Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe
Benjamin Alire Sáenz
When we began collecting ideas for this portion of our website, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe was by far the most beloved novel of the GS Youth Group. Several of the teens name it as their queer fiction for youth/YA.
Written from the perspective of angsty Mexican American teen, Aristotle, the narrative is not so much focused on a solid plot, but the protagonist’s inner dialogue and self-reflection. He has a lot to think about – his older brother is in jail, he feels a lot of pressure from his parents to be a “good kid,” and he’s establishing a deep bond with another loner named Dante. Their relationship is unique and challenging and what makes this novel so special.
Aristotle and Dante is a beautiful depiction of self-discovery, identity, family, and more than anything, friendship. It is also (deservedly) the winner of multiple awards, including the Stonewall Book Award, Lambda Literary Award, and the Michael L.Printz Award.