Friendships, Family, Food & Diversity | The Inexplicable Logic of My Life REVIEW

Hello and happy slightly-belated book birthday to this novel! I hope you’re all doing well. ❤ I wanted to have this review up yesterday when it was released, but unfortunately, life got in the way.

But anyway! It’s been a long time since I read something like this book. It was a really nice read. I finished it pretty quickly, as well, considering the fact that it had a very slow paced plot. But, despite the plot, what I loved most was the characters and how it focused on them. That was what made this book so wonderful to read. Although, the general consensus around this book according to other bloggers is that Aristotle and Dante was better–I can’t vouch for this, personally, as I have never read it, but if you have read Aristotle and Dante and loved it, your best bet is probably to go into this one with lowered expectations. Let’s just get into the full review, shall we?

Disclaimer: I received an e-ARC thanks to Netgalley for review purposes! ❤ All opinions are my own. Oh, and all quotes mentioned are retrieved from the ARC, and may be changed in the final copy. Just a sidenote! 

the-inexplicable-logic-of-my-lifeThe Inexplicable Logic of My Life by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Publication Date: March 7th 2017
Publisher: Clarion Books
Genre(s): Contemporary, Young-Adult
Series Status: N/A–Stand Alone
Page Count: 464
Source & Format: Netgalley eARC

Synopsis from Goodreads:

From the multi-award-winning author of Aristotle and Dante Discover, the Secrets of the Universe comes a gorgeous new story about love, identity, and families lost and found.

Sal used to know his place with his adoptive gay father, their loving Mexican-American family, and his best friend, Samantha. But it’s senior year, and suddenly Sal is throwing punches, questioning everything, and realizing he no longer knows himself. If Sal’s not who he thought he was, who is he?

This humor-infused, warmly humane look at universal questions of belonging is a triumph.

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There were actually multiple mentions of food and TACOS in this book as well… Aka I am very hungry right now.

Features an AMAZING fictional father

“He said, ‘Every time I look into your blue eyes. Every time I hear you laugh. Every day, when I hear your voice, I thank God for you. Yeah, Salvador, I believe in God.'”  

I’m not exaggerating when I say that Sal’s father, Vicente Silva, is one of the best fictional fathers I have ever seen. He was an amazing father who had such a deep bond with not only his son, but everyone around him, and that was so beautiful. He was there for Sal the whole time, for Sal’s best friend Sam, for their new friend Fito. He was there for each and every single one of them, offering them comfort and discipline. And love, my god, so much love. My heart hurts from how much I loved his love for everyone. He shows strength, in who he is, who he believes, what he does, in everything he does but still had fears and uncertainty just like every person. His and Sal’s and his and Sam’s moments were truly amazing, along with pretty much everyone else he met. I’m not exaggerating at all when I say he truly is a notable father–and a notable person–that deserves all the recognition it can get. Because fathers like these, in novels? A rare gem. 

“I happen to be gay. I don’t think that makes me a faggot. I’m also a Mexican American. I don’t think that makes me a taco bender. I don’t think that makes a beaner. I don’t think that makes me a spic. And I don’t think that makes me an illegal.” 

CAN SOMEONE GIVE THIS MAN AN AWARD PLEASE?

No romance, but lots of love.

Apologies to all romance lovers out there! No romance in this one, but that was one of its strong points. I’ve already mentioned before having more books with little to no romance and well, here’s this one! I think it’s really great what the author did here; not all teens find their soulmates in high school (ahem. Example: me), and focusing on aspects like love for family and friends, made this book refreshing and incredibly heartwarming. There was no shortage in love though; what this book lacked in romance, it more than made up for it with its focus on the love between Vicente and Sal, Sal and Mima, Sal and Sam’s platonic and wonderful friendship, Sal & Sam and Maggie, the dog, Sal, Sam and Fito, Sal and his uncle, and the list goes on and on. The family dynamics in Sal’s family was so beautiful, and I can not express how much I adored them. Family is SO important, and I loved the emphasis on that in this book. 

Speaking of non-romantic relationships; the friends in this book are actually #goals. Individually, my feelings on them vary, but Sal, Sam, and later Fito have such an adorable and supportive friendship that I adored. Sam and Sal’s friendship particularly stuck out to me; in them, I saw elements and phrases that I could either relate to with my own friends or just that I loved reading. And! They. Only. Stay. Friends!! NO I’M NOT JOKING. Yes, I’ve come to answer your prayers. Jk, but I’m a strong advocate for more female-male friendships, and this book featured one of the best ones I’ve read in a long time. Sam and Sal were so supportive of each other, so close and loving it made my heart hurt. Each of them had their own demons to battle, but they each had each other (among other people, of course) to push them to do so.

