Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

For Ages: 12 and up
  • 27
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 they meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the two loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special kind of friendship--the kind of friendship that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through their friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves--and about the kind of people they want to be.
  • Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers | 
  • 368 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781442408937 | 
  • August 2014 | 
  • Grades 7 and up | 
  • Lexile ® HL380L
List Price £7.99 (price may vary by retailer)

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Reading Group Guide

A Reading Group Guide to

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

About the Book

When Aristotle, a loner, meets Dante at the swimming pool, the two strike up an unparalleled relationship. Dante is everything Aristotle wishes he were: articulate, smart, and self-confident. Together they begin questioning the secrets of the universe and navigating the painful journey from adolescence into adulthood. Sharing books, dreams, a near-fatal accident, and a year apart, the two discover the power of their friendship and develop an inseparable bond.

Prereading Questions

1. Do people always have to understand the people they love? Why or why not?

2. What characteristics are most admirable in a close friend?

Questions for Discussion

1. Aristotle (Ari) Mendoza is one of four children. His two older sisters and his older brother no longer live at home. Describe his relationship with his siblings. Why does he feel like the family mascot?

2. How does Ari meet Dante? Compare and contrast their personalities.

3. Why do Ari and Dante become friends? What personality traits does Ari most admire in Dante and why?

4. Does Ari have a close relationship with his parents? How does his relationship with his mother differ from his relationship with his father?

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About the Author

Benjamin Alire Saenz
Photograph by Vantage Point Studios

Benjamin Alire Saenz

Benjamin Alire Sáenz is an American Book Award-winning author of poetry and prose for adults and teens. His first novel for young adults, Sammy and Juliana in Hollywood was an ALA Top Ten Book for Young Adults and a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. His second novel for teens, He Forgot to Say Goodbye won the Tomas Rivera Mexican American Children's Book Award and the Southwest Books Award (Border Regional Librarians Association) and was a New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age. A former Wallace E. Stegner Fellow in poetry, Sáenz is a professor in the creative writing department at University of Texas, El Paso.

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