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Aristotle and Dante #2

Aristotle and Dante Dive into the Waters of the World

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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.

The highly anticipated sequel to the critically acclaimed, multiple award-winning novel Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe is an achingly romantic, tender tale sure to captivate fans of Adam Silvera and Mary H.K. Choi.

516 pages, Hardcover

First published October 12, 2021

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About the author

Benjamin Alire Sáenz

36 books14k followers
Benjamin Alire Sáenz (born 16 August 1954) is an award-winning American poet, novelist and writer of children's books.

He was born at Old Picacho, New Mexico, the fourth of seven children, and was raised on a small farm near Mesilla, New Mexico. He graduated from Las Cruces High School in 1972. That fall, he entered St. Thomas Seminary in Denver, Colorado where he received a B.A. degree in Humanities and Philosophy in 1977. He studied Theology at the University of Louvain in Leuven, Belgium from 1977 to 1981. He was a priest for a few years in El Paso, Texas before leaving the order.

In 1985, he returned to school, and studied English and Creative Writing at the University of Texas at El Paso where he earned an M.A. degree in Creative Writing. He then spent a year at the University of Iowa as a PhD student in American Literature. A year later, he was awarded a Wallace E. Stegner fellowship. While at Stanford University under the guidance of Denise Levertov, he completed his first book of poems, Calendar of Dust, which won an American Book Award in 1992. He entered the Ph.D. program at Stanford and continued his studies for two more years. Before completing his Ph.D., he moved back to the border and began teaching at the University of Texas at El Paso in the bilingual MFA program.

His first novel, Carry Me Like Water was a saga that brought together the Victorian novel and the Latin American tradition of magic realism and received much critical attention.

In The Book of What Remains (Copper Canyon Press, 2010), his fifth book of poems, he writes to the core truth of life's ever-shifting memories. Set along the Mexican border, the contrast between the desert's austere beauty and the brutality of border politics mirrors humanity's capacity for both generosity and cruelty.

In 2005, he curated a show of photographs by Julian Cardona.

He continues to teach in the Creative Writing Department at the University of Texas at El Paso.

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5 stars
29,900 (44%)
4 stars
22,319 (33%)
3 stars
10,656 (15%)
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954 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 12,838 reviews
Profile Image for Claudia Lomelí.
Author 8 books74.2k followers
May 4, 2021
En realidad son 4.5 estrellas, de lo mejor que he leído este año. Pues wow, este libro me sorprendió bastante... ¡de la buena manera! Hasta diría que superó mis expectativas porque, para ser sincera, no esperaba mucho (?). Obvio tenía ganas de volver a leer a Ari y a Dante, pero me daba miedo por dos razones:

1. Creo que el final del primer libro fue perfecto y no era necesaria una segunda parte.
2. Leí el primero hace muchos años, cuando todavía no era común encontrar libros con protagonistas de la comunidad LGBTQ+. Aristóteles y Dante descubren los secretos del universo fue el PRIMER libro con protagonistas de la comunidad que me topé y, para mí, eso fue muy valioso. Fue, en gran parte, por lo que le puse 5 estrellas y lo recomendé tantísimo. Entonces, después de tantos años, ya no estaba segura si en verdad me había gustado tanto o si simplemente me impactó por lo que representó en su tiempo.

Ahora, después de leerlo... ¿creo que era necesaria una segunda parte? No, no lo era, ¡pero vaya que la disfruté! En este libro tenemos a Ari y Dante viviendo su relación en todos los aspectos imaginables y fue HERMOSO de leer. Y es que la prosa de Benjamín Alire Saenz es sublime, en serio que subrayé medio libro de tanta frase bonita que había. Y Ari... wow, Ari me impresionó muchísimo. Creo que en este libro su crecimiento de personaje fue arrollador.

Si acaso creo que algunas situaciones sucedían demasiado rápido y era mucho diálogo y poco sentimiento (?) y eso hacía que no pudiera procesar las emociones. Además de que el final se me hizo muy apresurado. Pero en general esas son mis únicas quejas.

Fuera de eso... creo que es un libro encantador y también creo que a todos los que extrañan a Ari y a Dante les va a gustar :). Eso sí, esperen algo muy "slice of life" como el primer libro, pues en esta segunda parte tenemos, en su mayoría, escenas de la vida cotidiana de los protagonistas, de la escuela, de sus paseos en camioneta, de sus idas al desierto, etc.

Y PUES YA. En mi wrap up les fangirleo, jajajaja.
Profile Image for Isa ☾.
155 reviews182 followers
November 10, 2021
3.5 stars
if god hates gays why do we keep winning

update after reading: Ari's development was amazing but I feel like this could've been better written. The writing here feels like the Walmart version of the first one.
Profile Image for jessica.
2,504 reviews30.8k followers
October 26, 2021
look, i will be the first person to tell you that this sequel isnt exactly necessary. when a second book comes out years after the first one, i think its definitely a case of capitalising on its popularity to make money (looking at you margaret atwood). thats just my two cents. but that doesnt mean i didnt enjoy this. because i did.

but there is one massive thing that really surprised me about this - dante literally disappears for a huge chunk of the story. i would say a good 60ish% is missing dante. hes there in the beginning, when the boys are on summer break. but then during the school year, its all ari. and then dante comes back very briefly after they graduate. i honestly would retitle this ‘aristotle dives into the waters of the world, semi alone.’ but i do think theres a lot of good content in this, even if dante isnt present for most of it. aris character growth is amazing! he relationships, his goals for the future, his self acceptance. all of it is great.

but the reason i enjoyed this so much is actually because of the writing. goodness me the writing in this is stunning. i think if i were an author i would want to emulate BASs writing style, i love it that much. it so beautifully and profoundly captures each emotion it conveys. i think with such an emotionally charged story as this, BASs writing only makes it better.

overall, not a book thats needed in the grand scheme of things and not quite what i was expecting, but still has some very enjoyable aspects.

3.5 stars
Profile Image for Fatima  Havilliard.
109 reviews34 followers
Want to read
January 23, 2023
This aged so bad haha
Gonna read it asap so I can write a full review

I'm the only one crying of happiness right now? :'D


We have a title: There Will Be Other Summers

Someone call the doctor because I'm dying in this moment!


Look what I found:

"At this time, not much is known about the sequel. Saenz is in the process of writing its initial draft, so readers have time to pick up the first novel before moving onto the second. While Saenz originally claimed that the sequel was a retelling of the first novel from Dante’s perspective, that has been changed. Now it will pick right up where the first one ended from Aristotle’s perspective. If the sequel is anything like the first, then it will have an abundance of emotions, continued reflections, and a further exploration of the themes discussed in the first novel. With this, hopefully, the story of Aristotle and Dante will continue to gain critical success and reach out to its audience who needs the story of these two boys to be told."

