Parents' Guide to

Aristotle and Dante Dive into the Waters of the World

By John Sooja, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Teen boys navigate new love in repetitive sequel.

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There are many moments of tenderness, beauty, love, and compassion in this story. But there isn't much story to Aristotle and Dante Dive into the Waters of the World, and it often reads like a series of montages, conversations, journal entries, and dreams. While many of these are pleasant, lots of them are repetitive and aren't obviously connected or transitioned into and out of well. Some things do happen, but they are often told like a journal entry, and some readers may feel they are being told things rather than shown them.

The content, however, within each montage or conversation, is often positive and sweet, working as model examples of how to have this or that conversation, here are the right things to say and how to say them. The excitement, novelty, and intimidating beauty of new love and desire are openly on display and most of it is beautifully expressed but repetitive. There's also a sense of things never going anywhere. Beyond being about 200 pages too long, some passages explicitly encourage using violence to combat homophobia, and others don't handle non-cisgender or trans characters well.

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