The Inexplicable Logic of My Life by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Oh, goodness, this is going to be a week full of book reviews! I have two more lined up, and the one I said I would have up last week might be postponed. I’m still sorting through everything inside that book that shook me to the core, so I’ll get to it. Maybe. For now, though, I have The Inexplicable Logic of My Life. Say that three times fast.

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Title: The Inexplicable Logic of My Life (464 pgs)

Genre: YA

Publication Date: March 7, 2017

Summary:

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?

That summary doesn’t seem like much to go on, but it’s the general gist of the book. Salvador is starting his last year of high school and he starts questioning everything around him, because it all seems to be changing. His friends Sam and Fito have their own troubles in life, and Salvador can’t understand why everything has to change so quickly. The main question he has for himself is, when is he going to finally grow up?

First of all, Sam. God, she’s great. She’s smart and confident, bossy and proud of it. She knows what she wants and knows how she’s going to get there, and she doesn’t let anything stop her. She has her faults – like picking the wrong guys – but she learns from her mistakes. It’s what she wants Salvador to learn, that he can make the wrong choices and still stay on track. She pushes him because she knows that he can do better, know that he deserves better, and she can’t quite get him to see that. She watches him change, watches him use his fists rather than his words, and Sam knows that’s not him. Sam is a great friend, and she never lets Salvador forget that fact.

Then there’s Fito. Little Fito who I just want to bring home and stuff so full of food that he can’t move for weeks. Fito lives with his drug-addicted mother who doesn’t seem to want him around and eventually kicks him out of her house. Fito is smart and shy, working hard at two jobs to save money for college and working even harder at school. He’s had a difficult life and he does get down on himself, but he survives. He’s stronger than he gives himself credit for, and that’s part of what makes him beautiful.

Growing up in a far too normal family, I like reading about families like my own. Not that I grew up with a gay father and as an only child, but everyone comments on how well-liked Salvador’s father is and how normal his family appears to be. Salvador’s aunts and uncles even remind me of my dad’s crazy big family, especially the tortillas and tamales. I understood that making food for each other is a loud way of saying I love you, and that eating all the food is an even louder response. I understood this family and got where they were coming from, and it made me kind of giddy to realize that I was reading about a family I could recognize.

I think the last year of high school is always a little daunting. You start to realize that you’re going to be in college {or out in the real world} in nine months, and you question everything. Am I mature enough? Am I going to survive? What am I going to do without this safety net underneath me? But it’s also a year to figure out who you want to be for the rest of your life, or at least for the next four years. You change so much in those nine little months, and sometimes you can’t even recognize yourself. That’s what your friends and family are for during those times. They bring you back to earth, and they won’t hesitate to let you know who you are.

Basically, this was beautifully written, and sweet and heartbreaking in one fell swoop. I was so caught up in the story that I didn’t move from my computer screen for nearly two hours while I finished the book {luckily I have a comfy computer chair}. I’ve had Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe on my TBR list forever, and now it’s moving way up because of this book. Take it from me: maybe you should do the same with both of these books.

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