After its publication in 2012, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz became an instant classic and won numerous awards, including a LAMBDA Literary Award, a Stonewall Award and a Michael L. Printz Award Honor. The novel is acclaimed for its thoughtful and nuanced portrayal of a life-changing relationship between two queer teenage boys coming of age in 1980s El Paso, Texas. Now, the story expands from page to screen with the release of a new film adaptation on Netflix!
If you enjoyed Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe and want to spend more time with these beloved characters, it might seem obvious to recommend the sequel, Aristotle and Dante Dive into the Waters of the World, which picks up right where the first book leaves off and follows Ari’s senior year of high school. As Ari continues to explore his relationship with Dante, he also works to heal his strained relationship with his family and begins to explore what his future might look like after graduation.
Fans of the Texas setting and the beautifully rendered prose of Aristotle and Dante should check out Ander & Santi Were Here by Jonny Garza Villa. When Ander meets a cute new server at their family’s taqueria, there’s an instant attraction between them. However, Santi is undocumented and as they fall in love, the threat of ICE looms over them, threatening to destroy everything they're building together.
Only This Beautiful Moment by Abdi Nazemian will appeal to readers who were compelled by Aristotle and Dante’s portrayal of generational trauma and the enduring impact of family secrets. In three distinct storylines, Only This Beautiful Moment follows three generations of men in an Iranian American family in 1939, 1978 and 2019. As the three storylines weave together, each man grapples with cultural identity and sexuality at a critical turning point in his life.
Readers looking for another queer historical fiction story might enjoy When You Call My Name by Tucker Shaw. Set in 1990 in Manhattan, this novel follows Ben, who has recently been kicked out of his home for being gay, and Adam, whose beloved boyfriend is sick with AIDS complications. After the two meet by chance, similarly to Ari and Dante, a powerful and enduring friendship begins.
Do you have a favorite book for Aristotle and Dante fans? Let us know in the comments!