Aristotle and Dante Dive into the Waters of the World (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe is an instant classic that captured the hearts of readers everywhere. Ari and Dante, full of life, are extremely loveable characters. Their youthful innocence and hopeful rose-tinted lens of the world is enrapturing and refreshing. Their struggles with navigating life as queer Mexican-American boys are laden with powerful emotion. Benjamin Alire Sáenz transports us back to the 80’s in the height of the AIDS epidemic. Where the crisis was only a dark shadow in the backdrop of the first novel, it comes to the forefront in Aristotle and Dante Dive into the Waters of the World. Ari must face the storms of the world if he wants to dive into its waters.

The two young lovers grow up together under a canopy of stars on a camping trip at the opening of the novel. Sáenz artfully describes the complicated yet beautiful process of two gay men learning how to be intimate with one another for the first time – without being crass. Despite the hardships his characters go through, it isn’t without moments of real joy and beauty. Its refreshing to read a story with a positive ending and uplifting outlook on the world.

Told from Ari’s perspective, the novel explores his transformation from a boy to a man. Friendships, family, and the complex exploration of his love for Dante are all told in Ari’s stream of consciousness – which sounds a lot like poetry. Sáenz’s latest installment in the ongoing saga of two young gay lovers named after philosophers will tug on your heartstrings and bring tears to your eyes as easily as Ari now finds himself able to freely express his own emotions.

Sáenz brings humanity and soul to a time that is being quickly forgotten by contemporary counterparts. Aristotle and Dante may not be real, but their struggles were real for many of their time. Told from Ari’s perspective, Dante is a realistic imperfect love interest full of his own unique personality. Ari is not only a ‘paragon of responsibility’ as described by his teachers, but also a representation of positive masculinity. He is not only a good role model for gay teens, but for any boy navigating the waters of the world.

— Nik

November/December 2021 Kids Indie Next List

“The sequel to Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe explores the complicated aspects of relationships, cultural and societal expectations, and the machismo of Latinx culture. This book gives a worthy follow-up to the teen couple.”
— Gerard Villegas, Warwick's, La Jolla, CA


A #1 New York Times bestseller
Four starred reviews!
“Messily human and sincerely insightful.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

The highly anticipated sequel to the critically acclaimed, multiple award-winning novel Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe is an “emotional roller coaster” (School Library Journal, starred review) sure to captivate fans of Adam Silvera and Mary H.K. Choi.

In Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, two boys in a border town fell in love. Now, they must discover what it means to stay in love and build a relationship in a world that seems to challenge their very existence.

Ari has spent all of high school burying who he really is, staying silent and invisible. He expected his senior year to be the same. But something in him cracked open when he fell in love with Dante, and he can’t go back. Suddenly he finds himself reaching out to new friends, standing up to bullies of all kinds, and making his voice heard. And, always, there is Dante, dreamy, witty Dante, who can get on Ari’s nerves and fill him with desire all at once.

The boys are determined to forge a path for themselves in a world that doesn’t understand them. But when Ari is faced with a shocking loss, he’ll have to fight like never before to create a life that is truthfully, joyfully his own.

About the Author

Benjamin Alire Sáenz is an author of poetry and prose for adults and teens. He was the first Hispanic winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award and a recipient of the American Book Award for his books for adults. He is the author of Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, which was a Printz Honor Book, the Stonewall Award winner, the Pura Belpré Award winner, the Lambda Literary Award winner, and a finalist for the Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award, and its sequel, Aristotle and Dante Dive into the Waters of the World. His first novel for teens, 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 book for teens, He Forgot to Say Goodbye, won the Tomás Rivera Mexican American Children’s Book Award, the Southwest Book Award, and was named a New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age. He lives in El Paso, Texas.

Praise For…

"Messily human and sincerely insightful."
— Kirkus Reviews, starred review

"Aristotle and Dante Dive into the Waters of the World is a joyous and heartrending exploration of grief, love and queer belonging."
— Shelf Awareness Pro

"This emotional rollercoaster is buoyed by hope, swoonworthy kisses, and exquisite characterization."
— School Library Journal, starred review

"Sáenz himself is something of a cartographer, drawing an intricate map of the human heart. The result is a brilliant, character-driven novel that challenges its readers themselves to think about life while falling in love with those two unforgettable characters, Aristotle and Dante."
— Booklist, starred review

"In Sáenz’s careful, poetic hands and Ari’s stubborn, searching voice, the narrative follows the Mexican American couple as they “map out a new world” together, navigating desire, homophobia, racism, sexism, how to be a man without succumbing to toxic masculinity, how to cope with loss without giving in to grief, what it means to have—and be—a good teacher, and, fundamentally, how to love and be loved."
— Publishers Weekly, starred review

“The epic queer love story that’s been nine years in the making is worth the wait.”
— Entertainment Weekly

"Sáenz once again applies wisdom and humor to familiar themes such as forgiveness and redemption, the value of teachers and mentors, and the definitions of valor and manhood."
— Horn Book Magazine

Product Details
ISBN: 9781534496194
ISBN-10: 153449619X
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: October 12th, 2021
Pages: 528
Language: English
Series: Aristotle and Dante