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A warmly humane look at universal questions of belonging, infused with humour, from the bestselling author of Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. 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 everythin A warmly humane look at universal questions of belonging, infused with humour, from the bestselling author of Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. 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?


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A warmly humane look at universal questions of belonging, infused with humour, from the bestselling author of Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. 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 everythin A warmly humane look at universal questions of belonging, infused with humour, from the bestselling author of Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. 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?

30 review for The Inexplicable Logic of My Life

  1. 5 out of 5

    Hailey (Hailey in Bookland)

    I have such a hard time reviewing Benjamin Alire Sáenz's books because they really are beautiful stories it's just something about them doesn't click with me. I did prefer this story to Aristotle and Dante but I did still have a lot of the same issues. Starting off with the good, he writes amazing, realistic characters that you can't help but love. Furthermore, the relationships between these characters are downright amazing. While Aristotle and Dante was a romantic relationship, this one was mo I have such a hard time reviewing Benjamin Alire Sáenz's books because they really are beautiful stories it's just something about them doesn't click with me. I did prefer this story to Aristotle and Dante but I did still have a lot of the same issues. Starting off with the good, he writes amazing, realistic characters that you can't help but love. Furthermore, the relationships between these characters are downright amazing. While Aristotle and Dante was a romantic relationship, this one was more a familial relationship. You don't really get romance which was kind of cool but I was hoping for another gay couple. Oh well! Once again like Aristotle and Dante, this book deals with big picture, existential crisis ideas. It is not small. It is not plot driven, it is driven by the characters, their relationships, and how they ask these questions. Particularly this book dealt with mortality, belonging, love, and family. I both like and dislike the fact that this is the sole focus for his books. A huge issue I had with this one that I didn't have with Aristotle and Dante was that this book is pretty big. Over 400 pages. The thing is I didn't think it had to be that long. It was dragging a lot at times and I had to really push myself to get through. I might still do a full review because I clearly have lots to say about it. We'll see!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Kai

    "Life had its seasons, and the season of letting go would always come, but there was something very beautiful in that, in letting go. Leaves were always graceful as they floated away from the tree." Rating: 3,5/5 stars The Inexplicable Logic of My Life was good. It was a typical Sáenz novel. It was an average Sáenz novel. One with beautiful words and beautiful thoughts, but overall it was very...mild. I'm going to make two lists, to get my thoughts in order. List No. 1 is about the good things, lis "Life had its seasons, and the season of letting go would always come, but there was something very beautiful in that, in letting go. Leaves were always graceful as they floated away from the tree." Rating: 3,5/5 stars The Inexplicable Logic of My Life was good. It was a typical Sáenz novel. It was an average Sáenz novel. One with beautiful words and beautiful thoughts, but overall it was very...mild. I'm going to make two lists, to get my thoughts in order. List No. 1 is about the good things, list No. 2 about the not so good things. No. 1: -A white boy, raised by a gay Mexican-American single father and his family is a creative and diverse concept that I very much approve of. Not because the main character is white, but because his skin colour doesn't matter. He was born into a Mexican family, so he is part of that family -This is a YA novel about love without romance in its centre. -It's a friendship between a boy and a girl and the only feelings they have for each other are those of deep friendship and it stays that way. I want more of those books. (There's also a friendship between a straight and a gay guy and they don't develope any feelings for each other as well. Another plus.) - No queerbaiting (Or straightbaiting, if thats's even a thing). -While the main character experiences homophia against his dad, I enjoyed that there was hardly any heteronormativity. No men hiding their feelings because showing them might be unmaly, no shying away from friendships with none-straight people because they might fall in love with you. -Maggie the Dog. No. 2: -464 pages without much of a plot -The main character resembles Ari from Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe and Zach from Last Night I Sang to the Monster. I would have wished for some variety here. Not every adolescent boy is the same. -I wanted more complexity. Sáenz's characters have lots of thoughts tumbling around in their heads, and they often seem philosophical but it could have been a little deeper sometimes. Same thing goes for the plot. No big surprises there. -The whole book was monotone. Static. Mellow. Mild. It deals with many issues like love, death and growing up. But nothing really happened. -Not only was this book plot-less, things also kept repeating themselves. Words, sentences, motives and events. Of course, it's a tool authors use to emphasize something, and it's also part of their style. But here it got tiring after a while. -The lacking creativity regarding the characters nagged me. (view spoiler)[Three kids, three dead mothers, three absent (biological) fathers. Three kids mourning the death of a relative. This really isn't what you would call creative, right? (hide spoiler)] -What was wrong with Salvador anyway? He has anger issues where he suddenly wants to punch people and can't keep his fists in control. But I still don't see where this is coming from. He just doesn't have issues. The author later explains that Sally's anger comes from fear and hurt, but I just couldn't see the connection in Sally's case. It was so completely out of character, and while some may say that this is just how hurt and fear express themselves, I don't think it works that way for this book's main character. I'm having a hard time rating this book. On one hand it's a typcial Benjamin Alire Sáenz book and on the other hand it's a typical Benjamin Alire Sáenz book that just can't live up to his previous work. I can't give it 5 stars, I want to give it 4 stars, but in the end I think it's more of a 3 star book, but only compared to his other books. Find more of my books on Instagram

  3. 4 out of 5

    Larry H

    The minute I received an email from NetGalley promoting Benjamin Alire Sáenz's new book, I jumped on it and submitted a request for an advance copy. I absolutely loved Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe (see my review), so I figured even if this one wasn't that good, I still had to read it. Needless to say, I was so pleased to get approved right away, and I began the book the second I finished my previous one. The Inexplicable Logic of My Life is a different book tha The minute I received an email from NetGalley promoting Benjamin Alire Sáenz's new book, I jumped on it and submitted a request for an advance copy. I absolutely loved Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe (see my review), so I figured even if this one wasn't that good, I still had to read it. Needless to say, I was so pleased to get approved right away, and I began the book the second I finished my previous one. The Inexplicable Logic of My Life is a different book than Aristotle and Dante... , but man, was it special. I have a hellacious cold, making sleeping (and breathing, really) fairly impossible in my current state, so last night I read nearly the entire book, between 11:00 p.m. and 1:30 a.m. Needless to say, this is how I ended up: Sal is ready to start his senior year of high school. It's going to be a pivotal year with so much on the horizon, but while his childhood best friend Samantha can think of nothing more than going to college as far away from El Paso as she can (no matter what her mother says), he's getting more and more stressed about the potential for change. Suddenly this anxiety is manifesting itself via anger—all he wants to do is hit people. Whether it's the idiot who called his father a faggot, someone who called him a pinche gringo (even though he is white, he was adopted by his Mexican father), or one of Sam's bad-guy boyfriends, he suddenly can't stop using his fists, and he doesn't understand why, and he is afraid of how people will react if they knew how angry he was. "But Sam, she had this image of me that I was a good boy, and she was in love with that image. She was in love with simple, uncomplicated, levelheaded Sally. And I didn't know how to tell her that I wasn't all those beautiful things she thought I was. That things were changing, and I could feel it but couldn't put it into words." Sadly, life throws them curve after curve in this crucial year, and Sal must deal with some major emotional crises, and come to terms with who he is, and what becoming a man really means. But at the same time, he realizes once again the power of friendship and family, of words, of loving and being loved, and of giving people a chance. This is a beautiful, emotional, heart-warming, and life-affirming book, and although there was perhaps a little too much melodrama to deal with in the plot, I applaud Sáenz for not taking the story down a few paths I feared he might. One of the reasons I love Sáenz's writing so much is that he has such a love for his characters that you can't help loving them, too, and seeing them in your mind's eye. This book is 450+ pages long yet I could have read more, although I might have gotten dehydrated from all of the crying! (And not just sad crying, but good crying, too.) He uses beautiful imagery and creates some poetic moments, even if at times some friction would have been avoided if people just said what they felt. But ultimately, this is one of those books that teaches you to let yourself be loved, and that no matter what your background or life situation is, you still are entitled to dream and believe in yourself. I'll sit and wait for Sáenz's next book, readying for this again: NetGalley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children's Book Group/Clarion Books provided me an advance copy of the book in exchange for an unbiased review. Thanks for making this available! See all of my reviews at http://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blo....

