends


In this episode of Serial, I will provide a recommendation to a book I feel that more people need to be read. You can expect a brief summary of the book and at least three reasons why I recommend a particular book. Enjoy!

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


This Printz Honor Book is a “tender, honest exploration of identity” (Publishers Weekly) that distills lyrical truths about family and friendship.

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.

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe is a moving coming of age story, set in 1987-1988. Simply put, this book is beautiful, powerful, pure and poetic. From the first page on, I knew I was reading more than just a simple coming of age story.

  • The Writing. This story is simple, and yet the emotions Sáenz  is able to capture on the page are so complex. Every word felt precise and perfect, nothing wasted. From descriptions to conversations, every word flows onto the page with ease and emotion. I felt everything – confusion, humor, anger, and love. Every word struck right through my heart.

“Sometimes, you do things and you do them not because you’re thinking but because you’re feeling. Because you’re feeling too much. And you can’t always control the things you do when you’re feeling too much.”

  • The Characters. Dante and Aristotle meet in the summer of 1987. Two 15-year old boys struggling with who they are and who they want to become. As they discover their identity, heritage, and sexuality they form a bond so strong that it reaches out to the audience. They are opposites in so many ways, but create the most powerful relationship I’ve ever witnessed in a book.
  • The Relationships. I loved the message of relationships in this book, and the focus on family. Dante and Ari not only communicate with each other, but with their parents. Family is a huge part of our lives and help shape who we are (for better or worse). Sáenz created complex relationships that illuminated pain, flaws and secrets of their own, that also inspire.

Just go, read this book if you are looking for something a little different and entirely moving.

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