Review: The Inexplicable Logic of My Life, Benjamin Alire Sáenz

I have talked about this enough on the blog lately. The Inexplicable Logic of My Life is the perfect example of the importance of characters in a book, because here, in this particular story, the characters ARE the book, what makes it breathe and come alive, what makes is exist, simply. If you’re looking for a plot-driven kind of book, action-paced and leaving you breathless, this is not it. If you’re looking for some kind of explanation on what life is supposed to be like -aren’t we all, this is not it either. This book is a story of a teenager’s life, in the span of a few months – a year. It’s about how quickly things change, how quickly life messes things up, break you and put you together again.



If there should be there a paragraph talking about the plot overall, the world-building and everything, well…I can’t do it here because there is nothing resembling a plot here. It’s a character-driven book, where we follow Salvador, a seventeen-years-old boy and his Mexican-American family’s life. Don’t get me wrong, there are things happening, just like in life, and events driving the book forward, but most of it all, it’s about the characters and their growth….which, at times, made the book a bit long and dragging. It’s more than 400 pages long and I felt myself a bit lost in this book more than once. A couple of chapters felt long, so that’s my say about it, but otherwise, if I didn’t enjoy the characters, well that book would have been unbearable, so I’m glad I did.



“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.”

As you probably know now, the characters most definitely are the strong suit here. Just like in Saenz’s Aristotle and Dante, they are painfully real and struggling with issues we can all relate with when we are teenagers: love, heartbreak, feeling left out, wonderment about college, the future, life in general, topped with all the massive confusion about who we are and who we are supposed to be, and the real us sometimes hiding inside of us, the fact that we don’t always really know each other, or ourselves, at all. All of the characters are real and three-dimensional in this story, which I really appreciated. They didn’t limit themselves to one quality, they did not have one flaw and they most definitely all brought something to the story, not as a prop for the main character development, but as themselves. Each had their own growth and I really appreciated that.
Another strong suit here were obviously the relationships, and the massive emphasis on friendship here. No romance, just friendship, with its complications, its beginnings and its ends, incomprehension and love, laughs and adventures. I really loved that. There was also a huge place for family in that story; because sometimes family isn’t all just blood-related. I really loved Salvador’s relationship with his dad, it was strong yet flawed, and it was very, very beautiful.



“Maybe I’d always had the wrong idea as to who I really was.”

Life isn’t perfect and I’m sad to say that this book wasn’t either. There were things that could have easily been avoided but yet were there, bothering me as I read on, such as the endless mentions of sentences like “you’re so gay” that were completely unnecessary to prove a point and really stereotypical. There is also a subplot that my friend Fadwa mentioned very rightly in her review that felt, as she said, poorly handed and kind of wrong. I’m not going to spoil anything in this review at all, but since nothing is perfect, these couple of things were my main concern here, and part of the reason why this isn’t a perfect book.
However, Saenz’s writing still still remains beautiful, poetic, and a pleasure to read.


If you enjoy character-driven stories, great characters and a great, realistic exploration of friendship and family relationships, then I’d recommend this book for sure.

A million thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for the digital review copy of this book. This did not, in any way, affect my opinion on this story. All of the quotes are taken from the e-ARC.

Final rating:  4 drops!

 Do you want to read The Inexplicable Logic of my Life? Share your thoughts in comments!

Benjamin Alire Sáenz, The Inexplicable Logic of My Life,  Published by Clarion Books, March 7th 2017.


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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Book blogger, travel blogger, writer. 📚 |🌍 | 💞 Writing & Communications Graduate. French. Living on love, wanderlust and ya books.

33 thoughts on “Review: The Inexplicable Logic of My Life, Benjamin Alire Sáenz

  1. I’m really glad to hear you enjoyed this one! Ari and Dante is one of my favourite books of all time, and this sounds quite similar, so I’m really excited to read it. I don’t think anything can ever top A+D, so I’m going to try to go in with my expectations not too high. I heard about the rape subplot, which sounds so disappointing. I won’t look over that when I rate it, but hopefully I’ll be able to still really enjoy the book. Lovely review!