  4. 5 out of 5

    jessica

    i have a complicated, but consistent, relationship with saenzs stories. they tend to be slow creepers – meaning that, whilst reading them, they dont feel as impactful. the emotional hit comes randomly after ive read the book, set it aside, and walked away. and then, out of nowhere, i think, ‘holy crap. this book.’ due to the fact this is an entirely character driven story, with no plotline of events to even speak of, 450 pages does seem a bit excessive, if not tedious. and the characters arent ex i have a complicated, but consistent, relationship with saenzs stories. they tend to be slow creepers – meaning that, whilst reading them, they dont feel as impactful. the emotional hit comes randomly after ive read the book, set it aside, and walked away. and then, out of nowhere, i think, ‘holy crap. this book.’ due to the fact this is an entirely character driven story, with no plotline of events to even speak of, 450 pages does seem a bit excessive, if not tedious. and the characters arent exactly easy to care about (except for vincente. oh my gosh. that man is dad goals. i cant think of a more tender or compassionate person. he deserves the entire world.) but looking back, there are some moments of pure beauty in this story; which isnt surprising because saenz has such lyrical prose. its definitely the writing and messages of this story that really tug on my heart. the phrase ‘dejate querer,’ which means let yourself be loved, is used in this book and i cant think of better words to describe the message or purpose of this story. i will have to think about this some more because i have sneaky suspicion that i may want to bump up my rating. ↠ 3.5 stars

  5. 5 out of 5

    Danielle

    This was a beautiful coming of age story of a young man, his best friends and father. It had so many feels. 🥰 It covers so many important topics and these are just really good kids. I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but will forewarn that there is a focus on dealing with the loss of loved ones due to cancer, accidents and drug overdose. It was just a very insightful and heart warming read. The one thing that irked me was the overuse of the term ‘no bueno’. 😬 But this is told from the persp This was a beautiful coming of age story of a young man, his best friends and father. It had so many feels. 🥰 It covers so many important topics and these are just really good kids. I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but will forewarn that there is a focus on dealing with the loss of loved ones due to cancer, accidents and drug overdose. It was just a very insightful and heart warming read. The one thing that irked me was the overuse of the term ‘no bueno’. 😬 But this is told from the perspective of teens, who have a tendency to overuse terms, songs, movies, etc. 😉 I enjoyed this book.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Always Pouting

    It's senior year and Sal doesn't know how to deal with the changes staring him down. College is eminent and his best friend Samantha's self destructive behavior worries him. Recently he has started feeling angrier and much more volatile, getting into fights. Sal also can't help but wonder about his birth father and questions who he actually is. Facing up to adulthood and the sad realities of life, Sal figures out a way to still be at peace with what he has. I enjoyed the writing and I love Saman It's senior year and Sal doesn't know how to deal with the changes staring him down. College is eminent and his best friend Samantha's self destructive behavior worries him. Recently he has started feeling angrier and much more volatile, getting into fights. Sal also can't help but wonder about his birth father and questions who he actually is. Facing up to adulthood and the sad realities of life, Sal figures out a way to still be at peace with what he has. I enjoyed the writing and I love Samantha. A lot of the things that happened in the book felt slightly dramatic, (view spoiler)[ Sam's mom dying (hide spoiler)] , but it does happen over the course of the school year so it wasn't unrealistic, it just felt weird reading about it close together because the sense of time feels different. Sal and Sam's friendship was really precious also and I really liked reading about a platonic friendship between a guy and girl that didn't turn into some sappy romance. It felt good to see them be there for one another and their friendship is so sweet. At times though the book felt a little long and it was too sentimental for me, I don't know reading people marveling at life tends to make me into one of those people who's like gross please put your emotions away. There also seemed to be no real plot to the book, it just centered around Sal's life at a moment when things are changing and was more focused on the coming of age idea, which is fine but again it felt drawn out at times. There were a lot of good things about this book but it didn't really impress me, I think it's a sweet read about life at a transition and the relationships were really well developed and heart warming but I just guess I'm too much of a grump to be like in love with the book because ew optimism and love of life.

  7. 4 out of 5

    C.G. Drews

    Well this was downright BEAUTIFUL. I love beautiful books omg. Look at that cover. And now just imagine the inside words being full of beautiful people who you kind of want to kidnap and force to be your BFF forever -- BECAUSE THAT'S WHAT THIS BOOK IS. I absolutely adored Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe and while I don't feel like The Inexplicable Logic of My Life lived up to it entirely??? It still did a fine job. A FINE JOB, SIR. Okay first thing to shout about: IT HAS Well this was downright BEAUTIFUL. I love beautiful books omg. Look at that cover. And now just imagine the inside words being full of beautiful people who you kind of want to kidnap and force to be your BFF forever -- BECAUSE THAT'S WHAT THIS BOOK IS. I absolutely adored Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe and while I don't feel like The Inexplicable Logic of My Life lived up to it entirely??? It still did a fine job. A FINE JOB, SIR. Okay first thing to shout about: IT HAS NO ROMANCE!! Sal's best friend is Sammy, but that's how they stay: best. friends. It was so ridiculously exciting to watch them get closer and still be platonic. LIKE JUST YAY FOR GIRLS AND GUYS WHO CAN BE PLATONIC FRIENDS??? Thank you, dear book, for having this message. (Equally important: I think it's okay not to find your OTP in highschool. Like not many people do. So this book gets A+ for realism.) Sal's best friend, Sam, did bother me a little. She had this habit of being so self-righteous that I just wanted to glare fiercely over the taco I feel like eating right now. She often called Sal, "white boy" which, I mean, he was a white boy. But (A) she said it insultingly, and (B) it was kind of like putting barriers between her Mexicanness but also Sal's father's Mexicanness. And if he so clearly was unhappy with her saying that, why did she keep doing it? I loved their friendship and I LOVED her character development, but at the beginning she really grated on my nerves more than cheese gets grated for that taco I am not eating but wish to be. Now, erm, I have to admit...it didn't have much plot. Maybe a small teaspoon. Because it's basically about Sal who's in his final year of highschool and going through THINGS. "What things, Cait?" you ask. WELL DUDE, I DON'T KNOW. TEENAGE BOY THINGS. It actually kind of irritated me how angsty the book was with not a lot of cause. Like, partially through, Sal's grandma starts dying of cancer, so he was having a hard time with that and I got that!! But he just randomly starts punching annoying people (I mean, fair, but still) and shutting off and just I DON'T REALLY UNDERSTAND. I would've liked more of a complex and engaging plot... instead of Sal + last year of school + feeling angsty + eating tacos. But God bless how many tacos and tortillas were in this book. Food in books gives me life. (Actually it gives me hunger pains and I need a taco gosh darnit.) Also the diversity is obviously A+. Although I was surprised that Sal, our protagonist, was white and straight? (I mean, I wonder if he was asexual, but it's not canon so I shalt shut mine mouth.) But he's been adopted by a gay Mexican father and his friends are all Mexican and he identifies as a Mexican because that's how he's been raised. I REALLY LOVED IT AND IT WAS BEAUTIFUL. Speaking of beautiful...Sal's father is a FREAKING BEAUTIFUL PERSON. Like he cared! He was kind! He was a DAD to anyone who needed it! He ends up "adopting" Sal's friends when they are in trouble! He plays catch with his kids and he doesn't smother them and he loves Sal like nothing else and OMG LIKE A+ PARENTING RIGHT HERE RIGHT NOW. I really loved how the book talked a lot about what it is to be a good person and it made my bigger little mouldy tortilla heart beat faster. OTHER THINGS TO LOVE ABOUT SAL: • one of the biggest disappointments of his life was getting sick at Thanksgiving and missing out on delicious special desserts #relatable • he loves his friends so much he'll punch other people if they hurt them • he CRIES because MEN CRY • he and his BFF text while they're sitting right next to each other and it's kind of adorable • he shares his dog with his friend when they're sad • he sometimes wonders about what his life would've been like if he hadn't been adopted but otherwise he 10000% LOVES HIS FATHER AND IT'S PRECIOUS • he ends up having this EPIC trio of friends with Sam + him + Fito = squad goals BRIEF LIST OF THINGS THAT ANNOYED ME: • Sal and Sam use "text language" and itwas not only dumb it was indecipherable. WOULD IT KILL YOU TO STUMBLE TO THE VERY END OF A VERY SMALL WORD. • I really hate that their names were "Sal" and "Sam". Too similar!! At least it was told in 1st person but don't expect my brain with its mild-dyslexic-tendencies to not make a mess of things • where was the plot • I AM LOOKING FOR THE PLOT WITH MY SMALL TELESCOPE BUT I CAN'T SEE IT. ALL IN ALL: I loved it! I mean, I have some quibbles, but that's because (A) I'm a fussy eater, and (B) I have quibbles in my reviews for the sheer joy of saying the word quibble. (Like, seriously, take a moment to enjoy that word. #nice) But Sal was just ADORABLE AND I LOVED HIM and I related to him a lot and suuuuure, he got angsty. But what teen doesn't?!? I did! (Briefly. Because #Vulcan.) And the friendship levels and emphasis was pure golden and omg it is getting A STAR just for that. By all rights I should take away a star for how INSUFFERABLY HUNGRY I AM FOR TACOS RIGHT NOW but I won't because I'm somewhat reasonable. Please though. I need a taco. *** QUOTES *** NOTE: quotes are taking from an eARC and are subject to change. Don't re-quote or use them anywhere until you check them against the final copy! Maybe I needed Sam because being around her made me feel more alive. Maybe that didn't seem logical, but maybe the thing we called logic was overrated. On another day, I might have cried. But I was still to mad to cry. Dad always said that there was nothing wrong with crying and that if people did more of it, well then, the world would be a better place. "But, see, it's not where I come from that matters -- it's where I'm going." Before I nodded off, I thought about what my dad had said -- that life wasn't all nice and neat like a book, and life didn't have a plot filled with characters who said intelligent and beautiful things. But he wasn't right about that. See, my dad said intelligent and beautiful things. And he was real. He was the most real thing in the entire world. So why couldn't I be like him? "Looks aren't so important." "That's right." She held my face in her hands as she'd done so many times before. "Everyone is beautiful," she said. "Not everyone," I said. "Yes. Everyone." And I couldn't stand anyone calling me a white boy because I belonged to a family, and when they called me that all I heard was that I did not belong to them. And I did belong to them, and I wasn't going to let anybody tell me otherwise.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Hannah