I think we'll have the sequel in 2017/2018. :D
Profile Image for Asia.
503 reviews26 followers
October 26, 2021
I was waiting more or less patiently for seven long years to finally see what a journey awaits Ari and Dante, some people waited even longer. But now I know it was worth it. Just so you know, my opinion is probably biased but whatever.

The history continues and while Ari and Dante face some difficult things in life, they also grow up and become even more precious. Life is hard and unfortunately a lot of people are not accepting the truth, that everyone should live the way they want, not matter what is your race or sexuality. Nobody should tell you how to live your life.

Did I cry? Duh .

I honestly don't know what else to say. I'll just gladly go back to the story of Ari and Dante's over and over again.


Who pre-ordered this baby?


How could I miss the release?! Shame on me! But THE COVER!!!!! So pretty!


"ARISTOTLE AND DANTE DIVE INTO THE WATERS OF THE WORLD. October 12th from Simon and Schuster. It took me years to write this book. It’s not my book anymore. It’s yours now. Sorry you had to wait so long. You’re beautiful."



I'm just going to copy and paste the tweet:

"The title of the sequel is definitely NOT There Will be Other Summers. I decided on a Title: Ari & Dante: the World Without Us In It. But that’s changed. The title will be revealed soon and so will the cover along with the pub date. Look for the announcement coming soon!"

"I’m happy to announce that I have finally finished writing the sequel and have sent it to my agent. Stay tuned for more updates."



Benjamin Alire Saenz wrote on Twitter that it might be finished by the end of summer! :D


It has a title and it's in Ari's POV and the story continues!!!

Profile Image for Sahil Javed.
258 reviews238 followers
October 30, 2021
Aristotle and Dante Dive into the Waters of the World is the well-awaited sequel to Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. In the first book, Aristotle and Dante, two lost teens, find solace in each other and the love they have for one another. The first book ends with Aristotle realising that he is in fact in love with Dante. The sequel picks up where we left off and follows these two boys as they navigate this new relationship amidst the cruelty of the world.
“I once thought that you could find all the secrets of the universe in someone’s hand.

And I think that’s true. I did find all the secrets of the universe in your hand. Your hand, Dante.”

It’s no secret that Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe is one of my favourite books of all time. It had a really nice exploration of masculinity, a soft, wholesome romance between two boys which develops so excruciatingly slowly but is so wonderful in all its slow burn wonderfulness. The sequel was even better, tenfold, if that’s even possible at all. It was so heartwarming seeing the relationship between these two boys develop, especially as it was during a really difficult time for gay people where AIDS was inflicting so much pain and death on everyone and nobody was helping, instead choosing to remain silent and deliberately oblivious. I like that the novel included those elements, showing that for Ari and Dante, although they had found each other, it was going to be a complicated and hard life at times.
“And then I heard myself whisper, “Mom, why didn’t anybody tell me that love hurts so much?”

“If I had told you, would it have changed anything?”

The relationship between these boys has my whole entire heart. The first book had so many cute moments but they were mainly moments of friendship because it takes Aristotle the whole novel to realise that he is in love with Dante and the novel ends with them kissing. So in the sequel we finally get to see the development of their relationship and the way they navigate the world together and it was glorious. It was sweet and wholesome, with the cute moments they had with one another and their kisses and interactions. It was exciting, because of the desire they were discovering for one another and their own bodies. And it was tense because they are navigating another part of their relationship, discovering both the positives and negatives of each other’s personalities and individual natures.
“There’s a world out there that’s going to make you feel like that you don’t belong in this country—or any other country, for that matter. But in this house, Ari, there is only belonging. You belong to us. And we belong to you.”

Being in Ari’s head makes me so emotional because of how much I connect with him as a character. He’s an overthinker who relies on his words and it was nice seeing him finally develop that relationship that he had with words and how he used it as an outlet for his feelings. But the way he thinks and the way he feels was so wholesome to watch and it made me so emotional. I love these two fictional characters so much and I can’t express into words just how much they mean to me. This novel developed them both as characters really well and it’s crazy how much they have grown and learned since the first book and even since the beginning of this book to the end.
“Life, Ari, can be an ugly thing. But life can be so incredibly beautiful. It’s both. And we have to learn to hold the contradictions inside us without despairing, without losing our hope.”

One of my favourite aspects of the first book was the family dynamics and they were even better in the sequel. The relationships that both Ari and Dante have with their parents is so wholesome and the conversations that come out of these relationships are some of my favourites of all times. In a lot of YA novels, the parents are normally absent or there isn't a good relationship there. But the reason I love these books so much is because they portray such a healthy parent-child relationship, especially between Ari and his parents as he grows to realise that he loves them a lot and has failed them in his own way by assuming that they didn’t understand him when in reality it was him who didn’t understand them. It was heartwarming seeing Ari grow closer to his father and push past the obstacles that kept them apart. That development, along with Ari finally confronting his brother, really helped him grow as a character and you can see how much he has fully matured and adapted to his circumstances since the first book and I felt honoured being a part of that journey.
“When you are standing all alone,” she whispered, “the people who notice—those are the people who stand by your side. Those are the people who love you.”

Ari’s growth and development as a character meant that he was opening up his social circle and instead of staying as a loner, which he did for a lot his life, he starts to branch out to other people, such as Susie and Gina from the first book and a new character that is introduced, Cassandra. Oh my god the friendships that Ari forms with these girls filled my whole heart with so much love. They bond and they grow closer and they are truly there for each other the most important ways and I can’t even express to you how important that was for the story and for Ari’s character development. You can tell that he is truly a better person from just knowing these girls and I’m really glad that these friendships were such a central part of the story.
“I don’t ever want to wake up,” he whispered.

“We have to go home.”

“I’m already home. I’m with you.”

That made me smile. Such a Dante thing to say.”

The only complaints I have about this book is the fact that I felt like the ending was really rushed. There’s an event that happens between the two boys that felt really abrupt and random and then what follows also feels rushed, but although I’ve said that, I still nevertheless really enjoyed the way the novel was concluded. The only other thing is that there’s a major event that happens towards the last quarter of the novel that to me felt like it came out of nowhere. It made me really emotional and it was so unfair but it also felt like there was no warning? But these were really minor things and didn’t take away from my enjoyment of the novel.
“Maybe all we were meant to do on this earth was to keep on telling stories. Our stories—and the stories of the people we loved.”

Overall, I can’t express to you just how much I adored Aristotle and Dante Dive into the Waters of the World. Just like the first book, it was adorable and wholesome whilst also addressing some really important issues. The relationships that are portrayed in this book, the central one between Ari and Dante, the one between the boys and their parents, the friendships between Ari, Dante and Gina, Susie and Cassandra, are done so well and genuinely filled my heart with so much love and warmth that I felt like it was impossible to keep it all in. I just need to tell everyone about this book. Thank you, Benjamin Alire Saenz, for writing this book. We had to wait a while but the wait was worth it because my heart feels full of joy and adoration for Ari and Dante. These two books have my entire heart. And I am so damn happy they exist. Thank you!

