Summary and book reviews of The Inexplicable Logic of My Life by Benjamin Saenz

The Inexplicable Logic of My Life

by Benjamin Saenz

The Inexplicable Logic of My Life by Benjamin Saenz X
The Inexplicable Logic of My Life by Benjamin Saenz
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     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Mar 2017, 464 pages
    Paperback:
    Nov 2017, 464 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Michelle Anya Anjirbag

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About this Book

Book Summary

"Friendships, family, grief, joy, rage, faith, doubt, poetry, and love—this complex and sensitive book has room for every aspect of growing up!" - Margarita Engle, Newbery Honor–Winning author of The Surrender Tree

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.

Prologue

I have a memory that is almost like a dream: the yellow leaves from Mima's mulberry tree are floating down from the sky like giant snowflakes. The November sun is shining, the breeze is cool, and the afternoon shadows are dancing with a life that is far beyond my boyhood understanding. Mima is singing something in Spanish. There are more songs living inside her than there are leaves on her tree.

She is raking the fallen leaves and gathering them. When she is done with her work, she bends down and buttons my coat. She looks at her pyramid of leaves and looks into my eyes and says, "Jump!" I run and jump onto the leaves, which smell of the damp earth.

All afternoon, I bathe in the waters of those leaves.

When I get tired, Mima takes my hand. As we walk back into the house, I stop, pick up a few leaves, and hand them to her with my five-year-old hands. She takes the fragile leaves and kisses them.

She is happy.

And me? I have never been this happy.

I keep that memory ...

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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

Saenz’s presentation is powerful not because of the questions it asks, but because of what the reader is forced to feel.   (Reviewed by Michelle Anya Anjirbag).

Full Review (453 words).

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Media Reviews

Booklist
Sáenz presents readers with several beautifully drawn relationships... Sal is one of those characters you wonder about after the book is closed. Maybe Sáenz will tell us more.

Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Written in short chapters that eloquently describe Sal's deepest fears and most intense moments of affection, the story celebrates compassion and the love of family. Ages 12–up.

School Library Journal
This complex, sensitive, and profoundly moving book is beautifully written and will stay with readers ... A must-purchase title, recommended for all school and public libraries.

Kirkus Reviews
Starred Review. The well-constructed pacing of the novel, with its beautifully expansive prose punctuated by text messages between Sal and Sam, demonstrates the author's talent for capturing the richness of relationships among family and friends ... [A]nother stellar, gentle look into the emotional lives of teens on the cusp of adulthood.

Author Blurb Bill Konigsberg, Stonewall Award-winning author of Openly Straight and The Porcupine of Truth
What the world needs now is a book like this one. Profoundly important and moving. Read it.

Author Blurb Francisco Jiménez, Pura Belpré Honor-winning author of Breaking Through and Reaching Out
Thought-provoking and uplifting, this compelling coming-of-age novel treats the complexities of being human with compassion, and—above all—love.

Reader Reviews

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Beyond the Book

Talking About Grief With Teenagers

Grief is hard to deal with at any age, but Benjamin Alire Saenz's novel The Inexpliable Logic of My Life reminds us just how much harder it can be when on the cusp of adulthood, especially when it is caused by the loss of a parent. Sal, Sam, and Fito each experience the loss of a parent or loved one in a different way, and the relationship they each lose is different, which, for adult readers of the book, is a reminder that when adults talk to teenagers, especially when it comes to heavy, life-altering topics, there is not a one-size fits all solution, nor can the reality of a situation be sugarcoated. Teenagers know what's real: Sal watched the decline of his grandmother from within a large, loving family; Sam's contentious ...

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