The Inexplicable Logic of My Life

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Book Information
Rating: Dependable
Reading/Interest Level: Young Adult
Author: Benjamin Alire Saenz
Publisher: Clarion Books
Year: 2017
ISBN: 9780544586505
Pages: 464

What’s more important: nature or nurture? Sal is trying to figure out the answer to that question in his own life. He doesn’t know who his biological father is, and he barely remembers his mother. All his life, Sal has tried to be like his adoptive father, but he feels himself turning into someone he doesn’t recognize. Tragedy strikes in Sal's personal life, as well as in the lives of his friends and family, and the changes happening within him that distance himself from the person he thought he was become even more pronounced. Senior year of high school is supposed to be the eve of the rest of Sal’s life, but before he can leave the comfort of his childhood, he must learn to accept himself and the people around him, flaws and all.

The Inexplicable Logic of My Life is thought-provoking and addresses important concepts, but the characters in this book seem forced and unnatural. Though each character has strengths and weaknesses, it feels as though some of the weaknesses are added as an afterthought in order to make the characters more believable. The relationships between characters seem to be unusually deep and poignant versions of real relationships. For this reason, it is difficult to find a connection to the characters, though a reader could learn much from their musings. Ultimately, despite its shortcomings, the book does skillfully broach common, complex issues: gay acceptance, adoptive vs. biological family, cultural identity, and the transformative power of grief.

*Contains severe language and mild sexual content.