Sometimes family and friends are one of the best and biggest forms of love, and I loved how this book focused on those aspects of life. 

Other tasty aspects…

  • THE FOOD. This is the only one that actually makes sense in relation to the above statement. There were much tacos and tortillas and enchiladas and…. now I’m hungry. Help.
  • I didn’t get to mention my love for Fito!! Because I did love him. SO MUCH. He was so precious and did not deserve 90% of the things that happened to him. Probably one of my top favorite characters in this one, despite the fact that he isn’t exactly a main character until about halfway or something through the book.
  • Oh, I also should probably mention Sal, the main character! I did like him as well, he was SO sweet, and I loved the love he had for his family and Sam, and Fito. His relationship with his Mima was very nice as well, along with him and his father. ❤ Though, I did get exasperated with his anger-related issues at several points, it was okay.
  • Beautiful writing! It was simple but lyrical and it was lovely to read. I wouldn’t say I flew through the book because of it, but it did seem to make things seem less long, I think. Or maybe that was just me. Though, I will say, it’s kind of repetitive and the sentences can be pretty choppy. I don’t think this bothered me that much, but I know it can be a pet peeve for others aha.
  • I adored the diversity!! The book is filled with POC and queer characters, which I loved! Sal is white, but his adoptive father is Mexican, and Sal basically identifies as a Mexican and that was so precious.
I’m trying to make the headers a bit more related to my blog title!! I TRIED, OKAY. 😛
  •  Okay, so I mentioned I loved Sal and Sam’s friendship?? And I did, it was amazing. But Sam herself… eh, not as much. Sam’s development is great, however, I felt like her character the majority of the time tried too hard to not be like ‘other girls’. And that was annoying, because she ended up being a character who had no female friendships, instead calling them bitches, etc. *sad face* It was quite frustrating, really, because I really did want to enjoy her character more (she kind of shows up the entire novel, so like…)–and she had so much potential but… *sigh*
  • Things were too… similar for all three of the teens. Specifically in the mom department, which seemed all too… I don’t know. Unrealistic? Unlikely? I mean, I suppose it is possible but it seemed all too convenient and more of a plot device to have the characters have something in common that I could not 100% buy. #Justamethingprobabaly
  • Another thing that makes me quite.. conflicted, is the stereotypical and offensive statements in the novel. Things like “For a gay guy, my dad was pretty straight.” or “One thing about Sam was that she didn’t throw like a girl*.” and several other phrases. I just found them so unnecessary? Perhaps it was to show the naivety of the main character or something, I don’t know, but whatever the case may be, you could take those out and it would change nothing of the story, characters, theme, whatever. Nothing. It was just so unnecessary. 
    *Why is this still a thing?? Albeit in a fictional novel, but like still?
  • NO PLOT. And I know, it’s a character-driven novel, which is great, but like, 400+ pages is a lot to go through with a slow-paced plot. I do think you should be prepared for that, or else you’re going to be quite bored and disappointed with the plot. I mean, you might still be bored with the plot, but still, it’s not terrible, just it might be easier if you’re prepared with that info, haha.

Overall…

An enjoyable read! I really did like it, problems aside. Though from what I’ve seen, this is a lot of a hit-or-miss situation, most reviews I’ve seen have either given this book 4 stars, or 2. So. A lot of people have also expressed how this book does not live up to Aristotle and Dante, so if you have read that book, just a heads up! For me, personally, I have not yet read Ari and Dante, and I think that helped a bit if only to have more reasonable expectations aha. As a recap: I loved the focus on non-romantic love such as friends and family, the diversity, the FOOD of course, and especially Sal’s father. It truly was wonderful to read about that. I wasn’t the biggest fan of Sam’s, and there were phrases that were totally unnecessary, but overall, I do think it’s worth a read if you enjoy family dynamics, and character-driven novels. 


Wow, that was a long review! I tried out a slightly different format for my review today and I think it caused me to revert back to my rambling review days…

But tell me! What do you think of this novel? Have you read Ari and Dante yet? Did you like it? If you haven’t read it, tell me so I don’t feel so alone haha. 😛 What are your thoughts on problematic phrases in books? Any other books you know of with strong family dynamics and/or friendship and diversity? Do you plan on reading this book? Let me know in the comments, don’t let my frantic 2AM typing go in vain aha. Hope you have a lovely day! ❤

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33 thoughts on “Friendships, Family, Food & Diversity | The Inexplicable Logic of My Life REVIEW

  1. I’m glad you loved this book so much. I’ve haven’t read it yet but it’s in my tbr for a long time, maybe I’ll pick it up soon enough after reading your review. Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yeah, Vicente is probably the best part of this whole story; all of the bits with him and his lowkey passive aggressive shade defending Sal during those trips to the principal’s office? Looooooved it. But by the same merit, it’s also difficult to prospect such a wonderful guy in reality. Not saying it’s impossible of course but I did feel as though the thing that makes him great is also the aspect that could make him seem too good to be true. That’s just my take on devil’s advocacy.