    Check out my spoiler free review!: https://youtu.be/UqWLbuaaDu0 Check out my spoiler free review!: https://youtu.be/UqWLbuaaDu0

  9. 5 out of 5

    Grace (BURTSBOOKS)

    3.75 stars “We are what we remember.” Benjamin Alire Saenz has once again blown me away, and I couldn’t be happier. The Inexplicable Logic of My Life is about a high school senior named Sal and his father and his family and his friends and all the hard things that come with approaching life after high school. Everything and nothing happened in this book and in typical Benjamin Alire Saenz fashion, I was left in awe. If you liked Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, you’ll l 3.75 stars “We are what we remember.” Benjamin Alire Saenz has once again blown me away, and I couldn’t be happier. The Inexplicable Logic of My Life is about a high school senior named Sal and his father and his family and his friends and all the hard things that come with approaching life after high school. Everything and nothing happened in this book and in typical Benjamin Alire Saenz fashion, I was left in awe. If you liked Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, you’ll like this. They’re written similarly and follow some of the same themes. Benjamin Alire Saenz is the master of character work, his characters are always so beautifully developed and three dimensional and real. And his writing is simple and deep and layered and never overly casual. I’d say the main theme of this book is love. Love, love and love is all over this book, and barely any of it was romantic, and it was so refreshing. Having love story after love story shoved down your throat all the time is so tiring. Being told friends and family are somehow lower than our romantic partners is such a damaging idea to be putting in young readers heads and it is everywhere, so thank you, Benjamin Alire Saenz, for highlighting the value in friendship and family. Sam and Sal’s friendship was beautiful. I got scared they would end up romantic because of course they’re the opposite sex and acknowledged that the other was attractive, so I was bracing myself for it to happen but it didn’t, and it was wonderful. They are literal siblings and it was just so nice to read about a male/female relationship that didn’t even come close to romantic. SAL’S DAD IS A FUCKING DREAM. OH MY GOD, HE IS SO REAL. Let’s give it up for well-written parents in YA 👏🏽 👏🏽👏🏽 I know I’m probably overusing the word real but honestly, that is the only way to describe this beautiful book it was so damn real and relatable and just great. I’m not the type of person to enjoy plotless books, but for some reason when Benjamin Alire Saenz does it they are always fucking perfect and not boring at all, and I don’t get it, but I’m not about to question it. It’s fricken great. This turned into a mess of incoherent thoughts like all my reviews nowadays do but I’m just so happy I ended up reading this book because I didn’t intend to originally. Obviously, this book isn’t perfect because nothing is, but I just want to focus on the positive because there was a lot. Sooooo many beautiful thoughts. I am such a fan. Highly recommend.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Heather K (dentist in my spare time)

    *2.5 stars* I liked it... I think? Or maybe it was just okay... I really don't know what I think after reading this one, so I'll just blurt out a bunch of thoughts as they pop into my head. I, unlike the majority of my friends, haven't read Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. While I gather that Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe had a romance element, this book really doesn't. It is truly a book about family and the evolution of families. It is all ab *2.5 stars* I liked it... I think? Or maybe it was just okay... I really don't know what I think after reading this one, so I'll just blurt out a bunch of thoughts as they pop into my head. I, unlike the majority of my friends, haven't read Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. While I gather that Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe had a romance element, this book really doesn't. It is truly a book about family and the evolution of families. It is all about platonic relationships and how those tight bonds of family and friends affect the main characters. Another thing you should know about the book is that it's long, like almost 500 pages long. And, oddly enough, there isn't much... plot. There just isn't a lot that happens, page to page. The writing style is sort of repetitive and rambling, and while part of me recognized that the writing style wasn't really to my taste, the book moved surprisingly well. Considering the fact that there is a lot of repetition, I wasn't ever bored. The Inexplicable Logic of My Life brought up a lot of interesting topics for me to mull over. Nature vs nurture, what is means in terms of heritage to be a white boy adopted by a Mexican family, and how you can love and hate someone at the same time. This book is also pretty shockingly sad, with lots of tragedies in the story. It was hit after hit, at times, and I almost grew numb to it by the end. Though the muddled plot, I found myself enjoying the characters quite a bit. Each of them were interesting in their own right, and I think that the author made each of them to be more than meets the eye. The relationship between each of the characters and the love that they had for one another really carried the story. However, this book had some major issues that I can't pass over. For a book written by a POC who is openly gay, this book was sometimes shockingly offensive. I couldn't get over some of the wordage in the story, and it really made me pause and reconsider how I was viewing the whole book. Also, the flippant and diminished way a sexual assault was treated was really inexcusable. Still not quite sure how to feel about this one. Happy, disappointed, relieved, offended, enlightened? You have to decide for yourself. *Copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*