Some of my favourite quotes (basically the whole book):

“And then there was this: Love didn’t just have something to do with my heart—it had something to do with my body. And my body had never felt so alive. And then I knew, I finally knew about this thing called desire.”

“I love the rain more than anything.”

“I know. I want to be the rain.”

“You are the rain, Dante.” And I wanted to say You’re the rain and you’re the desert and you’re the eraser that’s making the word “loneliness” disappear. But it was too much to say and I would always be the guy that would say too little and Dante was the kind of guy who would always say too much.”

“And he asked me, “Why don’t you ever sing?”

“Singing means that you’re happy.”

“You’re not happy?”

“Maybe only when I’m with you.”

I loved when I said something that made Dante smile.”

“She just looked at me in that same kind of way that she had always looked at me. And I wondered if I could ever look at anybody like that, a look that held all the good things that existed in the known universe.”

“Everything was so new. It felt as if I had just been born. This life that I was living now, it was like diving into an ocean when all I had known was a swimming pool. There were no storms in a swimming pool. Storms, they were born in the oceans of the world.”

“I thought of the sound of his voice the very first time I heard it. I didn’t know that voice was going to change my life. I thought he was only going to teach me how to swim in the waters of this swimming pool. Instead, he taught me how to dive into the waters of life.”

“Last year, Mr. Blocker said we could find ourselves in our own writing. All I could think was this: Sounds like a good place to get lost. Yeah, I think I might get lost a hundred times, a thousand times, before I find out who I am and where I’m going.”

“Sometimes I had beautiful words living inside of me and I just couldn’t push those words out so that other people could see they were there.”

“My mother smiled—and then she broke into a very soft laugh. She ran her fingers through my hair. “Oh, Ari, let your sisters love you. Let yourself be loved. For all you know, there’s a long line of people wanting you to let them in.”

“I didn’t know if I was crying because of what my father had said. I think that was part of it. But, really, I think I was crying about a lot of things, about me and my desire for another boy’s body, which was mysterious and terrifying and confusing. I was crying about my brother, whose ghost haunted me. I was crying because I realized how much I loved my father, who was becoming someone I knew. He wasn’t a stranger anymore. I was crying because I had wasted so much time thinking shitty things about him, instead of seeing him as a quiet, kind man who had suffered through a hell called war and had survived.”

“Everyone had disappeared from the universe except the young man whose hand I was holding, and everything that had ever been born and everything that had ever died existed where his hand touched mine. Everything—the blue of the sky, the rain in the clouds, the white of the sand, the water in the oceans, all the languages of all the nations, and all the broken hearts that had learned to beat in their brokenness.”

“I didn’t feel lost as I kissed Dante. Not lost at all. I had found where I belonged.”

“I had never felt this alive and I thought that I would never love anyone or anything as much as I loved Dante in this very moment. He was the map of the world and everything that mattered.”

“I sometimes felt like I’d been asleep for a long time—and when I met Dante, I began to wake up, and I began seeing not only him but the mean and terrible and awesome world I lived in. The world was a scary place to live in, and it would always be scary—but you could learn not to be afraid. I guess I had to decide what was more real, the scary things or—or Dante. Dante, he was the most real thing in my world.”

“Before we left, she told us to always remember the things that matter, and that it was up to us to decide what mattered and what didn’t. She hugged us both. “And remember that you matter more to the universe than you will ever know.”

“It was so easy just to be with Dante. When we touched, it seemed like it was something pure. What wasn’t easy was learning how to live in the world, with all of its judgments. Those judgments managed to make their way into my body. It was like swimming in a storm at sea. Any minute, you could drown. At least it felt like that. One minute the sea was calm. And then there was a storm. And the problem, with me, anyway, was that the storm lived inside me."

“People were complicated. I was complicated. Dante, he was complicated, too. People—they were included in the mysteries of the universe. What mattered is that he was an original. That he was beautiful and human and real and I loved him—and I didn’t think anything would ever change that.”

“Your loneliness made me sad, Ari. And there’s something about you. I mean, people are like countries, and me and Gina, and your friend Dante, we’re all countries—and maybe you’ve given your friend Dante a visa. But even if you have, that’s just one person. And one person isn’t enough. Having friends is like traveling. Gina and I have offered you a visa to travel to our countries whenever you want. So, Ari, when are you going to give us a visa? We want so much to visit you. We want so much for you to show us around your beautiful country.” And she was crying again.”

“Let’s map out the year, Dante. Let’s write our names and chart out some paths. And go see what we have never seen. And be what we have never been.”

“You know, we not only have to be smart enough to be cartographers—we also have to be brave enough to dive into waters that may not be very friendly.”

“But the problem was that love was never safe. Love took you to places you had always been afraid to go. What the hell did I know about love? Sometimes, when I was in Dante’s presence, I felt that I knew everything there was to know about love. But, for me, to love was one thing. To let yourself be loved, well, that was the most difficult thing of all.”

“And all of this is because you looked at me one day at a swimming pool and said to yourself, I bet I can teach this guy how to swim. You saw me and I wasn’t invisible anymore. You taught me how to swim. And I didn’t have to be afraid of the water anymore. And you gave me enough words to rename the universe I lived in.”

“I was also learning that loving someone was different from falling in love with them."

[14/02/21] i will also dive into the waters of the world if october can come tomorrow.

i will literally sacrifice my whole family to get a release date for this book. i need it now.
Profile Image for Reading_ Tamishly.
4,159 reviews2,228 followers
February 14, 2023
Was loving the book so much until 30 percent. It got really repetitive and tiring tbh. The only book I was anticipating the most this year. Thank you for reaching me. We do not need to be favs. You are okay. I am okay. Take care, Ari and Dante.
Want to read
March 4, 2021



It´s been two years...where´s the book???!!!

Edit 2

The year is 2020, the world is about to end...no book, no hope

I can't believe it, we did it guys

It's finally here, we have a cover and a publication date...I'm shook

2021 it's the year of hope

Profile Image for Emily✨.
1,557 reviews30 followers
September 20, 2021
Oof. This was disappointing.

Granted, I read an advanced copy that hadn't yet undergone final edits, so there could be some hefty changes between what I read and the final version. So I won't count the numerous little typos and inconsistencies (like the moment when Ari's last name is suddenly Quintana LMAO) scattered throughout the book against my rating. Even aside from that, though... I did not like this at all. If it hadn't been a sequel with characters I already care about, I would have DNF'ed around the 50% mark. I was able to read it quickly, but only because I was pushing myself through so I could find out what happened and be done with it.

