THE INEXPLICABLE LOGIC OF MY LIFE

Benjamin Alire Sáenz

From multi-award winning author and poet Benjamin Alire Sáenz, author of Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, comes a story of family and friendship, life and death, and one teen struggling to understand who he is.

The first day of senior year: Everything is about to change. Until this moment, Sal has always been certain of his place with his adoptive gay father and their loving Mexican-American family.
But now his own history unexpectedly haunts him, and life-altering events force him and his best friend, Samantha, to confront issues of faith,

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From multi-award winning author and poet Benjamin Alire Sáenz, author of Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, comes a story of family and friendship, life and death, and one teen struggling to understand who he is.

The first day of senior year: Everything is about to change. Until this moment, Sal has always been certain of his place with his adoptive gay father and their loving Mexican-American family.
But now his own history unexpectedly haunts him, and life-altering events force him and his best friend, Samantha, to confront issues of faith, loss, and grief. Sal discovers that he no longer knows who he really is—but if Sal’s not who he thought he was, who is he?

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  • Clarion Books
  • Hardcover
  • March 2017
  • 464 Pages
  • 9780544586505

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$17.99

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About Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Benjamin Alire Sáenz is an acclaimed writer for adults and teens. His novel Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe won a Printz Honor Award, the Pura Belpre, Lambda, and Stonewall Book Awards. Mr. Sáenz lives in El Paso. TX.

Praise

“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

“A needed, lovely, and powerful book.” —Connie Griffin, Bookworks (Albuquerque, NM)

“What the world needs now is a book like this one. A book filled with warmth and wisdom, about the families we create. Profoundly important and moving. Read it.” —Bill Konigsberg, award-winning author of Openly Straight and The Porcupine of Truth

“Thought-provoking and uplifting, this is a compelling coming-of-age novel in which well-drawn, witty, independent, resilient, and reflective characters search for life meaning and their true selves. It treats the vicissitudes of life with wonder, and the complexities of being human with compassion, and—above all—love.” —Francisco Jiménez, Pura Belpré Honor-winning author of Breaking Through and Reaching Out

Discussion Questions

1. In the course of the novel, Sal, a senior in high school, questions his identity and his place in the world. These are issues many teenagers face at this stage of life. What is it about this transitional period that invites so much self-reflection?

2. Sal has a strong relationship with his adopted father, Vicente, who imparts to him a sensitivity that Sal fears is at odds with his genetic makeup and a deep-rooted sense of anger he can’t shake. What are your thoughts about “nature versus nurture” in this context, and how do you think Sal’s adoption has affected his development?

3. Talk about Sal’s struggle to come to terms with his racial identity as a Caucasian boy living with an adopted family that is Mexican-American. How does the fact of his ethnic background affect his feelings toward his family and his feelings of inclusivity, and how does that evolve as the novel progresses?

4. Sal’s relationship with his best friend, Samantha, is unusual in YA literature, as they have a solid friendship with no romantic complications. What do you think has drawn these characters together, and what makes their relationship so solid?

5. Vicente faces prejudice in this novel, tied to both his sexuality and to his ethnicity. Talk about his reactions to these encounters (such as his conversation with Mr. Infante) and what his responses say about his character.

6. Sal’s relationship with Mima is particularly special. How do you think Mima’s words of wisdom to Sal shape his actions and his relationships with the other characters?

7. Sam’s relationship with her mother is one of the more contentious pairings in the novel. Talk about Sam’s complex feelings toward her mother, and how those feelings evolve as the novel unfolds.

8. When Vicente’s former boyfriend Marcos comes back into the picture, what is Sal’s reaction? Why does Sal struggle to accept Marcos, and what does Vicente’s approach to the situation say about his relationship with his son?

9. Sal’s friend Fito has his share of struggles in the novel, including being kicked out of his own house by his mother. Talk about each of the characters’ responses to Fito’s plight (Sal, Sam, Vicente, Marcos) and what it says about each of them.