    Denise | Riot Grrrl Reads

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ohh I really hope you’ll like it, but if you already enjoyed Aristotle and Dante, I’m sure you will, because it’s based off the same recipe of beautiful writing, beautiful characters and great relationships and friendships 🙂 Thank you so much Denise! ❤


  2. great review Marie 🙂 . I finished it just the other day and loved it, and I actually think I liked it more than Ari and Dante. I agree that some things could have stayed out of the book, but I have to say that I didn’t mind it and it made sense to me. Like it or not, we are a product of our environment, especially at 17, so while certain comments and expressions would have felt super wrong coming from an older person, they mostly came from Sam, and it made sense given her personality. I did like that Sal actually brought some of those things up and gave his thoughts about it. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, I’m happy you liked it even more than Ari and Dante 🙂 Yeah you’re right about that, it does make a bit of sense coming from Sam, and it was right that Sal brought these things up, I am glad he did.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I really enjoyed Ari and Dante and I definitely prefer “character driven” books over “plot driven” so this one should be right up my alley. Especially when the characters are really well-developed and just–real, you know? Great review. I’ll be adding this to my TBR

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I saw a lot of comments like yours on the “stereotypes” from this book. It makes me disappointed, because I’ve always admired this author for giving them a different meaning. However, I’m still extremely excited for this one. I love character-driven books, especially when they involve friendships and family. I know that this won’t be like another Ari & Dante, but I can’t help to have high expectations, hahah. I’m glad you enjoyed this one, Marie!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I really hope you’ll enjoy it a lot, if you loved Ari and Dante I’m sure you will love this one. The stereotypes were a bit bothering at times, but it didn’t take away my enjoyment for the story, I really hope you’ll feel the same way ❤ Thank you so much!


  5. I’m really glad you enjoyed this book Marie, I’ve seen a few other reviews for this mention the flat subplot, or something that happens towards the end of the book, which they weren’t massive fans of but it’s great you enjoyed the rest. I really loved Aristotle and Dante and know that Saenz is just amazing at writing character driven stories like this; now I think about it Ari and Dante didn’t have a real plot either, it pretty much just followed them throughout the summer months as they grew up, is this plot similar in that way?
    Either it sounds like the characters were wonderfully written which is always a plus, and great review as well Marie! 😀 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, the plot really is similar that way, as you follow the characters through their journey in life, really. There’s no plot, no action driving the story forward, it’s really the characters and life events that do – when you come to think about it, it’s really like life, what happens in this book, and in a way it’s really beautiful 🙂 I hope you’ll enjoy it, and thank you Beth! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  6. So glad you enjoyed this! I have yet to read it – I did buy the author’s previous book and have it sitting on my shelf, but for whatever reason I keep forgetting about it and haven’t read it yet. This one sounds just as beautiful and inspiring as that book, though! Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Lovely review, Marie! Of course, I agree with you on all of this! ❤ Such wonderful relationships between the characters, it was great to see the focus on things like friends and family and just dealing with life in general because I think most of us can relate to that aha. It would definitely be hard for someone who didn’t like the characters to get through this one, I’m glad that wasn’t an issue with you. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so, so much Analee! ❤ ❤ I'm so happy you loved this book just as much, it's so good and refreshing to read a book about its characters and relationships -friendships and family, not love only! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Awesome review! I’ve heard similar things about this being character driven and not having much of a plot, so I will *definitely* have to bear that in mind going into this (I’m pretty sure I’ll check this out cos I really enjoyed Aristotle and Dante)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh well if you enjoyed Ari and Dante, I’m sure you should like that one just as well. It’s true that there is basically no plot, but the characters are wonderful and I quickly grew attached to them ❤

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Lauren! It really would have been perfect if it wasn’t for this smaaall issue. Loved the characters and the overall story, though, I hope you’ll feel the same way 🙂


  9. Me love some character-driven books! 😀 Lately, I haven’t been reading enough of them which is a big disappointment – I know – but I guess this one can finally give me IT. I think this The Inexplicable Logic of My Life would be inspiring and moving. I can feel it. Great review, Marie!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I just read mine a couple of days back and is still writing my review. I actually thought it was fast-paced since most chapters are no longer than 10 pages. I think the longest is about 13 pages? Anyway, I really liked you review!

    Liked by 1 person

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