Here's what I think the themes were supposed to be in this book:
1. Silence=Death. Linking the AIDS anthem (as this is set in 1988-89) with the carried-over theme from the first book of silence leading to violence. Ari's family bottling up feelings and refusing to talk about the past hurt all of them. Now they're talking and healing, and Ari is struggling with keeping such a huge part of his identity--his sexuality--hidden away from the world. Ari refuses to be invisible anymore, and as a result becomes more involved in the world around him that he has previously ignored.
2. In a world that is hostile to those who are different, exiles must be cartographers. Ari and Dante don't see a path for them to have future; they need to carve their own but don't know where to start. This is the main crux for conflict in their relationship throughout the story.
These are good themes! But imo they are executed very poorly.

To sum up my biggest gripe about this book: only a couple important things happen, several important things DON'T happen, and a sea of unimportant things take up most of the book. Even the important moments, which should have packed an emotional punch, fell flat because they didn't have the necessary buildup to have the weight they should have had. The pagetime that should have been spent foreshadowing and supporting those crucial scenes was instead wasted on random scenes with new characters that served no real purpose. This book is SO CROWDED with new characters that pop in for a scene or two but have no real significance in the narrative. For example, Rico Rubio. He's described as effeminate and obviously queer, Ari steps into take down a gang of boys who are bullying him, never actually speaks to Rico at all, and later we find out that Rico purposefully overdosed on heroin and died. Which could have meant something, if Ari had had any sort of conversation with the guy ever. Instead, Ari talks with some other random guy named Danny who helped Ari beat up the bullies, then Danny disappears until he breaks the news of Rico's death to Ari 100 pages later, before promptly disappearing again and never being mentioned for the rest of the book. Why did these characters exist? Yes, there's a larger theme going on about how the world is inhospitable to queer people, but this could have been included more cohesively instead of through random scenes and characters. This is just one example; multiple scenes like this are scattered throughout the book. Also, there's this big emotional bait-and-switch that actually made me really mad because it was so unnecessary.

Things from the first book that should have been part of this book's narrative were noticeably absent. Namely, any fallout at all from Dante's violent assault. Ari and Dante just... don't talk very much? Or even spend that much time together? Their deep, philosophical conversations that were so lovely in the first book are nowhere to be found. On another note, I was surprised that Ari didn't really seem to have a sexuality crisis; like there was almost total unaknowledgement that he's liked girls in the past (that one girl from the first book, I forgot her name. Illiana?). There's one moment where Dante suggests that Ari could be bisexual, but Ari just refutes it and it's never brought up again. (Which is also a problem because Dante's accusation was borne out of jealousy, and that's just never dealt with in the narrative.) Ari's lesbian aunt Ophelia is hardly mentioned at all, even though she'd be a clear example of living an openly queer life for Ari and Dante. And she left Ari her house, so that money should be a big factor in Ari's considerations about his future, but it's only brought up once at the very end of the book. Some of the characterization felt very inconsistent with the first book, especially Ari's dad who I guess once he decided to start talking he just couldn't stop. Although that was probably just an example of this entire book's problem with verbal diarrhea. SO. MANY. MONOLOGUES. There were also styles of writing that I loved in the first book that I really missed in this one; for example, the dry wit and repetitious dialogue between Ari and Dante. I probably wouldn't have noticed if I didn't re-read Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe before reading this sequel, but the writing voice feels very different.

The next biggest problem is that the writing is... dare I say it... so cringey. Overly saccharine in many places and it seems like some character has to cry in every scene. Seriously, so much crying. No one cries this much. The dialogue was also so inauthentic-- it was that way in the first book as well, but in a poetic way. In this book, it's inauthentic in a bad way; in a, "this is the author's soapbox, not the character's," kind of way. There are so many moments of blatant and random social commentary that had nothing to do with the story and weren't well written enough to make up for it. There's a scene where Ari and a couple classmates tear into their racist teacher, but it didn't feel triumphant it felt like one of those, "And then everyone clapped," Tumblr posts. Especially since we were only introduced to this teacher for the purpose of this scene; she wasn't a consistent conflict throughout the book, she was just plopped into the middle on the story for the purpose of including some dialogue about racism. It wasn't subtle or well crafted, it just felt amateur-ish and a little embarrassing, frankly.

Finally: yeah, there was some general weirdness about gender in this book. It was present in the first book, too, but not to this degree. In the first book it felt like a characterization choice (they're teenage boys in the 1980s, after all, they're not going to be experts on gender theory); but here it felt like the author's views poking through the characters. Lots of pseudo-feminist nonsense about girls being essentially different and also better than boys; the supposed impossibility for gay boys to be misogynistic because after all they're gay...; linking gender to genitalia and using a trans woman as a prop for Ari's character development. It was pretty uncomfy, not gonna lie. I didn't personally find Ari's misgendering of the trans woman to be problematic (though I'm cis so don't take my word for it); he corrected himself both times and it felt like a realistic character choice, not like a statement about the trans character's gender. But I did have a problem with how insignificant her presence was in the narrative. It seemed more like the author trying to cover his bases, rather than a considerate inclusion.

Overall, Aristotle and Dante Dive into the Waters of the World felt overlong, directionless, and disorganized. It seems like the author just forgot that this book was supposed to be about Ari and Dante, and instead tried to cram in a bunch of scenes where Ari could be his self-insert hero. Dante was hardly present for most of the book, in fact, or at least not in any meaningful way. In the last 10% the author finally seemed to remember the conflict that should have been the center of the book: Ari and Dante's insecurities about a future together. There's a quick rushed little conflict that has no emotional impact because it feels dropped in to the end of the story, and concludes so abruptly I was actually left blinking at the page in astonishment. A decent ending could have redeemed this from a one-star to a two-star rating, but it was so unsatisfying I'm actually kinda mad about it.

Yeah, I wouldn't recommend this book. It's not the sequel it should have been, and is actually a little insulting. Instead of being a thoughtful continuation of beloved characters, it just seems self-indulgent and opportunistic. Like the author didn't have more story to tell, he just had things he wanted to say. I'm going to go on pretending Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe is a standalone. Sequel, what sequel?

TW: homophobia, biphobia, f****t slur, racism, family member death, AIDS pandemic-related death, reference to a deadly transmisogynistic assault, reference to suicide by intentional overdose

Thank you so much to the publisher for providing me with this eARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review!

