For everyone who loves Ben Saenz’s award-winning novel “Aristotle and also Dante Find Out the Secrets of the Universe,” the author states the much-anticipated sequel is finimelted, scheducaused be published in 2018.

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“The title is not ‘Tbelow Will Be Other Summers,’ but I won’t tell you what it will be,” Saenz teases, referring to the functioning title ricocheting roughly social media. (Keep reading for a few even more sequel ideas.)

“I love those boys,” Ben Saenz claims of Ari and also Dante, that autumn in love in “Aristotle and also Dante Learn the Secrets of the Universe.” (Larry D. Moore, taken at the 2016 Texas Publication Festival)

Saenz, 63, will be in St. Paul this week as author of St. Paul Public Library’s Read Brave book. An award-winning poet and also author who writes for adults and teenagers, he is a reworn down college professor and former priest who came out as gay when he was 54.

Young fans of “Aristotle and Dante” have been freaking out around the sequel for months. One video shows a boy jumping up and also down with excitement at the news. No wonder Poets & Writers magazine named Saenz among its Fifty Many Inspiring Authors in the World.

In a telephone conversation from his residence in El Paso, Texas, you hear in Saenz’s voice compassion, love of creating, strong feelings around literature and also the existing political scene, a joyfulness around life in basic, and his affection for his personalities Aristotle Mendoza and also Dante Quintana.

“I love those boys,” states Saenz, whose name is pronounced “indicators.”

“Aristotle and also Dante,” published in 2012, has sold around 500,000 copies in 21 languages. It’s a lyrically composed story about Ari, a closed-off, miserable 15-year-old, and his friendship with outgoing Dante. There is a push-pull in the boys’ connection as they sometimes feel close and occasionally Ari draws ameans. When Ari saves Dante’s life, their friendship appears even more muddled. At some point (this is not a spoiler), Ari’s dad defines to Ari that he has to admit to himself that he’s in love via Dante.

The last sentence in the book — which we won’t disclose here — is nearly a poem in 11 words.

“There was somepoint in Ari that made him feel various but he didn’t understand what it was,” Sanez states. “In the initially book we experienced Dante via Ari’s eyes. In the following book, Dante is very huguy and Ari is more of an adult. He takes love exceptionally seriously and accepting that he loves Dante changes him completely.”

Themes of ethnicity, sexuality and household echo in “Aristotle and also Dante.”

Ari’s dad, a Vietnam veteran, suffers from PTSD and also seems to withorganize himself from Ari, and Ari’s older brother is in priboy for something his parents refuse to talk around.

“The sequel speaks straight to that story line, about how human being keep secrets and also what his brvarious other had actually done, specifically to their mother, that directly affected exactly how his paleas treated him,” Saenz claims.

The cover of the paperago edition of “Aristotle and Dante” bears medallions showing 3 Amerideserve to Library Association Youth Awards — the Pura Belpre Author Award for excellence in illustrating and also celebrating the Latino cultural endure, the Stonewall Award for literary excellence in depicting the LGBT experience, and also a Michael L. Printz Honor for the finest composing in teen literary works. The book also won the LGBT Lambda Literary Award.

What is it about this book that provides it so popular, specifically with teens?

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“I choose to think it was my creating,” Saenz says with a laugh. “But tbelow are numerous other things. First, it came out at the time we were having actually a national conversation about gay marital relationship and legal rights. Then, this is the type of book that, also if you don’t like the topic, the underlying story of struggling to come to be young males is something a lot of human being have the right to relate to. And tright here is the involvement of Dante and also Ari’s parental fees that becomes as vital as what the boys are going via.”

Ari’s mom is a high college teacher and Dante’s mom and also father have actually doctoral levels. Dante’s dad is an English professor, and also Ari admits he didn’t understand Mexican-Amerihave the right to professors existed.

“These are advanced people,” Saenz says of the boys’ parents. “They are favor many type of of my friends and me — educated, middle-class specialists. Tbelow are countless us in this America, but we are invisible in literature.”

One subtle thcheck out running through “Aristotle and Dante” is the method the boys tease each various other around whether they are as well Mexican or not Mexican enough.

“We had those discussions once we were kids,” Saenz recalls. “We all knew we are not Mexihave the right to at all, we’re 3rd, fourth generation. Except to go to Juarez to drink on weekends, we didn’t understand anypoint about being Mexideserve to. My mother used to speak to herself a Mexihave the right to, yet her side of the family members has actually remained in this nation for generations.”

He’s quick to suggest out that not all Mexicans are in the UNITED STATE illegally.