  11. 4 out of 5

    Thomas

    3.5 stars I feel heartbroken that I did not like this one more. Anyone who knows me knows that I love Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe with every fiber of my being. In some ways, Benjamin Alire Saenz captures a similar magic in The Inexplicable Logic of My Life. The story follows Sal, a white boy raised by a gay Mexican-American man, and Sam, Sal's best friend. Saenz, as always, hits on heavy topics - Sam and Sal experience love, death, grief, and a host of other emoti 3.5 stars I feel heartbroken that I did not like this one more. Anyone who knows me knows that I love Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe with every fiber of my being. In some ways, Benjamin Alire Saenz captures a similar magic in The Inexplicable Logic of My Life. The story follows Sal, a white boy raised by a gay Mexican-American man, and Sam, Sal's best friend. Saenz, as always, hits on heavy topics - Sam and Sal experience love, death, grief, and a host of other emotions and changes. Saenz's prose, while a little choppy, still reads like poetry. The concise chapters of The Inexplicable Logic of My Life make it a fast and smooth artistic experience, one that you could clear in an afternoon or a day. Prose aside, Saenz accomplishes so many wonderful things with this book. It features a deep, healthy, platonic relationship between a straight male and a straight female. Romance does not flood its pages at all, rather, this book celebrates a diversity of relationships - relationships between parent and child, grandmother and grandson, friend and friend, and more. Saenz addresses issues of sexuality, race, and mental well-being while still portraying the harsh and resilient realities of minority individuals in a realistic light. I loved the emotional disclosure in this book the most; I really appreciate how Saenz crafts characters of all backgrounds who feel comfortable talking about their feelings. My overarching criticism: too much happens in The Inexplicable Logic of My Life. I love Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe because it explores Ari and Dante's relationship with so much depth and intensity. So many events occur in this book, though - three different characters die, Sal considers seeking out his biological father, Vicente reunites with an old flame, Sal fights anger issues, Sam and Sal apply to college, etc. I wish that Saenz had focused on just a couple of these plot points and fleshed them out, so we could get a fuller, less diluted emotional experience. Instead, it felt like we had not yet processed one major occurrence before another big thing happened. While each of these story lines had meaning, they felt overwhelming and compressed when all packed together. Overall, I enjoyed this book, but I did not like it nearly as much as Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. That may be an unfair comparison, because the latter brought to life YA's most splendid qualities and shook me to my very core, whereas the former touched me, but it did nothing more than that. Still, I am grateful for Saenz's gift for words, and I am excited for his future work. Curious to read what others think of this one.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Emma

    I actually finished this days ago, but I was in denial. I loved this book so much as soon as I finished, I closed the book and started crying. I didn't think it could live up to Ari and Dante, but this one resonated with me so deeply. I basically cried through most of it. The writing style is just as beautiful. The characters are just as compelling. Most of all I loved the underlying theme that love is important whether it's between platonic friends, a couple, a grandmother and grandson, or moth I actually finished this days ago, but I was in denial. I loved this book so much as soon as I finished, I closed the book and started crying. I didn't think it could live up to Ari and Dante, but this one resonated with me so deeply. I basically cried through most of it. The writing style is just as beautiful. The characters are just as compelling. Most of all I loved the underlying theme that love is important whether it's between platonic friends, a couple, a grandmother and grandson, or mother and daughter. I ended this feeling bright and hopeful. What more could you want from a book?

  13. 4 out of 5

    b. t.

    This review is going to be kind of harsh and very biased - even more biased than a typical review. I started out with mixed feelings that leaned more toward the positive; I thought I'd end up giving it a 3- or 4-star rating. But then it crossed a line for me and I was so angry I couldn't get back into the story. So let me start with my more "objective" thoughts, the things I would've been talking about if I'd been writing a 3-star review. Summary: Salvador Silva has just started his senior year i This review is going to be kind of harsh and very biased - even more biased than a typical review. I started out with mixed feelings that leaned more toward the positive; I thought I'd end up giving it a 3- or 4-star rating. But then it crossed a line for me and I was so angry I couldn't get back into the story. So let me start with my more "objective" thoughts, the things I would've been talking about if I'd been writing a 3-star review. Summary: Salvador Silva has just started his senior year in high school. He's dealing with grief, loss, change, and the complexities of family and friendships. Much like real life, the book doesn't have a typical plot. It's more like a series of snapshots - moments, thoughts, and conversations that shape Sal's world. It's an introspective, quiet sort of book, almost a character study. What I liked: There are times when the prose is beautiful, and passages that are truly profound and touching. The way it handles grief, change and uncertainty felt authentic. When it hits its stride, 50 pages feel like 5; you won't notice time passing. My favorite things about the book: the diversity (almost all the characters are PoC, and some are queer) and the focus on deeply loving friendships. A lot of books showcase great friendship dynamics, but few really emphasize the true, lifelong love you can feel for your friends. What I disliked: I was bored at times. I'm not the right reader for these introspective stories, in truth - I have to be in a certain mood. When I was in the mood to be receptive to its philosophizing, the storytelling moved me. But just as often, it was too slow, too repetitive, and too bland for me. Too talky. Also, I found Sal's best friend, Sam, a very grating character. (See my status updates below). She grows a lot, but most of her growth happened after my point of no return. By then, I was too disconnected to care about that development or have it change my opinion of her. But the worst things about her don't change. To start: she has no female friends, thinks that other girls are "bitches," and thinks that feminists "don't know shit." She feels entitled to know everyone else's personal business, she's rude and condescending, she's self-absorbed - only the narrative tries to play these traits off as endearing quirks. I never once enjoyed seeing her on the page, which was a problem because she is the biggest character after Sal - she appears on almost every page. So even without the deal-breaker I don't think I would have warmed up to Sam. A tiring, unpleasant character in every way, and I'm sick of reading about girls who hate other girls. The deal-breaker: The following spoiler gives away the events of a minor subplot, and I do talk about it in detail. (view spoiler)[Alright. Early in the book, Sam has a habit of dating "bad boys." One of them, Eddie, tries to rape her. She runs away from a party with her shirt torn up and calls Sal, sobbing, to come get her. She says she's never gonna see Eddie again, and Sal is furious and thinks frequently about beating him up. All fine so far. Then, later in the book, Sal gets angry when he sees Eddie and Sam talking at school. He tries to step in, and Sam slaps him. We learn that Eddie was apologizing. The implication is that Sal made an unfair judgment and HE was the bad guy for being too quick to defend Sam... from a guy... who attempted to RAPE her. I can't get over this. Listen. There is no redemption and no forgiveness for a rapist. Yes, this applies even if he didn't succeeded in raping her. What he did was still sexual assault. I can't stand the thought of teenage girls reading this and thinking that it's noble or mature or whatever to accept an apology from a guy who tried to rape you. Most rapists are repeat offenders, not boys who made an honest mistake and feel sorry for it later! And letting them near you again after that happens? It's dangerous. And I just... can't believe this book went down that route. I can't believe it attempted to redeem a rapist. Maybe the worst part? The word "rape" gets erased from the storyline. At one point a character says, "you could have been raped," but that's immediately after the event happens. After that, throughout the rest of the book, no one ever calls Eddie a rapist or calls what happened "attempted rape" or "sexual assault." We just kept getting oblique references to how Eddie "hurt her." He didn't hurt her. He almost raped her. Say the damn word. No, that's not the worst part. The actual worst part is that it would've been so easy to avoid this. Instead of trying to rape her, Eddie could've dumped her, lied to her, cheated on her, or otherwise broken her heart. That's still something that would've pissed Sal off, but it's also something that can maybe be forgiven with an apology. Why treat a serious topic like rape with such carelessness? Rape is not your throwaway plot device. Rape is not something to put a female character through so that your male protagonist can learn from it. (hide spoiler)] This is something that I can't forgive. It was a quick scene, a minor part of the plot, but it made me so angry that it pulled me out of the story for good. All that emotion, introspection, and quiet beauty that kept me around when nothing else did - I was disconnected from it. So what was left? A cast of characters I felt mostly indifferent about, lots of dry conversations, and a plot lacking almost any action. I skimmed the rest to see if That Unforgivable Thing would be addressed again; it wasn't. I won't discourage anyone from reading this book, because it's important in a lot of ways. But I can't give it more than 2 stars. I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Sofii♡ (A Book. A Thought.)