✨I read this title for the Magical Readathon: Orilium!
✨Novice Path: Ashthorn Tree
3 reviews4 followers
November 15, 2021
um hi so i am very disappointed in this book. i loved the first one so much, it was really important to me growing up and i've read it at least 11 times (no exaggeration). but this one sank so far below my expectations that i had to come on here and write a review.

here is a list of things that i didn't like in no particular order:
- i haven't seen anyone saying this so i could just be living in a fever dream but he changed the names of ari's sisters??? i swear in the first book, ari's older sisters were named cecilia and sylvia, but in this book they're named emmy and vera?? like wtf?? how can you forget the names of two semi- important characters?
- there is no plot. none.
- they named the baby SOPHOCLES. after the dude who wrote OEDIPUS. don't you think dante's parents would have learned from their first child that maybe it's not great to name your kid after dead white men? (also i thought it should have been a baby sister because of dante's whole "he has to be a boy and he has to be straight" thing but that's just my personal opinion)
- ari like doesn't process his sexual orientation at all, like he doesn't even consider being bi (and when dante asks him if he's bi its because dante is jealous? not cool) he's just like "i'm so ashamed" for like half of the book even though the last line of the first book is "how could i have ever been ashamed of loving dante quintana?" so congratulations dude there goes most of the character development from the last book
- ari is horny for like the first half of the book and it's not even creative he's just like "dante dante i want to kiss you and make love to you" over and over
- saenz took a concept almost verbatim from the inexplicable logic of my life, the whole thing about meeting words and having them live inside you but he did it like worse. like he kept saying the same thing without much variation
- he took a lot from the first book and just kept repeating it over and over but not well. like there is a way to bring in themes and reference events that happened but it just felt like he was recycling it all
- what was up with the cartographer thing? it was mentioned soooo many times and it got really cringey. i also don't think it was an effective metaphor
- why did he use the title so often, like he described dante diving into the water once or twice and it was weird and he also talked so much about the "waters of the world" like ew
- and what was with the whole "dear dante" thing? it didn't work for me
- who tf is cassandra, like i thought the whole point of gina and suzie was that they kind of had a love/hate thing with ari and in the last book he actually got to liking them and he literally has the same arc with cassandra but with so much less textual support
- i swear if someone says "that's a beautiful thing" or cries one more time
- who tf is rico and how did he die and when did he die and did ari ever even have a conversation with him
- why tf does the dad talk so much now
- why tf does the dad also die out of nowhere
- why did ari get a standing ovation at a funeral that feels really weird
- where the fuck is legs in the second half? i feel like if you're grieving or something your dog that you love sooo much would probably be there every once and a while
- gay men "can't be misogynistic"???? give me a break.
- why does ari name the trans woman that his brother murdered? also she is only mentioned when its convenient for ari's character development
- this book exists so deep in the gender binary and all of the conversations about gender lowkey give me terf vibes
- it also felt very preachy, like the author was just trying to shove all of his thinly veiled opinions and unsolicited advice into this book
- ari's mom outs him to his sisters without his permission and then ari basically makes this random kid at a party come out to his friends and then they're all friends suddenly at the end like there was no problem with that
- also this is the 80s i feel like there would be at least one person who is not cool with literally everyone being gay
- speaking of, the way that the mom seems to like completely forgive the lady with the pie that she blew up at in the beginning of the book makes me uncomfortable. like pie lady didn't do anything to take accountability for what she did and she's not even in the rest of the book she's only there for two scenes
- when did suzie start dating the cricket dude? the whole setup for that was him asking if she was trying to make him fall in love with her in like their first conversation
- the letter from the lizard guy and the whole teacher of the year thing felt so out of place
- ari and dante break up?? weirdly? and then they get back together because ari goes to fucking paris? and they don't even talk about why they broke up? or what they're going to do in the future?
- he tries to make it about aids but its only about aids when ari wants to feel sad
- it was too long. it felt like a really rough draft with all of the plot holes and inconsistencies and the lack of plot and just everything was unnecessary
- i've read ari and dante fanfiction that was so much better than this. in this book, all of the characters felt really out of character

so in summary: 0/10 would not recommend, especially if you liked the first book
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for jules.
106 reviews147 followers
January 7, 2022
okay so, this was originally a five star review but I am moving it to 3 stars after further reflection. in all honesty, I gave it a five star rating even though I didn’t exactly love the story. I’d like to clarify this is my opinion so please do not get offended (and this review is a mess because I read the book two months ago and am basing things off of memory).

was the story bad? no, no it was not. I do think that it was unnecessary however, and that a sequel was not needed. the characters felt different and I hate the fact that Ari was perfect. In the first book, he was messy and so realistic and I related to him so much. In the second book, he completely changed. I also feel like Dante changed somehow.

oddly, and i don’t know why, but I didn’t love the friends? idk I think I’m the only one. AND SO MANY NEW CHARACTERS. WHY.

one thing that I will not excuse is the biphobia in the novel. I understand it was set in the 80’s but I think it would be much more better if it wasn’t there at all. In the first book, Ari was heavily bi-coded and then bam biphobia when Ari mentions it! his sexuality was invalidated when he mentioned it, and as someone who is bi, it hurt.

as you can see though, it’s 3 stars and not 1 star so it is still completely tolerable! just like the first book, I loved the writing style and the philosophical discussions. I think the beginning was amazing (first 100 pages?) and the ending was satisfactory. I’m glad I got a chance to read it before the publication date.

I’m not really sure why I gave the book five stars in the first place, and everytime I looked at it, I felt the need to change it. so here we are. if you’re reading this, hopefully you enjoy it much more than I did.
Profile Image for lavenderews.
470 reviews670 followers
January 3, 2023
Ta książka to piękne słowa, które tworzą jeszcze piękniejsze zdania.
Profile Image for ellie.
657 reviews1,250 followers
December 29, 2021
As I felt the beating of Dante’s heart against the palm of my hand, I wished I could somehow reach into my chest and and rip out my own heart and show Dante everything that it held.

well this was a journey💀

i liked this and i didn’t like this. at all. my feelings about this book are so mixed and all over the place and i doubt i will ever be able to untangle them... so you’re getting some unfiltered, jumbled thoughts by a sleep-deprived uni student drowning in assignment deadlines :)

Time didn’t exist, and whatever the world thought of us, we didn’t live in anybody’s world but our own at that very moment.

firstly, the lack of Dante in “Aristotle and Dante Dive into the Waters of the World” was kinda depressing. especially bcos he’s my fave. Dante really didn’t change much - all of the monumental growth is solely reserved for Ari. i wanted this book to be about Ari and Dante grappling with their futures as gay men and what that would mean for their relationship... and we get that? more like, blink and you’ll miss it, tho.

the last like 30 pages is reserved for them and their relationship but it was so rushed and while some scenes in that time made me cry - it wasn’t scenes about Dante and Ari, it was the wider social issues the author focused on which i liked but again, thought could have been explored so much more. Dante deserved more.

so this should be renamed ”Aristotle and occasionally Dante Dive into the Waters of the World”.

