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Aristotle and Dante Dive into the Waters of the World

Aristotle and Dante Dive into the Waters of the World Summary

Aristotle and Dante Dive into the Waters of the World: 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.

Aristotle and Dante Dive into the Waters of the World Introduction

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

AND HERE HE WAS, DANTE, with his head resting on my chest. In the stillness of the dawn, there was only the sound of Dante’s breathing. It was as though the universe had stopped whatever it was doing just to look down on two boys who had discovered its secrets.

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 rip out my own heart and show Dante everything that it held.

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 HATED TO WAKE HIM. But this moment had to end. We couldn’t live in the back of my pickup forever. It was late, and already it was another day, and we had to get home, and our parents would be worried. I kissed the top of his head. “Dante? Dante? Wake up.”

“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.

“C’mon, let’s get going. It looks like rain. And your mother’s going to kill us.”

Dante laughed. “She won’t kill us. We’ll just get one of her looks.

I pulled him up and we both stood there, looking up at the sky.

He took my hand. “Will you always love me?


“And did you love me from the very beginning, the way that I loved you?”

“Yes, I think so. I think I did. It’s harder for me, Dante. You have to understand that. It will always be harder for me.”

“Not everything is that complicated, Ari.”

“Not everything is as simple as you think it is.”

He was about to say something, so I just kissed him. To shut him up, I think. But also because I liked kissing him.

He smiled. “You finally figured out a way to win an argument with me.”

Yup,” I said.

It’ll work for a while,” he said.

We don’t always have to agree,” I said.

“That’s true.”

“I’m glad you’re not like me, Dante. If you were like me, I wouldn’t love you.”

Did you say you love me?” He was laughing.

“Cut it out.”

Cut what out?” he said. And then he kissed me. “You taste like the rain,” he said.

“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.


WE DIDN’T SAY ANYTHING ON the drive back home.

Dante was quiet. Maybe too quiet. He, who was always so full of words, who knew what to say and how to say it without being afraid. And then the thought came to me that maybe Dante had always been afraid—just like me. It was as if we had both walked into a room together and we didn’t know what to do in that room. Or maybe, or maybe, or maybe. I just couldn’t stop thinking about things. I wondered if there would ever come a time when I would stop thinking about things.

And then I heard Dante’s voice: “I wish I were a girl.

I just looked at Dante. “What? Wanting to be a girl is serious business. You really wish you were a girl?

No. I mean, I like being a guy. I mean, I like having a penis.

“I like having one too.”

And then he said, “But, at least, if I were a girl, then we could get married and, you know—

“That’s not ever gonna happen.”

“I know, Ari.”

“Don’t be sad.”

“I won’t be.”

But I knew he would be.

And then I put on the radio and Dante started singing with Eric Clapton and he whispered that “My Father’s Eyes” was maybe his new favorite song. “Waiting for my prince to come,” he whispered. And he smiled.

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.

When we pulled up in front of his house, the sun was on the verge of showing its face to the new day. And that’s just how it felt—like a new day. But I was thinking that maybe I would never again know—or be sure of—what the new day would bring. And I didn’t want Dante to know that there was any fear living inside me at all because he might think that I didn’t love him.

I would never show him that I was afraid. That’s what I told myself. But I knew I couldn’t keep that promise.

I want to kiss you,” he said.

“I know.”

He closed his eyes. “Let’s pretend we’re kissing.

I smiled—then laughed as he closed his eyes.

“You’re laughing at me.”

“No, I’m not. I’m kissing you.”

He smiled and looked at me. His eyes were filled with such hope. He jumped out of the truck and shut the door. He stuck his head through the open window. “I see a longing in you, Aristotle Mendoza.

“A longing?”

“Yes. A yearning.”

“A yearning?”

He laughed. “Those words live in you. Look them up.

I watched him as he bounded up the steps. He moved with the grace of the swimmer that he was. There was no weight or worry in his step.

He turned around and waved, wearing that smile of his. I wondered if his smile would be enough.

