The Inexplicable Logic of My Life
By: Benjamin Alire Sáenz
Expected Publication Date: March 7, 2017 by Clarion Books
Format: eARC courtesy of NetGalley
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
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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?
The Inexplicable Logic of My Life was a coming-of-age story about identity, grief, family, and friendship.
The biggest plus for me? NO ROMANCE! It’s nearly impossible to find any young adult books without romance, and contemporary novels without romance are even rarer. The main character, Sal, has a female best friend named Samantha. In basically every other YA novel, each would likely go through a few bad relationships, then towards the end they’d gaze into each others’ eyes and finally realize that what they really wanted had been right in front of them all along. So, it was beyond refreshing when the author made it blatantly obvious that Sal and Sam saw each other as siblings.
Another aspect I loved was how diverse it was! Sal was straight and white, but his adoptive father was both gay and of Mexican descent. Even though Sal was white, and was frequently reminded of this fact by bullies, he fully embraced his adoptive father’s cultural background and didn’t see himself as being any different from his extended family, with whom he had an extremely loving relationship.
I’m a huge fan of Saenz’s writing style and the way he weaves a number of motifs throughout each of his books. In Aristotle and Dante, it was all about discovering various secrets of the universe (obviously), and in The Inexplicable Logic of My Life, one of the motifs is Sal trying to uncover how the world works. Another motif that I really loved was the idea of “meeting words.” In the book Sal says words only exists in theory, but one day you may “meet” a certain word, you become acquainted with it, and it gains meaning.
However, while I did love most of the writing, I didn’t love all of the slang. Granted I’m not a teenager anymore, so I’m probably not up to date with what kids these days are saying, but there were a lot of terms used that made this book feel dated. For instance, I don’t think I’ve heard anyone use phrases like”the bomb” or “true that” since I was in high school…which was a while ago.
The plot was also much too melodramatic; it basically felt like I was reading a soap opera. There were a number of events that happened which should have been shocking and upsetting, but I was so desensitized that I kind of just shrugged and moved on.
Even though I had some issues with The Inexplicable Logic of My Life, I loved the characters and the relationships between them so much that I practically flew through the book. If you’re a contemporary fan who likes books with incredible relationships and lots of drama, you’re going to love this book!
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.