The Inexplicable Logic of My Life

Printz Honor recipient Benjamin Alire Sáenz (Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe) returns with a complex slice-of-life drama.

Salvador, a white 17-year-old, has lived a quiet, happy life in El Paso, Tex., with his adoptive father, Vicente, a gay Mexican-American who always supported Sal. However, on his first day as a high school senior, normally laid-back Sal punches another student for insulting Vicente. Soon after, he finds himself speaking with his fists again. As Sal tries to understand and control his sudden outbursts, Vicente gives him a sealed letter from his mother, who died when he was three. Events spiral beyond Sal's control as Mima, his adored grandmother, receives a terminal cancer diagnosis, his best female friend Samantha faces a life-altering tragedy, and his best male friend Fito struggles with an insecure home life and bullying at school. Over the course of the year, Sal learns that choices, not circumstances, define a man.

Sáenz once again proves himself the master of relationship development; at heart, his latest is the story of a devoted father and son discovering how to live their own lives and of two lifelong friends turning and returning to their unbreakable bond. Delicately wrought dialogues between major characters quietly convey deep and abiding love. Older teens especially will relate to Sal's transitional year as he simultaneously grapples with college essays and his inner demons. Loosely plotted to mirror the unpredictable cadence of real life, The Inexplicable Logic of My Life affirms the blessing of a supportive family, whether made by birth or by love. --Jaclyn Fulwood, lead librarian at Del City Public Library, Oklahoma

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