    REALEASE DAY! I want to thank Netgalley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children's Book Group for providing me with this book in exchange for an honest review :) I really liked it, like a lot!, I still like Ari and Dante a little bit more, but anyway the writing style of this book is just as wonderful 4.25 / 5 Stars I'll leave you a little bit of the synopsis so you can know what the story is about and we just start talking about it. Sal used to know his place with his adoptive gay father, their loving REALEASE DAY! I want to thank Netgalley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children's Book Group for providing me with this book in exchange for an honest review :) I really liked it, like a lot!, I still like Ari and Dante a little bit more, but anyway the writing style of this book is just as wonderful 4.25 / 5 Stars I'll leave you a little bit of the synopsis so you can know what the story is about and we just start talking about it. 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 what he thought he was, who is he? This humor-infused, warmly humane look at universal questions of belonging is a triumph. I believe that the plot in brief is about Salvador trying to find himself and find out who he really is, when I started to read the story and I became more acquainted with this character, I immediately realized that he's a lost boy , ie, I like him and you learn to love him , it's sweet and generous, but at the same time things begin to happen to him, he has changes in her personality where he become aggressive at timest, his puzzles him and makes him think that maybe it's not as good as everyone says it is. Which makes you think that he sincerely can't find him place in the world and many things are going through him head. For what I could say is a self discovery trip to Salvador, where we will see him go through many stages of growth, we will see him suffer, laugh, and learn how life works. Vicente is the Salvador's adoptive father , he's simply UNIQUE, I love this character from the beginning and I end up just loving him more, I'm amazed by his behavior, he's so warm, kind, understandable, he's just a Great Father, not just for Salavador, for Sal's friends too. I like so much how he manages his sexuality, being open and honest with his son, I've highly valued that. Samhas been Sal's best friend since ever, and the relationship between them is quite particular to me. They are completely opposite characters and even so they're capable to build one of the most solid friendship I've read. Sam is strong and independent, she's very problematic on the one hand but on the other you can see how fragile she is, she needs that love that Sal offers and Sal needs the raw reality that Sam can offer him, they are a great team. There were moments that I have to confess that I could feel a sexual tention between them at times or at least that's what I've perceive. In short I've loved this relationship, one of my favorite things in the book. Then we have Fito, also a friend of Sal, he is one of the most adorable people in the world, is that he has touched my heart, he comes from an abusive family and with a lot of drugs and yet he has had the ability to take care of himself and to be always directed to the right path, this character destroys my heart, because my mind can't understand so much suffering and loneliness for which he has passed and I just want to hug him forever. Family is the main theme of the book, that is very easy to see, the intra-family relationships and the different problems within it. Each of these characters has a totally different life experience, which makes them unique and they can also have incomprehensible personalities, react in a way and talk in a way that seems inappropriate, but do you know what? Yes, there were things that made me uncomfortable for moments, things that you will see when you read the book, but there is more than that, you have to keep in mind, that the ability to create characters so real that Benjamin has, is incredible, no one will react like another, and maybe that's a problem for you but it's the reality and I love the variety of personalities in this. And I clarify this because I have seen that some people felt offended or thought that some expressions of the book were out of place, and that can happen , of course!, but that comes with the variety, and is that no one is equal to anyone, nor thinks the same as anyone, and above all no one is expressed in the same way and it's important to take that into account before judging an entire book just for a few unfortunate phrases, Just keep an open mind. But that's just my opinion :). If you want to know why my note hasn't been complete, it's simply because I felt that the book is too long, the chapters are short which is great, but at the same time there are repetitive chapters and that's annoying me. Good to finish because I left a little long, YES.Will I recommend the book? The plot is very complete, has topics such as adoption, diseases, sexuality, friendship, family, self discovery and loss. If you are interested in something of this , then you will probably enjoy it.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Éimhear (A Little Haze)

    Love is a terrible curse. It causes you to hope. To dream. The last YA novel I read that was written by Benjamin Alire Sáenz I loved. That was Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. While that novel had its cliches and manic dream pixie characters it had a magic to it. A charm. Something to help lift it from the everyday YA coming of age novel. So I had hoped for similar with this book, The Inexplicable Logic of My Life, but sadly it wasn't to be. Overall it was fine... But fi Love is a terrible curse. It causes you to hope. To dream. The last YA novel I read that was written by Benjamin Alire Sáenz I loved. That was Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. While that novel had its cliches and manic dream pixie characters it had a magic to it. A charm. Something to help lift it from the everyday YA coming of age novel. So I had hoped for similar with this book, The Inexplicable Logic of My Life, but sadly it wasn't to be. Overall it was fine... But fine really isn't a compliment is it? The teenage characters felt simply bland to me. This was meant to be a quiet sort of book. Introspective from the viewpoint of our main character Salvador. But quiet shouldn't mean insipid. Salvador was struggling with his identity. He was adopted by his dad Vincente and was debating that time old issue of nature versus nurture with himself. To me he was a character that I almost loved. His inner turmoil gently simmered throughout the storyline never once reaching full boiling point. And this story suffered from the lack of a crescendo. It didn't need to be a loud crash-bang-wallop... But it just needed something more. Something for me as a reader to feel his deeply held emotions a little more. Salvador's relationships with his two best friends Sam and Fito were also similarly bland. This was a storyline about parent-child relationships, and while I do understand the author was trying to carry this motif through his storyline the parental stories with both Sam and Fito, their stories did not feel distinctive enough from each other and therefore any minor storylines turned into a sort of vanilla mush! The most focused upon relationship in this book was between Salvador and his dad Vincente. There are special snowflake main characters in YA novels and manic dream pixie side ones... Both types of of characters are so flawless that you want to throw up from all that sugary sweet perfection. Salvador's dad Vincente was a manic-dream-pixie-special-snowflake parent... *eye roll* He just could do no wrong. He was caring and considerate. Always said the right thing, was fantastically supportive and consequently felt fake. I fully appreciate that the author was trying to create a positive parental character who also happened to be gay. And that's great. Because this stupid world needs to be told that love is love and anyone can be a fantastic parent no matter their sexual orientation. And we do need positively portrayed adult LGBT characters in YA fiction for a change. So I applaud all of that. But diversity only gets you so many brownie points when it comes to creating an authentic story. No human is that perfect. To be human means we are fatally flawed. And it is in those flaws that true beauty is found. The only flaw that Vincente had was that he smoked cigarettes. And to make him feel more real to me I just needed him to maybe shout at Salvador once? A tiny little argument maybe?? Goodness knows parent and teen relationships are not always easy and having an argument or two doesn't mean that the love of caring is any less. I just needed a little something to take the always perfect shine off their relationship. But for anyone reading this book I mean those are #ParentGoals right there because Vincente is so freaking flawless!!! This is a hard one to rate. I was confident it was going to be a solid three star rating until the last 30-40% when I just felt myself becoming more and more bored and wanted the book to be over. Sadly I think a rating closer to two and a half stars is more representative of my overall feelings.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Fabian

    Perhaps the literary voice of the borderland, Benjamin Saenz's new novel wedges itself into your affections just like all of his other books do. And the El Paso of Saenz is not totally the real one (that Trump has maligned). The story belongs in a star-crossed reality, that is violent, that is intimate and masculine. The voice is exclusively the novelists's. That his men are strong and frail, as apt to give a punch as to receive a caress, is all so imaginary and lovely. These characters don't exi Perhaps the literary voice of the borderland, Benjamin Saenz's new novel wedges itself into your affections just like all of his other books do. And the El Paso of Saenz is not totally the real one (that Trump has maligned). The story belongs in a star-crossed reality, that is violent, that is intimate and masculine. The voice is exclusively the novelists's. That his men are strong and frail, as apt to give a punch as to receive a caress, is all so imaginary and lovely. These characters don't exist, but damn it if you don't want them to really exist & spend more of your time with each of them!!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Catherine