    I definitely agree that the overarching plot for each of the characters (friends) was a bit too similar and lacked substance. I mean…the same thing to happen to ALL THREE of them? C’mon now…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Right?? I adored Vicente, oh my gosh the shade at the principal’s office was so awesome. And that’s something I hadn’t really thought about that much, but I actually totally get where you’re coming from. Fathers–humans–like Vicente are very much hard to come by in books, AND real life, I think there’s definitely that side of us that are drawn to this wonderful, but perhaps too-good-to-be-true character, though I do think it depends on the person.

      I’m so glad I’m not the only one who thought that! Sure, for the purpose of the story and the teens’ friendship, etc. I get perhaps why it was done that way, but it was way too much of a shortcut and hard to believe for me.

      Like

  3. Lovely review 🙂 I’m happy to hear you enjoyed this book so much, I felt the same way, and I loved Sal’s dad SO much, he was just perfect ❤ I agree with you about the stereotypes though, that was too bad :/

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great review for this book Analee. I’ve seen some mixed opinions about this one but I was one of the people who loved Aristotle and Dante so I’ll still be giving this book a try. Now you’ve read and enjoyed this one do you think you’ll get around to Aristotle and Dante soon, or at all?
    Yes to an amazing father figure though. It’s great to see strong family connections in YA book, I always love reading them myself so I guess I’ll love that about this book, also I think despite the fact there’s no romance it can be nice to see that in YA book sometimes, you don’t need a romantic relationship in every book there is, something it can be nice to see something different which I guess this book did quite well! 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! I hope you enjoy this book when you pick it up. I will definitely be reading Aristotle and Dante! I had been planning on reading it for over a year and somehow never got around to it? 😳 So hopefully soon, now that I read this one haha.
      I am 100% sure that you will adore Sal’s father then! He is one of the best father figures I’ve read in YA and I loved the scenes with him. And yes, having no romance in a book can be quite refreshing, especially because almost every other book has romance haha. It pulled it off very nicely in this one, for sure! I loved the focus on friends, family, and in Sal’s case, personal growth. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      • I hope so too, overall the reviews I’ve been seeing are really good so I think I will. 🙂 Ari and Dante is amazing, I think you’ll find it was worth the wait as well.
        That’s great to see, I love seeing close family relationships in books, and well developed ones as well, and it sounds like this book had that in spades. And yeah actually I really can’t remember the last time I read a book that had no romance at all. May make a nice change for me! 😀 ❤

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Loved this review! I haven’t read Ari & Dante either so maybe I’ll read this before that. Almost all the things you mentioned in the Things You Want More of in YA (don’t remember the exact name of the post!) seem to be in this so that’s awesome 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • YAY I’m so glad to hear I’m not the only one who still hasn’t read Ari and Dante haha. Yes, that’s an idea especially because I heard lots of people were disappointed in this one as it was not as good as Ari and Dante.. which is a shame because this was still really good! And right??! Haha yes, it was something like that, and so many of those aspects were in this one, it was great. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes you are not alone! I am late to all the book bandwagons ever, it’s quite sad 😂 I saw a lot of people talking about how there isn’t much of a plot in this but if you this, that’ll just be amazing – there are only positives here! 😛

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Fantastic review, Analee! I’m only 20% through with this one but I’m loving the friendship and father-son vibes. I’m also not sure how I feel with the way things are worded in this. It’s not exactly offensive to me, but I can see how it could be for other readers. And yes! It makes me incredibly happy this one is a completely romance-free YA story. The last one that focused on friendship that I read was You Know Me Well (but that one still had some romance even).

    Also, don’t feel bad. My reviews always end up being ridiculously long as well, haha.

    Summer

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! I’m replying to this kind of late (sorry!) so I’m assuming you’re finished/almost finished… but I’m glad to hear you love the friendship and father-son relationship, that was definitely two of the things I loved most. Yes, it’s not exactly offensive to me either, but I just felt it so unnecessary and offensive towards others. Yessss, romance-free YA stories are so rare!

      Haha thank you for the reassurance! ❤

      Like

  7. Best fictional dad ever! I loved the platonic friendship between Sal and Sam, so refreshing. Sam was a difficult character to like, but she kind of grew on me. I would have liked more of Fito , in fact he needs his own book. Great review, you nailed it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Agreed!! ❤ Yes, it was such a lovely change and was so wonderful. And yes, I didn’t like her as much at first but I did appreciate her character and growth by the end. Yessss Fito!! We so need more of him, I would totally read his book haha. Thank you!! 💞

      Liked by 1 person

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