Publisher : Clarion Books
Genre : Young Adult | Contemporary
Page Count: 464
Synopsis : 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?
*I received an Arc of this book from the publishers through Netgalley in exchange of an honest review*
Trigger Warning: Sexual Assault – Successive Deaths.
(All Spoilers are hidden)
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. 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.
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.
That’s it until next time.
Did you read The Inexplicable Logic of My Life? If so, what did you think?
If you have an #Ownvoices review, please let me know so I can link it here.
Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.