    You know that saying that goes, ‘home isn’t a place, it’s a feeling’? Well, this book felt like home. It felt like being simultaneously lost and found. It felt like a million firecrackers going off in my chest—bright and burning; it kind of hurts but it’s also kind of beautiful. Salvador, Samantha, and Fito were all very intricate characters with many personal struggles and it evoked so much emotion from me to read about these friends who had each other’s backs through it all. My favourite charac You know that saying that goes, ‘home isn’t a place, it’s a feeling’? Well, this book felt like home. It felt like being simultaneously lost and found. It felt like a million firecrackers going off in my chest—bright and burning; it kind of hurts but it’s also kind of beautiful. Salvador, Samantha, and Fito were all very intricate characters with many personal struggles and it evoked so much emotion from me to read about these friends who had each other’s backs through it all. My favourite character was Samantha, she was so bold and wasn’t afraid to speak her mind. Salvador always admired her fondly in the purest form of best friendship. He would always say things like, “That Sam, she is brilliant. And she’s really pretty too. She has a beautiful face and a beautiful mind” and not once did he ever make it seem to the reader like he was saying it because he wanted to be more than friends. He was just saying it because it was the truth. So many YA books emphasize a romantic interest that the story kind of centers on, but this one didn’t have it and I liked that. I also loved how she would always kiss Salvador and Fito on the cheek whenever they expressed a difficult thought or said something that made her happy; it was so endearing. When they embraced Fito into their group, it made me really happy because God knows he needed a shoulder or two to lean on. The theme of friendship in this novel was just the best thing about it. I also can’t write a review without mentioning how much I loved Sal’s dad. He had the best words of wisdom, and it was the most amazing thing watching his relationship with Sal continue to bloom. As a white boy adopted into a Mexican family, I loved how Sal was always always always so embraced by his adoptive relatives. I wouldn’t even call them his adoptive family, they were truly his blood. Let’s just say I cried a lot and I feel very emotionally connected to all of these people! I need a hug or 12 after that.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Korrina (OwlCrate)

    This book had a lot of great things about it. Really strong diverse characters that I tucked into my heart. Stunningly beautiful prose that surprised me out of nowhere. Moments that made me feel such deep sadness, beauty and hope; often at the same time. A really solid novel that I think a lot of people will enjoy when it releases next March.

  19. 4 out of 5

    prag ♻

    DNF @17?? I hate DNFing books. Especially if they're: a) ARCs b) Written by someone who can come up with something as beautiful as Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe (please go read that if you haven't already) But I just can't continue with this book, even though it falls under both these categories. How Benjamin Alire Sáenz managed to write a book so boring I fell asleep in the third chapter, I don't know. Hats off to him. • There is absolutely no plot - I haven't even reached DNF @17?? I hate DNFing books. Especially if they're: a) ARCs b) Written by someone who can come up with something as beautiful as Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe (please go read that if you haven't already) But I just can't continue with this book, even though it falls under both these categories. How Benjamin Alire Sáenz managed to write a book so boring I fell asleep in the third chapter, I don't know. Hats off to him. • There is absolutely no plot - I haven't even reached the 50% mark, but I've read reviews that reiterate this • The writing is boring • So are the characters?? • I'm beginning to think Ari and Dante was a one off success because this is now the second book by this author I've DNFed • Basically it's about this guy who has a lot of useless thoughts because that's all I can figure out • I mean?? I don't care about Sam's preferences for shoes?? • I don't care if your grandmum would've gotten along with Sam • I definitely don't want an entire chapter of why Sam would've gotten along with your grandparents GOODBYE DISAPPOINTING BOOK.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Avery (Book Deviant)

    Hi everyone. I was recently contacted over my review of this book, and I'd like you all to know what happened. I received an email on Wednesday (8/23/17), by Sáenz about this review. He said that I had attacked his character by accusing him of handling rape badly, and that I had no right to do so, and that it was unfair. He also mentioned how I had read the book wrong. This was so horribly wrong. I was not the first person to mention the rape scene. I am 17 years old. The review has been out for Hi everyone. I was recently contacted over my review of this book, and I'd like you all to know what happened. I received an email on Wednesday (8/23/17), by Sáenz about this review. He said that I had attacked his character by accusing him of handling rape badly, and that I had no right to do so, and that it was unfair. He also mentioned how I had read the book wrong. This was so horribly wrong. I was not the first person to mention the rape scene. I am 17 years old. The review has been out for about half a year, as I had gotten an ARC from HMH to review. (So, FYI I was 16 when I wrote and posted the review.)I had even contacted HMH about this book, but was dismissed. I will no longer be supporting Sáenz, and if you would like to read the email, I have screenshots on my twitter. Him contacting me was not all right, and it should never happen to reviewers. So. Check out my original review here if you want to see what Saenz was so upset about. I would like to thank the people at Clarion/HMH Publishing for allowing me to have an ARC of this book.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Iulia

    I wish Benjamin Alire Sáenz could write my life.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Fadwa (Word Wonders)

    Full review originally posted on my blog: Word Wonders *I received an Arc of this book from the publishers through Netgalley in exchange of an honest review* Trigger Warning: Sexual Assault – Successive Deaths. Oh boy I’m mad. When I first started reading the book it felt like I was finding a new favorite, I knew that I was going to be giving it a 5 star rating, but as you can see that didn’t happen. The Inexplicable Logic of my life took all the wrong turns when they could’ve been avoi Full review originally posted on my blog: Word Wonders *I received an Arc of this book from the publishers through Netgalley in exchange of an honest review* Trigger Warning: Sexual Assault – Successive Deaths. Oh boy I’m mad. When I first started reading the book it felt like I was finding a new favorite, I knew that I was going to be giving it a 5 star rating, but as you can see that didn’t happen. The Inexplicable Logic of my life took all the wrong turns when they could’ve been avoided, it was problematic, hurtful and ruined a story that could’ve been amazing otherwise. And I’m disappointed in the author. And sad. So prepare yourselves for one of my rants. It’s been a long time, hasn’t it? The writing is good, beautiful even, it’s Benjamin Alire Saenz so what else can you expect? The prose is lyrical and that’s what saddens me. ALL THE WASTED POTENTIAL. The beauty of it was ruined by a whole bunch of offensive sentences that played on bad stereotypes. Especially when it comes to the gay representation. I lost count of how many times I cringed because the author used sentences like “For a gay guy, my dad was pretty straight”, “That’s so gay”, and “You ARE gay” referring to a gay character that chose a cute dress for his friend. Oh and we can’t forget about how it would probably even hurt Mexican-Americans who are already trying to figure out their identities with phrases like “All three of us wouldn’t make one whole Mexican” and “You’re not a real Mexican”. Last but not least, the all so overused ableism like “Emotional Anorexic” and “Schizophrenic dork”. The only thing that comes to mind when I think of all this mess is WHY? These sentences can easily be deleted and it wouldn’t change anything to the core of the story. I’ve read around that the book has no plot which in a sense is true, but it’s a character driven story, focusing on the growth of the main character and his close entourage, so I didn’t mind that, I actually liked it. It is about family, friendship, grief and love in all of its forms, I liked how it put emphasize on how love is expressed differently by different people. The characters all had separates plotlines -or journeys- of their own that explored them as individuals and made them ultimately grow, even the secondary characters. Now onto the part of it that enraged me. This is about how the sexual assault scene was handled and I’ll be blanking it for multiple reasons. (view spoiler)[ Sam who is the main character’s bestfriend was dating this guy that wanted to rape her but she managed to escape and call Salvador (the MC) who came to the rescue. All is good. He often thinks about beating him up. All is good. When he finds her talking to the rapist -and the guy apologizing- he’s about to do it but she slaps him. What I have a problem with here isn’t the fact that she slapped him, because she did it for him not for the rapist. But why was she talking to him in the first place? Why was she listening to what he had to say? What he did was sexual assault and no apology can make it alright, and it’s wrong to make people believe anything else. But the WORST, is how it’s dealt with for the rest of the book. Or how it’s NOT dealt with. The author never calls it what it is -rape, sexual assault- he kept saying that he tried to hurt her. For 1, he DID hurt her. For 2, THAT WAS SEXUAL ASSAULT, saying the words won’t kill you. (hide spoiler)] Salvador, the main character, is a very sweet guy, but a very lost one. He starts having these urges to punch people who hurt him or the people he cares about and he doesn’t know where they come from. His relationship with his bestfriend is the softest friendship ever with cute banter. But Sam, oh Sam! She has some really good qualities, she’s very caring, and a smart-ass witty girl but as all the good things in this book, she was ruined. The author tried so hard to make her “not like other girls” (which I hate) that here again he played on some really wrong stereotypes. She was made to be this girl who calls other girls bitches, didn’t befriend them and didn’t respect other people’s privacy, being very pushy and invasive at times. Oh there’s also the all so famous “One thing about Sam is that she didn’t throw like a girl”. Someone tell me what throwing like a girl looks like, because I sure don’t know. Lord have mercy. Vicente -the dad- would be, if this book wasn’t so problematic, my favorite parental figure in YA. He’s such a gentle wise man who’s so generous and knows how to be the kids’ friend while still being the dad and having them not cross boundaries. I also liked how the family was so close knitted. It just felt real and authentic. I think that’s it for this review. I’ve talked about it all. To be honest, I’m very frustrated with this book, because it’s wasted when it could’ve been beautiful. It honestly doesn’t feel like Ari & Dante and The Inexplicable Logic of my Life were written by the same author. Just because of how unproblematic and representative (the words of people who are represented in that book) the first was and how messy and hurtful this one is.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Kyle

