Review of Aristotle and Dante Dive into the Waters of the World, by Benjamin Alire Sáenz, read by Lin Manuel Miranda

Aristotle and Dante Dive into the Waters of the World

by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
read by Lin Manuel Miranda

Simon & Schuster Audio, 2021. 10 hours, 3 minutes.
Review written April 30, 2022, from a library eaudiobook
Starred Review

Aristotle and Dante Dive into the Waters of the World is the sequel to Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe and yes, you should read them in order. So if you haven’t read the first book, please don’t read more of this review as it may give you some spoilers.

If possible, I loved this second book even more than the first. It’s from Ari’s perspective as he navigates his senior year of high school. He’s accepted that he’s in love with Dante, and he’s figuring out what that means.

But why I loved this book so much is that Ari also learns to develop many meaningful relationships. In the first book, Dante was his first friend. But now, as well as being in love with Dante, he develops deep friendships with some fellow students, with his parents, and with some teachers. All of those relationships help him get through when hard things hit.

And it’s definitely not all sun and roses. Some major life events happen that are hard to face. Ari goes to visit his older brother, who is in prison. And Ari and Dante have been accepted into colleges far apart from one another, so they both have anxiety about what comes next.

Also, the book is set in the 1980s during the height of the AIDS epidemic. Both Ari and Dante are coming to terms with what it means to be a gay man in a culture that hates them.

But they encounter beautiful people in their journey, and all the difficulties they face in this book are faced with a community of supportive friends, which makes all the difference.

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Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but the views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

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