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  • February 21Good luck to our Indoor Track Team going to the State Champs!
  • February 20Congrats to all the Mustang Swimmers who are headed to the Univ. of MD for State Champs this weekend!
The student news site of C. Milton Wright High School

The Pony Express

The student news site of C. Milton Wright High School

The Pony Express

Book of the Month

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe is a 2012 coming-of-age novel set in 1987, El Paso, Texas. To understand the book, I think it is important to first understand the author, Benjamin Alire Saenz. Saenz’ life was full of coming-of-age experiences, not only limited to the typical teenage experience. Born in New Mexico in 1954, he lived much of the average expected life. He settled down in Texas and married a woman, but after 25 years of marriage, at age 55, he came out as gay and divorced his wife of 15 years. The nature of his life and path of self-discovery, Saenz says, drove him to write the opposite. 

Aristotle and Dante is about two Mexican American teenagers in a Texas suburb in 1987. The main characters, Aristotle “Ari” Mendoza and Dante Quintana, are 15-year-olds who meet at a local pool over summer. The story follows Ari and Dante through quotidian teenage life as well as major events like car accidents, hate-based crime and new baby siblings. It is a typical teenage “best friends to lovers” with the addition of navigating topics such as family, and sexual, racial, and ethnic identities in a generally unwelcoming environment. 

Saenz most successful book to date is Aristotle and Dante– and for good reason. Some tattoo-worthy quotations came from the book, so here’s my top three:  

1.) “Words were different when they lived inside of you.”  

2.) “He looked like an angel. And all I wanted to do was put my fist through his jaw. I couldn’t stand my own cruelty.” 

3.) They thought our youth could help us overcome everything. Maybe moms and dads forget about this one small fact: being on the verge of seventeen could be harsh and painful and confusing.” 

Benjamin Alire Saenz’ Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe is a book that I recommend to anyone, especially any queer youth or people of color. It’s one of those reads that leaves you feeling simultaneously empty and hopeful. And the sequel, Aristotle and Dante Dive into the Waters of the World, is one of the few continuations that truly do the original justice. The novels are truly deserving of recognition like the Stonewall Award and Lambda Literary Award. 

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