Dante, Dante, Dante. He was like a heart that was beating in every pore of my body. His heart was beating in my heart. His heart was beating in my head. His heart was beating in my stomach. His heart was beating in my legs. His heart was beating in my arms, my hands, my fingers. His heart was beating in my tongue, my lips. No wonder I was trembling. Trembling, trembling, trembling.

i felt like parts really dragged and had to force myself not to skim pages😭 it really didn’t need to be as long as it was since a lot of scenes were repeated and the same philosophical ramblings of Ari were becoming a tad overdone.

it was definitely in need of refining - there were enough grammatical errors that i began to notice, in addition to names being wrong, like Ari’s sisters being called Emmy and Vera instead of Cecelia and Sylvia (those girlies ain’t even in the same ballpark) while Ari was once called Aristide Quintana instead of Mendoza... with Quintana being Dante’s surname.

then just the repetitiveness of the all the deep, philosophical shit got pretentious quickly bcos it was so overused. a lot of the really beautiful quotes got lost amongst the mediocre pretentious ones the author kept drowning the narrative in. they lost their impact bcos every few lines was something profound Ari said or thought.

and that’s the other thing... a lot of other teen characters spoke in all these pretentious metaphors and it was kinda funny to read - like Cassandra, Gina, Susie. it worked for Dante bcos he always speaks like that, he oozes intelligent, art, poetry, he glows with his love and curiosity of the world. and by extent, it works for Ari since he converses so much with Dante. but when everyone else started jumping onto the philosophical bandwagon, it got pretty suffocating.

bcos, my favourite scenes were all the normal shit Ari and Dante talked about. conversations where they actually sounded like teens— like the scene where Ari invites Dante over to his house on the phone and the two of them are pretending to be a salesman trying to sell shit to a customer over the phone. when they acted like goofy idiots was when i found myself smiling also like a goofy idiot.

let teens be teens. these two are seventeen. sometimes they didn’t read like it. the philosophical shit worked in the first book bcos i don’t think it was constant and jammed down our throats. it occurred naturally in these little pockets of beauty and pain. here it was like endless tidal waves of profound observations and comments.

and again, the subtly and minimal usage of it in the previous packed more of a punch for me - bcos teens still can think all this shit that Ari thinks and observes... but not 24/7. he was balanced in the first book, a combo of a depressed kid with a lot of repressed emotions that resulted in him bottling shit up, and the more profound teen growing into himself and making a lot of discoveries about the world and himself.

here... he was just too much of the “profound discoveries” guy with very little of his teenage personality shining through.

People say that love is like a kind of heaven. I was beginning to think that love is a kind of hell.

that being said, Ari was so much more open with himself about his love for Dante and it was so beautiful, god. he admired, observed, and loved Dante so much, thinking the most romantic and heartbreaking things bcos he was just so in love with Dante and at times didn’t know what to do with so much love.

especially bcos i felt a bit let down with the ending of the last book, with Ari not coming to terms with his feelings for Dante on his own, i feel like seeing Ari love Dante in this book really made it up to me lol.

i really felt Ari blossom and accept himself. his growth was very apparent and i felt like he was brighter. watching him make friends was probably my favourite thing :) it was so sweet and fun to see him just talk to people and not put shields up around his heart.

the romance of Ari and Dante itself would be four stars... just everything that encompassed their romance is what fell flat here. i loved the sweet side of these two in love— i found myself smiling so much at their small exchanges, silly antics and soft words. you really got to see their soft, tentative love. the silent moments where they just adored one another, filled with so much joy, hope and sincerity.

Everyone had disappeared from the universe expect the young man whose hand I was holding and everything that had ever been born and everything that had ever died existed where his hand touched mine.

i did get pretty emotional with Ari’s loss which he experienced (which is where a lot of my conflicting emotions regarding the books comes from bcos this did hit me in the gut a lot towards the end). by that point, i had been pretty resigned to skimming and not being as invested as i originally was. but that plot line definitely snagged me back in and it felt just like the first book - about Ari and Dante, and their parents. the boys’ dynamics with their parents and as a whole unit is something i adored in the first book and was very lacking in this one, so any moment i found the two families merging again, i automatically loved it.

the last 25% of the book truly captured the beauty and essence of the first book and why everyone loves it. it’s a shame it took so long for the story to finally move. it felt pretty stagnant up until that point. it’s a shame the author focused so much time on the unnecessary shit which bogged down the book.

There was only me and him and the darkness around us and the threat of a storm and there was a campfire and it made Dante seem like he was appearing out of the darkness, his face shining in the light of the fire. I had never felt this alive and I thought that I would never love anyone or anything as much as I loved Dante in this very moment.

i can’t write a review about this book without acknowledging the problematic themes which have disheartened a lot of readers. the main one i initially noticed was Ari and Cassandra.

now, Ari’s friendship with Cassandra left me feeling... things? idk what exactly it made me feel, but i just noticed stuff about their connection. Ari admits he has a connection with her like he doesn’t have with anyone else, including Dante. their relationship was unique, with Ari letting her into parts of his life he didn’t let anyone else into. i low-key got romantic vibes from them together but Ari tells Dante he “doesn’t think” he’s bisexual and that he’s not attracted to Cassandra. but he commented a lot on how pretty he thought she was, how he liked her smile etc... and it all felt very much not platonic. (i mean he said shit like “Cassandra Ortega’s voice was just what I needed in my life.”)

and that’s totally fine if a) the author bothered to explore bisexuality (which he didn’t - instead bisexuality is thrown at Ari like an accusation) and b) if this wasn’t a love story about Dante and Ari. getting romantic vibes between Cassandra and Ari kinda undermined his love for Dante bcos it really didn’t feel something platonic like his friendships with Susie and Gina.

so i feel like the lack of clarity regarding Ari and Cassandra’s relationship made things worse lmao - either way, confirming his bisexuality or confirming his gay identity would have been much better since this vague middle ground felt lazy af. and instead, just a potential way to cause conflict for Dante and Ari rather than actually open an insightful conversation about bisexuality. do i make sense, lol?

(and reading lower rated reviews, the transphobia, the biphobia and the misogyny in this book was brought to my attention more vividly... so people saying that it’s set in the 80s excuses the damaging stereotypes and behaviours - it doesn’t. yall are acting like the 80s is the Stone Age and that this author isn’t writing in 2021. don’t make excuses for toxic behaviour).

so... yeah, i feel like i couldn’t write this review without mentioning that bcos originally, i barely noticed any of the problematic stuff initially and that’s my own fault for not paying close attention (but i did skim bcos this shit was repetitive). it wasn’t until the biphobia came up that i started to have doubts lmao. the misogynistic incident didn’t sit right with me when it happened. then when other reviews mentioned it i was like “oh so that’s why i felt odd with that conversation?”

while the transphobic conversation i skimmed and paid little attention to since it was so odd. i was like “i ain’t even gonna pretend like i understand what they’re talking about” bcos again, they got bogged down way too often with this profound verbal diarrhoea which ended up sounding pretentious, odd, or just made zero sense lol. and instead, came across as offensive at times when i think the author’s aims was to be profound and “woke”.