God, let his smile be enough.


I DIDN’T THINK I’D EVER felt this tired. I fell on my bed—but sleep didn’t feel like paying me a visit.

Legs jumped up beside me and licked my face. She nudged closer when she heard the storm outside. I wondered what Legs made up in her head about thunder or if dogs even thought about things like that. But me, I was happy that for the thunder. This year, such wondrous storms, the most wondrous storms I’d ever known. I must have nodded off to sleep because, when I woke, it was pouring outside.

I decided to have a cup of coffee. My mom was sitting at the kitchen table, cup of coffee in one hand, a letter in the other.

Hi,” I whispered.

Hi,” she said, that same smile on her face. “You got in late.

“Or early—if you think about it.”

“For a mother, early is late.”

“Were you worried?

“It’s in my nature to worry.”

“So you’re like Mrs. Quintana.”

“It might surprise you to know that we have a lot of things in common.”

Yeah,” I said, “you both think your sons are the most beautiful boys in the world. You don’t get out much, do you, Mom?

She reached over and combed my hair with her fingers. And then she had that look that was waiting for an explanation.

Dante and I fell asleep in the back of my pickup. We didn’t…” I stopped, and then I just shrugged. “We didn’t do anything.”

She nodded. “This is hard, isn’t it?

Yes,” I said. “Is it supposed to be hard, Mom?

She nodded. “Love is easy and it’s hard. It was that way with me and your father. I wanted him to touch me so much. And I was so afraid.”

I nodded. “But at least—

“At least I was a girl and he was a boy.”

Yeah.” 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.

Why, Mom? Why do I have to be this way? Maybe I’ll change and then like girls like I’m supposed to like them? I mean, maybe what me and Dante feel—it’s like a phase. I mean, I only feel this way about Dante. So what if I don’t really like boys—I only like Dante because he’s Dante.

She almost smiled. “Don’t kid yourself, Ari. You can’t think your way out of this one.

How can you be so casual about this, Mom?

Casual? I’m anything but. I went through a lot of struggles with myself about your aunt Ophelia. But I loved her. I loved her more than I’d ever loved anyone outside of you and your sisters and your father.” She paused. “And your brother.

My brother, too?

Just because I don’t talk about him doesn’t mean that I don’t think about him. My love for him is silent. There are a thousand things living in that silence.”

I was going to have to give that some thought. I was beginning to see the world in a different way just by listening to her. To listen to her voice was to listen to her love.

I guess you could say that this isn’t my first time at bat.” She had that fierce and stubborn look on her face. “You’re my son. And your father and I have decided that silence is not an option. Look at what the silence regarding your brother has done to us—not just to you, but to all of us. We’re not going to repeat that mistake.

“Does that mean I have to talk about everything?”

I could see the tears welling up in her eyes and hear the softness in her voice as she said, “Not everything. But I don’t want you to feel that you’re living in exile. 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.

But isn’t it wrong to be gay? Everybody seems to think so.

Not everybody. That’s a cheap and mean morality. Your aunt Ophelia took the words I don’t belong and wrote them on her heart. It took her a long to time to take those words and throw them out of her body. She threw out those words one letter at a time. She wanted to know why.

She wanted to change—but she couldn’t. She met a man. He loved her. Who wouldn’t love a woman like Ophelia? But she couldn’t do it, Ari. She wound up hurting him because she could never love him like she loved Franny. Her life was something of a secret. And that’s sad, Ari. Your aunt Ophelia was a beautiful person. She taught me so much about what really matters.

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Aristotle and Dante Dive into the Waters of the World

Aristotle and Dante Dive into the Waters of the World PDF

Product details:

EditionInternational Edition
ISBN153449619X, 978-1534496194
Posted onOctober 12, 2021
Page Count528 pages
AuthorBenjamin Alire Sáenz

Aristotle and Dante Dive into the Waters of the World PDF Free - Epicpdf

Aristotle and Dante Dive into the Waters of the World: 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.


Author: Benjamin Alire Sáenz

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