    "I just wanted to know that I really belonged. Which is stupid. Because I've always belonged." A well done YA story which does lack romance but does gift the love of family. "I just wanted to know that I really belonged. Which is stupid. Because I've always belonged." A well done YA story which does lack romance but does gift the love of family.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Cat (cat-thecatlady)

    I cannot describe this book with anything but one word: disappointment. I'm so mad with how bad this was. it wasn't that the writing was necessarily bad, it had a few good moments. but the fact that this is so based in stereotypical assumptions kills me. things like "for a gay guy, my dad was pretty straight", "one thing about sam was that she didn't throw like a girl", "and fito's such a schizophrenic dork", "and Sam was supposed to be a real mexican" and many other things I had to suppress are I cannot describe this book with anything but one word: disappointment. I'm so mad with how bad this was. it wasn't that the writing was necessarily bad, it had a few good moments. but the fact that this is so based in stereotypical assumptions kills me. things like "for a gay guy, my dad was pretty straight", "one thing about sam was that she didn't throw like a girl", "and fito's such a schizophrenic dork", "and Sam was supposed to be a real mexican" and many other things I had to suppress are said throughout the whole of this book. it's 2017, this is just unacceptable writing. it's lazy and thoughtless. and most importantly, it's hurtful to many people. I know this got many people excited, myself included, but it's almost garbage. it might have been a bit good if there was any redeemable qualities about it. that's not the case. there's not much plot, the character's are flat and I couldn't help but roll my eyes at most of the writing. seriously, don't waste your time with this. full review here: https://catshelf.wordpress.com/2017/0...

  25. 4 out of 5

    Maria

    Initial Post Reading Thoughts Ugh. This book. So beautiful. (Literally these were the only words that were coming to mind after finishing the novel!) -- What I Liked The characters. I've said it before and I'll say it again. I love character driven stories which is probably why I love contemporary stories so much. The Inexplicable Logic of My Life is a very character driven story. While this is one of my favourite aspects of young adult contemporary novels, the characters in a character driven story Initial Post Reading Thoughts Ugh. This book. So beautiful. (Literally these were the only words that were coming to mind after finishing the novel!) -- What I Liked The characters. I've said it before and I'll say it again. I love character driven stories which is probably why I love contemporary stories so much. The Inexplicable Logic of My Life is a very character driven story. While this is one of my favourite aspects of young adult contemporary novels, the characters in a character driven story need to be fantastic or the story can feel really boring. Not only was Sal a fantastic character with a great backstory, but the other minor characters were just as amazing. I loved Samantha, Vicente, Mima and Fito so much. These characters fit together perfectly to create an excellent story. The relationships. There were so many different relationships between all of the characters and I absolutely loved all of them. I loved Sal's relationship with his father, Vicente. I loved Sal's sibling-esque relationship with Samantha. I loved the way Vicente treated Samantha as a daughter. I loved both Sal and Samantha's friendship with Fito. I loved Sal's relationship with Mima. This list could literally go on an on. Each of these characters had a special relationship with one another and it was wonderful to see, despite all of their tough life situations. Tough situations. The Inexplicable Logic of My Life did not hold back when it came to exploring heavy life situations. This story deals with the death of loved ones, adoption and finding birth parents, drug addiction and so much more. At times, it felt a little overwhelming, but in the long run it really made this book and these stories feel more realistic. Vicente. If this isn't one of the best parental figures I have ever read about. No scratch that, he's one of the best characters I've ever read period. Vicente is so loving and so caring and literally made his sole purpose in life to take care of his son and his son's friends. So much so that he even sacrifices his own happiness to make sure that those around him are happy first. I won't ruin anything for those who haven't read the book yet, but I'm just so glad things turned out the way that they did for Vicente. He deserves the world. The heartbreak. As mentioned above, this book deals with a lot of heavy subject matter. With heavy material comes some heavy heartbreak. There were moments in this novel that truly made me feel heartbroken. While these moments made me feel upset, in the long run they helped these characters to grow and mature.  -- What I Didn’t Like The length. Honestly I loved this book so much that I'm not taking any points of for this. For a contemporary novel, The Inexplicable Logic Of My Life is quite long and at times it felt as though the story was dragging a little. However, I loved everything else about this novel. Honestly, so good. -- Overall, I don't think that Benjamin Alire Sáenz can do any wrong. I mean, I've only read The Inexplicable Logic Of My Life and Aristotle and Dante Discover The Secrets of the Universe, but both of these books have been 5 star reads for me. I can't wait to read everything else this man writes, especially the HIGHLY anticipated sequel to Aristotle and Dante!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Gabby

    "People talk about the highway of life, but I think that's crap. Highways are nice and paved, and they have signs telling you which way to go. Life isn't like that at all." 3.5 stars I liked this book a lot, but I'm not in love with it. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe is one of my all time favorite books so it's safe to say I had high expectations going into this one. And I guess I'm slightly disappointed, only because my expectations were so high. But I still loved this b "People talk about the highway of life, but I think that's crap. Highways are nice and paved, and they have signs telling you which way to go. Life isn't like that at all." 3.5 stars I liked this book a lot, but I'm not in love with it. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe is one of my all time favorite books so it's safe to say I had high expectations going into this one. And I guess I'm slightly disappointed, only because my expectations were so high. But I still loved this book. This book follows a young man named Salvador who lives in Texas and has a gay Father who adopted him after his Mother died when he was three. This book follows Sal and his best friend Sammy through senior year of high school as he deals with the struggles of growing up, and life really does throw a lot of shit at him. There are some things about this book that I LOVE and some things I'm not so crazy about. I'm going to break this review down into the positives and negatives of this book. POSITIVES: 1) Sal's Dad. Sal's Dad Vicente, is easily the best thing about this book. He's one of my favorite parent characters I've ever read, and one of the bets characters I'v eve read, period. He's so optimistic and lovely and I loved reading about him every time he was in a scene. He felt so real and wise and vibrant and I absolutely adored him. Vicente is Sal's gay adoptive Father, and he's such a great Father, he's just so inspiring and his outlook on life really affected me and moved me a lot. He just cares so much for his son and he's so selfless, it's beautiful and inspiring. 2) The quotes. Benjamin Alire Saenz definitely has a way with words. There are so many wonderful quotes in this book, I was highlighting a quote I liked on nearly every page. I really like this quote about death: "I wondered if that's what death sounded like. Like a snowflake falling on the ground. It's the really simple shit like that that makes me stop and think. I love quotes like that and this book is chock full of them. 3) The sense of family and friendship. This book really tugs on those heart strings when it comes to the family relationship. Sal's crazy foul-mouthed Mexican family reminded me so much of my crazy foul-mouthed Mexican family and it made me cry so many times. (Because I recently moved away form them and I miss them terribly but that's besides the point.) Their family just reminded me a lot of my own family with their closeness and love for one another, and love for food haha. Also, the friendship between Sal and Sammy and eventually Fito was really inspiring and beautiful. NEGATIVES: 1) The writing style at times. As much as I love the gorgeous quotes this book has, I will admit at times the writing got a little irritating and repetitive. It's almost like the writing style is trying way too hard to be lyrical, but the sentences are very short and staccato and this style started to get old after a while. Especially because this book is nearly 500 pages and most of the sentences are structured this way, very short and repetitive. At times it worked and at times it didn't. 2) No romance. I know some people wouldn't consider this a negative, but I guess I just wasn't expecting this book to have absolutely no romance at all and I guess that's slightly disappointing to me. I don't even remember the last time I read a book that had absolutely no romance with the main character, and I honestly look forward to romance in books, as crazy as that sounds. So I was a little disappointed that the main character wasn't involved in any romance throughout the book. Some people might think it's refreshing that there's no romance, but I felt like this book could've been better if Sal had a love interest. 3) Lack of plot. This book didn't really feel like it had a plot, it was just following along with Sal and Sammy as they dealt with their senior year and I didn't feel a sense of excitement (like something to keep me invested in the story.) Regardless of my dislikes, I still really enjoyed this book and finished it within 24 hours of starting it, which is crazy considering how long it is. But I did enjoy this book and I think Benjamin Alire Saenz is a truly talented writer and has the ability to create some truly great characters. I'll be reading everything he writes in the future. :)