Sometimes I think that I’m nothing but a lot of emotions all tangled up in my body and I don’t know how to untangle them.

also, damn the overcrowding of characters ://// every fucker and their Nan was dropped into this book. every chapter was someone new who showed up for like 0.5 seconds and dipped, never to be seen again.

they weren’t characters. not really. they were just life lessons for Ari to comment on and observe. they were ways to heroically elevate Ari - having no agency other than to serve Ari and build up his character (Rico Rubio, Mrs Alvarez, Danny, Emma, Julio, Cricket, Hector and Elena, Chuy, like three or four of Ari’s teachers, the dead trans woman his brother killed...)

so instead of this being a cohesive story, at times it felt like a handful of short stories/interactions Ari had to learn for some big life lesson all mushed together to come across as deep and philosophical. it just felt kinda cheap, instead of focusing solely on one or two over arching storylines, it was hundreds of small jumbled ones. the storylines towards the end of the book, Ari’s father, Ari and Dante’s futures, the AIDS epidemic... all of those were where this story soared and packed a punch for me. but the middle of the book (id say from 30%-70%) was unnecessary, aimless and unrefined.

”You’re every poem I’ve ever loved.”

so can you see why i have mixed feelings?😭 i mean i cried two or three times but simultaneously feel cheated by the rest of the book.

im not as bummed as most people since i don’t have the nostalgia attached to this since i legit read the first book like two days ago lmao. but i can understand why people are disappointed by this. the beauty and the nuance of the first book were diluted and under utilised. replaced by suffocating purple prose with a pretty aimless plot. while Ari and Dante’s relationship truly was put on the back burner... for reasons unknown lmao.

so, if you adored the first book and are scared to pick this up in fear it ruins the nostalgia and your warm, fuzzy memories?? don’t pick this up. keep those warm fuzzy feelings in tact.

but if you’re like me and don’t care either way... go for it, i guess.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Alberto Villarreal.
Author 14 books11.2k followers
June 14, 2021
Intenté leerlo con los ojos del Alberto del pasado pero no pude. Es bonito reencontrarse con los personajes pero ya no conecto con sus personalidades. Me parece que el libro tiene un poco de relleno y temas que se agregaron solo para darle un peso social y cultural pero sin incorporarlo bien a la trama. Si este libro no hubiera tardado tanto en llegar a mi vida seguro las cosas serían diferentes.
Profile Image for :).
137 reviews169 followers
October 16, 2021
i wish i could say i am reviewing this book from an objective standpoint, but i am not. the first novel following ari and dante meant the absolute world to me, and because of my attachment to the characters and the writing, it would be almost impossible for me to hate this book.

and boy was i right. this continuation was everything i wanted and more. the development of past characters and introduction and depth of new ones was astonishing - some of the best written people i’ve ever read. the plot progression and the realistic turmoil of love that took place was so beautiful.

and holy christ the writing. the writing. this piece of literature is so simple and so complex. it really does feel like the narration of a young adolescent, on a journey of self discovery and growth.

this novel also came at a time in my life where the themes explored were so prevalent and touching, it was almost painful to read at times.

this book is different because it lives inside of me.


october 4, 2021: school and sports are consuming my life right now, and i barely have time to read, but. this. book. is. coming. so. soon. i. cannot. wait.

september 22, 2021: my patience is thinning. it is so close. this book is the only thing keeping me functioning at the moment.


february 13,2021: AHHHH TITLE “aristotle and dante dive into the waters of the world” AND RELEASE DATE: OCTOBER 12TH. SCREAMING.

february 4, 2021: STILL NO NEWS. UGH.

january 22, 2021: its been four days. no announcement from publishers. i. am. dying.


jan 14, 2021: WE HAVE GOTTEN NO UPDATES ON THIS BOOK IN LIKE FOUR MONTHS. I NEED IT NOW. i will literally start sobbing the day we get a cover or release date.

dec 6, 2020: hi i need this now. hurry up.
Profile Image for give me books.
141 reviews1,064 followers
January 5, 2023
Liczyłam na coś zupełnie innego. Liczyłam na opowieść o kochających się chłopcach i trochę ją dostałam, ale jednak ta książka jest w większości o czymś innym.
Jest pełna smutku, nienawiści, niezrozumienia, ale takie jest niestety życie i trzeba po prostu to zaakceptować.
Profile Image for Alex.andthebooks.
241 reviews1,680 followers
January 22, 2023

Ta część jest zupełnie inna niż pierwsza — to nie jest książka o Arystotelesie i Dantem. To książka o Arystotelesie i jego poszukiwaniu nowej formy, odnajdywaniu się w nowym kształcie, nowej rzeczywistości.
To był proces i cieszę się, że mogłam się w nim odnaleźć i uczestniczyć.
Profile Image for farith.
341 reviews455 followers
Shelved as 'need-this-like-air'
October 15, 2021

2020: *exists*

benjamin alire sáenz:

Profile Image for Cassandra.
29 reviews2 followers
August 18, 2021

Thank you to Netgalley and Simon & Schuster Canada for this ARC.
I received an electronic copy of this book from Netgalley and Simon & Schuster Canada in exchange for an honest review:

*Trigger/ content warnings: transphobia, misogyny, biphobia, violence, death, homophobia
**Review contains slight spoilers

I will start by saying that when I read the first book, I was shocked and uncomfortable with the way transphobia/ violence against a trans woman was used to further the plot in a completely unnecessary way. I had hoped this would be left behind in Aristotle and Dante Dive into the Waters of the World.

However, the sequel picks up right where the first book left off, and I was extremely unhappy to see that the language used to discuss/describe gender in the book is very binary and disrespectful of trans identities. It was difficult and uncomfortable to read all of the ways the characters equated gender with biological sex, over and over again throughout the book. The way they discussed trans women was disrespectful, full of harmful stereotypes and misgendering.

I also did not like how the main characters interacted with women. In one chapter, a friend of Aristotle’s tells him that he is making her uncomfortable, and that she was feeling overly sexualized/ objectified by his comments. He justifies his actions/ comments by saying that because he is a gay man he can’t possibly be making her feel that way. This seems to take accountability away from the actions in question by using sexuality as a justification for sexism/ misogyny.

