The Inexplicable Logic of My Life
by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publication date: March 7, 2017
Published by: Clarion Books
eARC, 464 pages
My rating: 5/5 ★
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy
in exchange for an honest review.
The first day of senior year:
Everything is about to change. Until this moment, Sal has always been certain of his place with his adoptive gay father and their loving Mexican-American family. But now his own history unexpectedly haunts him, and life-altering events force him and his best friend, Samantha, to confront issues of faith, loss, and grief.
Suddenly Sal is throwing punches, questioning everything, and discovering that he no longer knows who he really is—but if Sal’s not who he thought he was, who is he?
The Inexplicable Logic of My Life is an all around beautiful story about about grief, loss and getting to know oneself, but also the value of friendship and family through it all. After how much I loved Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz, this book had a lot to live up to, and I am happy to say that it did not disappoint.
First of all, the writing. It is beautiful. The way Benjamin Alire Saenz writes seems very matter-of-fact and like there's not much emotion there, with very short sentences and chapters. And while you would expect to feel totally detached from the characters and the story because of it, that's not true at all. I teared up multiple times while reading this because the writing is so raw and somehow makes up for the lack of emotion in describing by making the reader feel all the emotions twice as heavily. I honestly can't explain it, but it is wonderful.
Then there are the characters. The friendship between our protagonist, Salvador, and his best friend Samantha is one of my favorite I've ever read about. They have this incredibly close connection, and the way they talk with each other and treat each other is often hilarious but also so honest and heart-warming. It is clear in every single one of their actions how deeply they care for each other and it was wonderful to see them support each other throughout the many challenges they faced throughout this book.
There is also Salvador's other friend, Fito, who is on his own already an incredibly complex and unique character. Fito had a lot to deal with in his life, and his friendship with Salvador gets closer and closer throughout this book, and I'm almost tempted to say that I liked it even more than what Salvador had with Samantha. Because as opposed to Salvador and Samantha having been very close all their lives, we actually get to follow the friendship between Salvador and Fito develop throughout the book, so we basically get two views on friendship, which was amazing. If for no other reason, you should absolutely read this book for the amazing portrayal of friendship.
But of course, there is also the family aspect. Salvador lives with his gay Mexican adoptive father and has a very close relationship with both him and his grandmother. There are also quite a few aunts and uncles, and altogether they make this big, loving family that was just pretty amazing to read about. Salvador's struggles in this regard when it comes to feeling like he belongs or accepting changes in the life he knows were very relatable. Even though his happy family life was in stark contrast to other people's situations portrayed throughout the book, he still had issues to work through.
Overall, this book was just incredibly beautiful. I 100% recommend it because of the friendships, the family dynamics and the beautiful writing. There is, however, not much plot. We mostly just follow Salvador's daily life while he works through his issues. But I still loved it. There was so much going on on the inside that there was no need for epic adventurous tales.