“What I do is take the principle of whatever civilization think Mexican-Americans and also gay civilization are and also I normalize it,” he sassist.

Saenz’s life has actually been among striving and being successful and also individual searching after growing up through six siblings on a tiny farm in New Mexico.

After high school, Saenz received a degree in humanities and philosophy from St. Thomas Seminary in Denver and also stupassed away theology at the University of Louvain in Belgium. He was a priest, and also after leaving the order, he was married for 15 years. He pertained to Hazelden treatment center in Center City to end his self-devastating behaviors via drugs and also alcohol, and also the Hazelden staff referred him to a facility in Santa Fe to help him work-related with his trauma about being sexually aboffered as a boy and his sexuality. In 2008, he identified he is gay.

“My difficulties with drugs and also alcohol were very actual,” he admits. “I was dying and I wanted to live, no matter exactly how self-destructive I was. I dealt with my problems of self-medication because of boy abuse, likewise my self hatred that (comes partly) from internalizing everything. I was never before great enough and that made me excel at things. If I achieved something I can feel great sufficient, yet when the accomplishment came I still wasn’t. Many kind of civilization who have actually been abprovided verbally or neglected have actually the same story. When I pertained to terms via myself I realized that, prefer everybody else, I am doing the best I have the right to. I don’t need to be perfect.”

Saenz resides in an apartment in El Paso beside the campus of the College of Texas, from which he reexhausted two years back as chair of the imaginative creating department to devote permanent to creating.

“I am so grateful for my life now,” he says. “I’ve always well-known I was a gifted man; currently I live life prefer I am grateful for it.”

Saenz admits via a laugh that he is not partnered, “occasionally wistfully, sometimes thinking exactly how lucky have the right to I obtain. I joke that the just difficulty via being gay is you have to day men. Womales laugh at that harder than males.”

He is looking forward to his two-day visit to St. Paul this week. He loves institution visits. With second students he sometimes reads a small area of his book and asks them, for instance, what they know about love.

“One son sassist, ‘I don’t recognize s— about love,’ ” he recalls. “People laughed, yet that son composed the finest poem bereason he spoke out of expedition. When you feel you know something, that isn’t a great beginning allude for anypoint. Start with uncertitude. If you are not a know-it-all, you will be a great writer.”


Read Brave is St. Paul Public Library’s 6-year-old citywide regimen encouraging youths and adults to check out a young adult novel that motivates intergenerational dialogue about modern concerns facing teens.

Planning started in 2012 once Marika Staloch, the library’s Youth Services manager, heard YA writer A.S. King talk about the power of intergenerational reading. King aided erected the program.

“We started small, with one institution, and also yearly the program keeps thriving,” Staloch sassist.

Read Brave culminates via a visit from that year’s author, which is why Benjamin Alire Saenz will be in St. Paul this week to talk around “Aristotle and Dante Find Out the Secrets of the Universe.”

Stalock sassist a big part of the regimen is giving young readers books to save. The publications are purchased via fundraisers that additionally assist publish a reading overview and also promotional products.

“Giving the books to students is vital because for some this is the first book they’ve ever owned,” Staloch says.

The routine staff is particularly excited that the variety of books dispersed doubled this year. Last year, a thousand copies of Daniel Jose Older’s “Shadowshaper” were given to teenagers. This year, the routine bought 1,000 duplicates of “Aristotle and Dante” and one more 1,000 were donated by publisher Simon & Schuster.

Read Brave is loosely structured, with the library depending upon area partners to put together the conversation teams. Facilitators are librarians, teachers, book club coordinators and home-institution supervisors. Some colleges incorpoprice the book right into their the language arts curriculum so they satisfy throughout college hrs. Others fulfill weekly at assorted locations.

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Each year’s Read Brave book is liked from a short list put together by a committee of librarians. That list is sent out to neighborhood partners and also schools and also teenagers vote on which book they’d prefer to check out.

The criteria for a Read Brave book is that it must be a compelling review, one that reluctant readers would choose, through a diversity of authors and also protagonists. It should also have an important concern that can drive intergenerational conversation.

Whatever book is liked for Read Brave, the author is constantly a rock star in the teenager lit people.

For even more indevelopment around participating in Read Brave, go to

IF YOU GOWhat: Benjamin Alire Saenz visits as writer of St. Paul Public Library’s Read Brave program.

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His book: “Aristotle and also Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe” (Simon & Schuster, $13.99)His appearances: Free public composing workshops: 5 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 28, Arlington Hills Community Center, 1200 Payne Ave.; 5 p.m. Thursday, March 1, Rondo Library, 461 Dale St., and college visits.