At the conclusion to Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, by Benjamin Alire Sáenz, the title character Ari reaches the realization that he is romantically attracted to Dante -- where previously, he firmly rebuffed Dante's explicit interest in him.

The way he arrives at this isn't portrayed as feeling any romantic or sexual desire of his own. Rather, his overall "platonic" passion for protecting Dante is interpreted by other characters as more than what mere friendship would explain. Hearing this, Ari understands it to be true, and comes to the conclusion that he's been repressing his own feelings and desire.

Are we to understand that Ari has felt attracted to Dante, but has concealed that fact from us? Just as, for example, he explicitly tells us that he won't discuss whether he masturbates, or what he thinks about?
Or, is this the first inkling Ari himself has of his attraction? Which would mean, for example, that he's lying when he tells Dante their kiss actually did work for him?

The difference between "Ari admits feelings he previously kept concealed" vs. "Ari realizes feelings that are brand new to him" seems immensely significant, but the way the book is narrated, the lines between the two are very, very blurry.

Are we to interpret Ari as an unreliable narrator, or has all his narration reflected his knowledge and feelings at the time of each scene?

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