The way that bisexuality was discussed in this book was also problematic. Aristotle develops a friendship with a classmate named Cassandra in this book, and Dante immediately “accuses” him of really being bisexual, not gay, and fears that Aristotle will leave him for Cassandra. Aristotle explains that there is no need for Dante to feel threatened, but he refuses to believe him. Aristotle could very well have been bisexual, but that identity is not fully considered or discussed. The way that Dante views bisexuality - as a threat - was also problematic; it wouldn’t make Aristotle love him any less. Seeing these views (either biphobia or erasure) written out in a popular book series was very disappointing.

Finally, on a more technical note, the dialogue in this book was stilted and so completely unrealistic. No teenager or even adult speaks like the characters in this book. It was also slow paced and I found it difficult to care about the suddenly huge cast of characters. The banter between Aristotle and Dante, which in the first book was done well and at times quite endearing, was also unrealistic - they did not have good rapport in my opinion. At time it was even boring to read their conversations.

In conclusion, so much of this book was disappointing and uncomfortable and so I do not recommend it.
Profile Image for Virginia Ronan ♥ Herondale ♥.
521 reviews34.4k followers
Want to read
February 2, 2019
Why didn't I know this is going to be a thing?!

I loved the first book so much!
ARGH! I can't wait for this!

Dante and Ari! <333
Profile Image for ♠ TABI⁷ ♠.
Author 15 books478 followers
Shelved as 'nah-bro'
October 27, 2021
not me finding out this author is unapologetically transphobic and consistently misgendering the people working on the movie adaption of the first book which is a real shame because I remember loving that one & really connecting with the characters but nope I can't support problematic authors so bye bye sequel and now my fond memories are bittersweet

some receipts on this can be found —> HERE and HERE
Profile Image for luce (tired and a little on edge).
1,417 reviews3,396 followers
December 8, 2022
| | blog | tumblr | ko-fi | |

“A part of me wanted to run away from all the complications of being in love with Dante. Maybe Ari plus Dante equated love, but it also equated complicated. It also equated playing hide-and-seek with the world. But there was a difference between the art of running and the art of running away.”

3 ½ stars

This one gave me all the feels 😭

“Dante really was my only friend. It was complicated to be in love with your only friend.”

It was wonderful to be reunited with Ari, Dante, and the other characters from Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. Seeing (or reading about) these characters again truly warmed my heart.
Aristotle and Dante Dive into the Waters of the World picks up right after Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe and we read of the early days in Ari and Dante’s relationship. This section was probably my favourite in the whole novel, even if their summer isn’t entirely idyllic.

“I was depressing myself. I was good at that. I had always been good at that.”

Ari’s ongoing inner conflict about his identity and sexuality often results in him turning inward. While he is still prone to bouts of self-loathing and sadness, he has ‘grown’ since Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe and he has learnt not to shut himself entirely away from the ones he loves. His relationship with his father is much more open now, and it was really heartrending to see them bond, confide, and support each other. Ari also finds friendship in three fellow schoolmates, and their presence in his life is certainly a good one.
We see how the way in which the media and public (mis)perceive and talk about the AIDS pandemic affects Ari. As he already struggles with his self-worth, his masculinity, and his sexuality, well, the deaths within his community leave their mark on him. While most of the people close to him love him and support him, at school and through the news, he witnesses and overhears plenty of homophobic remarks. As he comes to learn that responding to other people’s hatred with rage and violence, well, it doesn’t really solve matters, he tries his best to quench his anger.
Ari is also still haunted by his older brother who is still in prison and, as the end of high school approaches, uncertain about his and Dante’s future.

“And I didn’t give a shit that I was young, and I had just turned seventeen and I didn’t give a shit if anyone thought I was too young to feel the things that I felt. Too young? Tell that to my fucking heart.”

Sáenz’s narratives brim with empathy. He is considerate, tender even, towards his characters, never dismissing their feelings or making light of their struggles. The characters at the core of this novel are truly beautiful, and support each other through each other’s ups and downs. He also conveys Ari’s fears and anxieties in such a believable way, making us understand why sometimes he reacts in a certain way or why his first instinct is usually to remain silent about his worries.

Sáenz’s prose manages to be both simple and lyrical. His conversational style is truly immersive and captures with authenticity Ari’s teenage voice. The chapters are often short and very dialogue-focused, in a way that reminded me of Richard Wagamese. Their stories are heavy on dialogues, which may very well annoy some readers, but I liked the rhythm created by the characters’ conversations and, in some ways, it made me feel as if I were listening in to ‘real’ people talk about ‘real’ things.

My main issue, the reason why I didn’t give this a higher rating, is the Ari/Dante dynamic. I not only wanted to see more of them together, but I just wanted more of Dante. Ari’s new friends (although likeable enough) seem to sideline Dante’s presence in the narrative...which made some of his later actions seem quite random. Speaking of which, that last 10% was a wee bit rushed (or maybe this was just me not wanting to let go of ari/dante).

Still, it was lovely to read about these characters again and I’m sure that fans of Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe will fall in love with Aristotle and Dante Dive into the Waters of the World. Sáenz writes about loneliness, acceptance, grief, and belonging as few do. Moving and poetic, Aristotle and Dante Dive into the Waters of the World was definitely worth the wait.

ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Cameron Chaney.
Author 6 books1,814 followers
Want to read
July 26, 2016
As soon as I finish Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, I find out there's going to be a sequel...
Profile Image for Devanshi.
224 reviews155 followers
October 22, 2021
Ari loved Dante. Dante loved Ari. I didn’t feel lost as I kissed Dante. Not lost at all. I had found where I belonged.

I lost count about the number of times this book made me cry. I'm crying right now as I write this. Living inside Ari's head makes me feel afraid and secure all at once. It's a beautiful and scary place to live in. The way the author carved the characters make us feel their pain and love as if we were living it. And the love? This is best love story I've read this year.

There are a hundred of lines I've highlighted, a thousand of moments stored inside me. If I haven't said it enough, it's beautiful. If you've read the first book, this is even better than that and if you haven't, well, you're missing something lovely in your life. It's like I found a piece of myself in Ari's narrative. Loved it.

“When you are standing all alone,” she whispered, “the people who notice—those are the people who stand by your side. Those are the people who love you.”
Profile Image for Mimi.
386 reviews107 followers
June 20, 2021
This book reads exactly as if Sáenz decided to turn Taylor Swift's song "peace" into a story and I'm not mad about it.
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119 reviews
August 28, 2022
im crying of how beautiful this book was
im crying because i will never have a love like them
im crying because i’ve learn the secrets of the universe

goodbye my boys, ill see you next time whenever i reread this book, but you’re going to be in my mind all the time, thank you for teaching me to be love, thank you for teaching me that adults are also people, thank you for teaching me that i don’t have to be ashamed of who i am
thank you for everything my boys

thank you for teaching me what is loving and for teaching me that i have to let other people love me

thank you for everything my boys, for absolutely everything
i’ll see you next time

ill remember all of you when i change the world
and im going to, i swear
thanks again

with love,
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