Aristotle and Dante Dive into the Waters of the World


Following the story of Aristotle and Dante’s friendship, after meeting one summer at their local swimming pool in the remarkable Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, this sequel tracks their story as they embark on a relationship.  They had no way of knowing their meeting, friendship and relationship would change each other’s lives forever. Together, they discover that they share a special bond—the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime—and tackle the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be.

After opening themselves up to love, they must learn what it means to stay in love.  They also have to build their relationship against the backdrop family strife and turmoil and the AIDS epidemic in 1980s America.  It is a world that doesn’t seem to want them to exist. To Ari, tragedy feels like his destiny, but can he forge his own path and create a life where he can not only survive, but thrive?

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Aristotle and Dante Dive into the Waters of the World

Benjamin Alire Sáenz

(Simon & Schuster)

As the final year of high school approaches, Ari and Dante explore their love for each other, in Sáenz’s long-awaited sequel to Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe.
For Ari, his world is beginning to open up. After many years of silence, his father begins to open up about his experiences in Vietnam and the ensuing trauma.  Ari and his father begin rebuilding their relationship. His sisters Gina and Susie now seem like allies, leading to more potential, and surprising friendships.
Of course, there is Dante, the boy who has changed his life.  Moving on from friendship, Ari and Dante begin a relationship.  They navigate the joys and pains of young love.  A camping trip into the New Mexico desert and uncertainties about life after high school set the tramlines for their story.
Throughout, however, harsh truths circle the two young men.  The spectre of Ari’s imprisoned brother for instance, who makes a memorable appearance.  They also struggle with what constitutes their sexual and cultural identities. The story is set in the 1980s, so the AIDS pandemic looms over them.  Tremors reverberate through the media and affect their community.
The author packs an awful lot into the story, but the book is better for it. It is a testament to the characters that the multiple plots never feel like too much. There’s an unhurried quality to the Benjamin Alire Sáenz’s tender prose that feels utterly intimate and authentic.
The author’s blog and web page makes for fascinating additional reading.
Stonewall Book Award; Honor Book, Michael L. Printz Award; Pura Belpré Author Award,


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