- The Inexplicable Logic of My Life by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
Trade ed. ISBN 978-0-544-58650-5 $17.99
E-book ed. ISBN 978-0-544-58352-8 $17.99
Reviewed from galleys R Gr. 7-10
Mild-mannered Sal surprises even himself when he punches a guy for calling his adoptive father a “faggot” on his way home from school on the first day of senior year. He is nothing if not contemplative, however, and this book is a series of thoughtful, bemused reflections on the things that transpire that school year, including the death of his best friend Samantha’s mother, revelations about his father’s past and how Sal, as a white boy, came to be adopted into a loving Mexican-American family, and the return of his beloved grandmother’s cancer. Sam and Sal also watch and eventually intervene in the life of their friend, Fito, whose mother is a drug addict and who ends up homeless before the end of the year. In the midst of all this sadness and loss, a gentle, poetic sweetness hovers over the lives of Sal, Sam, and Fito like a blessing. Sal’s center and anchor is his dad, Vicente, who gave up a relationship with a man he loved when that man, Marco, said he didn’t want to be a stepfather. Though Vicente’s love for his son pulses through everything he does, Marco’s return enables Sal to see his dad’s loneliness. As Sal tries to understand the way his fists seem to be acting on their own, as he sorts through memories and feelings about mothers in general and his mother in particular, Sal wraps readers in a 464-page hug, sharing longing and insight that ultimately affirms the goodness of strong families with the generosity to draw in and rescue those in need of steady, solid, unconditional love.