cover image Aristotle and Dante Dive into the Waters of the World (Aristotle and Dante #2)

Aristotle and Dante Dive into the Waters of the World (Aristotle and Dante #2)

Benjamin Alire Sáenz. Simon & Schuster, $19.99 (544p) ISBN 978-1-5344-9619-4

This follow-up to 2012’s Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, narrated once again by the cerebral Aristotle “Ari” Mendoza, resumes directly after the first book’s end. Much to his surprise, Ari finds himself in love with charming romantic Dante Quintana. It’s 1986; AIDS is raging, and being gay seems to Ari like a recipe for unhappiness. Instead, love proves life-changing. Over the course of his senior year at Austin High School, Ari grows closer to his postal worker father, another introvert with much on his mind; makes close friends; and—through a journal in the form of letters to Dante—discovers the power of words. 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 (“A body thing. A heart thing. The body and the heart”), 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. Ages 14–up. Agent: Patricia Moosbrugger, Patricia Moosbrugger Literary. (Oct.)