  27. 5 out of 5

    shady boots

    I'm one of like, the fifteen people in the universe who was really disappointed by Aristotle and Dante lmao. Still, I'm curious to see what else the author can do. I'm one of like, the fifteen people in the universe who was really disappointed by Aristotle and Dante lmao. Still, I'm curious to see what else the author can do.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Iryna *Book and Sword*

    DNF on page 228. Read this and more reviews on MY BLOG After 12 long days of trying to get into this book I am finally DNF'ing it on page 228. I've only DNF'd 3 books this year (this is my 4rth), so it was a hard decision. But, I struggled through it from the very beginning, so I just had to leave it. Every time I put it down I just didn't care at all to pick it back up. It's not a bad book in any sense (that's why it's not getting a 1 star rating), it just didn't do anything for me. I read one oth DNF on page 228. Read this and more reviews on MY BLOG After 12 long days of trying to get into this book I am finally DNF'ing it on page 228. I've only DNF'd 3 books this year (this is my 4rth), so it was a hard decision. But, I struggled through it from the very beginning, so I just had to leave it. Every time I put it down I just didn't care at all to pick it back up. It's not a bad book in any sense (that's why it's not getting a 1 star rating), it just didn't do anything for me. I read one other book by Benjamin Saenz - Aristotle and Dante discover the secrets of the universe - and I really loved it. Aristotle and Dante showed me reasons why I should give ya contemporary a chance. But The inexplicable Logic reminded me all of the reasons why I hate ya contemporaries. ​Aristotle and Dante was aesthetically written, and it was the most quotable book I've ever read - it was just beautiful. The Inexplicable Logic was just a big mess of repetitive writing, with some pretty quotes sprinkled throughout. It had such a promising premise! A boy who was adopted by gay father - I thought it was incredibly different. We always see kids struggling with their sexuality, and we don't often get to see kids dealing with their parent's sexuality. It was supposed to be a coming of age story - main character navigating through grief, loss and other confusing things (like his father being gay). I was so excited to read it! But in the end - the amazing premise was just that, a premise. It never translated into the story. Yes, all of those issues and elements were there, but they all fell flat, buried under heaps of unnecessary and useless chapters. This story could have been everything, but sadly I got bored way before I could see it unfold. Here are some reasons why this book didn't work out for me. ​Repetition of things: almost every chapter ended on the same note - every new chapter felt a little bit like the previous chapter, with same thoughts and same ideas on the loop. It's like somebody forgot to switch the film and the same song kept playing. On repeat, repeat, repeat... The writing: this didn't really feel like a book, but more like a diary, and not an interesting one at that. The writing was choppy, and abrupt and just weird at times - it just felt very messy, like maybe a child wrote it. The characters: I couldn't identify with any of the characters in this book. They all had so much potential, but they just never reached it (I mean, maybe they did later on, but I couldn't wait anymore) - they felt flat and cliche to me. And I just couldn't stand Sam at all, main's character best friend. A girl who cusses for no good reason and teases her best friend to no end? Even though she had so much happen to her, and I knew that as a reader I was supposed to feel for her - I just couldn't. How sexual assault was handled, or to be more precise - not handled at all. Useless chapters: Some chapters were fully comprised of Sal (main character) and Sam texting. Some of the conversations went like this: Sal: I have a new word Sam: What is it? Sal: Brave Sam: Are you brave? Sal: no. Sam: yes, you are. Sal: lol Sam: lol (now this is not an exact conversation from the book, but you get the idea). I just couldn't take much of that anymore - if I wanted to read useless messages between teenagers I'd go on Tumblr or something. This book is over 400 pages long, and I just don't see a reason why. I could only get through 228 and then I decided that I had enough - I was so bored. The pace is so slow, and I normally love slow-burning books, but something here just didn't click for me. Pages were filled with useless things and repetitive subjects, meanwhile the plot was going nowhere. If you love contemporaries, you might love this book. If you haven't read anything by Saenz, I'd recommend reading Aristotle and Dante instead of this - that book had heart and soul, this book felt like it needed more work to have sustenance. For me, I am done with ya contemporaries, so in a way I'm thankful for this book, because it reminded me exactly why I stayed away from them for so long. My WEBSITE My INSTAGRAM My WORDPRESS BLOG

  29. 5 out of 5

    Sarina

    4.5 stars

  30. 4 out of 5

    rin

    I'm not sure how I feel about this book - I didn't dislike it, but I didn't quite like it either. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe is one of my most favorite books ever and I kinda expected Benjamin Alire Sáenz to deliver something similar. Well, no such luck. What I liked: * Most of all, I enjoyed Sal's family. They are awesome and I fell in love with them and their antics. Sal's father is my most favorite character of this book - A+++ parental figure. * This book's main foc I'm not sure how I feel about this book - I didn't dislike it, but I didn't quite like it either. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe is one of my most favorite books ever and I kinda expected Benjamin Alire Sáenz to deliver something similar. Well, no such luck. What I liked: * Most of all, I enjoyed Sal's family. They are awesome and I fell in love with them and their antics. Sal's father is my most favorite character of this book - A+++ parental figure. * This book's main focus is friendship. Sal, Sam and Fito's friendship is beautiful and, honestly, squad goals. I loved that there were no complications with useless romance between these characters. * The discussion of some issues like mortality, grief, anger, forgiveness, homophobia, e.t.c. * The diversity!! This book is full of POC characters and queer characters. * Maggie the Dog. (*slides $10* can we get maggie and legs in one book tysm). I LOVE DOGS. What I didn't like: * Writing. I was fine with Benjamin Alire Sáenz's style in A&D because I was totally engrossed in the story, but in this book nothing distracted me from it. It's too clipped (I'm not sure if it's the right word, but the author uses short sentences) and repetitive. Repetitions grated on my nerves the most. Also, it was a little unemotional? I couldn't connect with characters because of the emotional portrayal. Characters' feelings are told post factum. For example, they have a long conversation and only in the end of the conversation it's told that they were crying or laughing or something. * While I liked main characters overall, I still wasn't fine with them saying problematic things sometimes, or acting very stereotypically. Yeah, this things were usually frowned upon (not all of them though) by other characters, but duhhhh still irritating. * While some issues are dealt with nicely, there were issues that weren't discussed at all. For exaple, sexual assault thing was completely dismissed and brought up only once after it happened. And not in a positive light. (view spoiler)[Sam slapped Sal after he tried to defend her from a guy who tried to assault her???? like wtf girl??? and it was shown like Sal was the bad guy there, not the other guy because he tried to apologize??? nope it's not right (hide spoiler)] * No ploooooooooooooooooooot. It was so boring at times. Yeah, it's a character-driven story, but it hassss noooo plooooot absoluuutely. We just follow Sal's last year at school. Which is okay with me, but I wanted more to it. I'm giving this book 6 out of 10. After A&D it's pretty disappointing. I’ve received an arc via NetGalley in exchange for honest review. This has not influenced my review.

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