Title: The Inexplicable Logic of My Life
Author: Benjamin Alire Sáenz
Publisher: Clarion Books
Released: March 7, 2017
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
From the multi-award-winning author of Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe comes a gorgeous new story about love, identity, and families lost and found.
Sal used to know his place with his adoptive gay father, their loving Mexican-American family, and his best friend, Samantha. But it’s senior year, and suddenly Sal is throwing punches, questioning everything, and realizing he no longer knows himself. If Sal’s not who he thought he was, who is he?
This humor-infused, warmly humane look at universal questions of belonging is a triumph.
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for a honest review. All opinions are my own.
EDIT: After careful thought, I have changed my rating and review of this book. Additions and chagnes are marked by *
After I read Aristotle and Dante I knew I had to get my hands on Benjamin Alire Sáenz new book immediately. His poetic, thought provoking writing instantly captured me and this book did not disappoint. It feels very much like Ari and Dante with the big existentialist crises. finding your place in the world, and figuring out what type of person you want to me. The Inexplicable Logic of My Life will make you cry, laugh, and feel so much love for these characters whose emotions practically drip off the page.
While, this book has no real plot (it is very character driven) I found it very entertaining. Sal and his best friend Sam are going through their senior year of high school when life throws them some pretty hard curve balls. Now dealing with death and grief plus all the very normal teenage obstacles Sal and Sam must figure out what to do and who they want to be. The way these characters deal with grief was so inspiring and real.
Salvador was raised by his gay father, Vicente, who took him in when his mother died when he was three. Sal is struggling. He doens’t know who his mother was. He doesn’t remember her. Plus he has no idea who the man who shares his genes is. Or if he wants to. While Sal felt very much like Ari did (his voice was almost the same in my opinion) I felt for him. He is lost and suddenly he has this anger inside of him that he doesn’t know where it came from and is scared that he’s turning into some unrecognizable. And bad.
Sal has one of the best families I have seen in a while in a contemporary. Vicente is seriously Dad Goals. He is so understanding, yet protective. He gives Sal the space he needs to figure stuff out all while still being there for him. He literally adopts every one of Sal’s friends just because they need a father and someone to love them. My heart is so filled with love because of Vicente. I honestly would love to spend the day with Sal, Sam, Fito, Vicente, Mima, and Marcos because they are all so amazing and trust me, you’ll fall in love with them.
While I would have liked a more direct plot (and maybe 100ish less pages) I enjoyed this book. It broke my heart a few times while reading it which led to some tears, but I am so glad I was given the chance to read this.
*However, there were a few problems that I didn’t like at all. First of all, Sam was a bitch. She was arrogant and so full of herself. Sal constantly narrates that Sam “wasn’t like other girls” and pretty much justifies her actions and calling every other girl a bitch, when she is must worse. She has an awful attitude and berates Sal whenever he begins to “not act like himself.” Yeah, no kidding. He has stuff going on, Sam! Then when something awful happens to her and Sal says he wants to punch the guy who “hurt” her she gets upset when he does just that. I won’t say any spoilers, but Sal wanting to punch this guy’s lights out is completely understandable. What isn’t understandable? Sam accepting his apology as if he just kissed another girl in front of her. No. This guy is scum and she shouldn’t have been within 2 feet of him! Another problem, I hated all the stereotypes and terms that I found a bit offensive, such as “for a gay guy, my dad was pretty straight.” That kind of made me really sad to read. Especially coming from the author that wrote Ari and Dante.
*Though I did have some problems and acknowledge it’s problematic material, I did enjoy it for its rep and diverse cast. I appreciate the display of grief. But I have to say that Ari and Dante is still my favorite.