Friday, March 10, 2017

Review: The Inexplicable Logic of My Life

The Inexplicable Logic of My Life
by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publication date: March 7, 2017
Published by: Clarion Books
eARC, 464 pages
My rating: 5/5 ★

Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy
in exchange for an honest review.

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.
Suddenly Sal is throwing punches, questioning everything, and discovering that he no longer knows who he really is—but if Sal’s not who he thought he was, who is he?

The Inexplicable Logic of My Life is an all around beautiful story about about grief, loss and getting to know oneself, but also the value of friendship and family through it all. After how much I loved Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz, this book had a lot to live up to, and I am happy to say that it did not disappoint.

First of all, the writing. It is beautiful. The way Benjamin Alire Saenz writes seems very matter-of-fact and like there's not much emotion there, with very short sentences and chapters. And while you would expect to feel totally detached from the characters and the story because of it, that's not true at all. I teared up multiple times while reading this because the writing is so raw and somehow makes up for the lack of emotion in describing by making the reader feel all the emotions twice as heavily. I honestly can't explain it, but it is wonderful.

Then there are the characters. The friendship between our protagonist, Salvador, and his best friend Samantha is one of my favorite I've ever read about. They have this incredibly close connection, and the way they talk with each other and treat each other is often hilarious but also so honest and heart-warming. It is clear in every single one of their actions how deeply they care for each other and it was wonderful to see them support each other throughout the many challenges they faced throughout this book. 

There is also Salvador's other friend, Fito, who is on his own already an incredibly complex and unique character. Fito had a lot to deal with in his life, and his friendship with Salvador gets closer and closer throughout this book, and I'm almost tempted to say that I liked it even more than what Salvador had with Samantha. Because as opposed to Salvador and Samantha having been very close all their lives, we actually get to follow the friendship between Salvador and Fito develop throughout the book, so we basically get two views on friendship, which was amazing. If for no other reason, you should absolutely read this book for the amazing portrayal of friendship.

But of course, there is also the family aspect. Salvador lives with his gay Mexican adoptive father and has a very close relationship with both him and his grandmother. There are also quite a few aunts and uncles, and altogether they make this big, loving family that was just pretty amazing to read about. Salvador's struggles in this regard when it comes to feeling like he belongs or accepting changes in the life he knows were very relatable. Even though his happy family life was in stark contrast to other people's situations portrayed throughout the book, he still had issues to work through.

Overall, this book was just incredibly beautiful. I 100% recommend it because of the friendships, the family dynamics and the beautiful writing. There is, however, not much plot. We mostly just follow Salvador's daily life while he works through his issues. But I still loved it. There was so much going on on the inside that there was no need for epic adventurous tales. 

Friday, March 3, 2017

February 2017 Wrap-Up

February has been an amazing reading month for me, so please prepare for a long post. It's been a long time since I read this many books in a month, and on top of that I loved almost all the books I picked up. But without further ado, let's get into the wrap-up.

Books I Read

I read 11 books in February, which surprised me quite a bit when I went back and counted them. For a change, this month didn't go by as quickly as the months usually seem to, and as a result, I feel like the beginning of the month (and with it the first books I read this month) was ages ago. So here's what I read:

  • Infini (Aerial Etherial #2) by Krista and Becca Ritchie, 4/5 ★
  • This book didn't disappoint, and I ended up enjoying it about as much as I did the first book. I love the family dynamics and the circus atmosphere in both of the Aerial Etherial books, but I will say that the romance in this one didn't really pull me in. I didn't feel for Luka and Baylee as much as I could have, but for all the other aspects of the story, I still loved this book and I really hope there will be another one in this series (preferably about Dimitri). 

  • The Hook Up (Game On #1) by Kristen Callihan, DNF at 15%
  • I decided to give up on this one very early on because it just wasn't for me. The characters and the story were so one-dimensional, and it just wasn't worth it to push through in my opinion. 

  • Next to Never (Fall Away #4.5) by Penelope Douglas, 3/5 
  • This was a little disappointing as I went into it expecting it to be something different. It's definitely my own fault as reading the synopsis would have cleared up my misconception. But still, this story felt a little unnecessary. I'm honestly not sure whether I really want to read the future books in this series. Somehow, seeing my beloved characters of the previous books as (very controlling) parents didn't really work for me. 

  • Our Chemical Hearts by Krystal Sutherland, 5/5 
  • This book was a very positive surprise for me. It dealt with a lot of different aspects in unique ways and was overall such a well written and thought out book. I wrote a full review here in case you are interested in more of my thoughts. 

  • Six of Crows (Six of Crows #1) by Leigh Bardugo, 5/5 
  • The hype surrounding this book was humongous, and I was so happy to see the book totally live up to it. My favorite part of this story are of course the characters, each so unique and human that you can't help but fall in love with them and their quest. I also adored Leigh Bardugo's writing in this one and there were so many quotable quotes that I couldn't help but write down and hope that someone someday makes fan art that I can hang on my walls of all of them. 

  • Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows #2) by Leigh Bardugo, 5/5 
  • Other than the fact that I would have needed a LOT of epilogue, I loved this book just as much as the first. I don't even know what else to say other than this series has a special place in my heart and I will definitely want to revisit it again and again. I still think about it a lot and it gives me all the warm fuzzies. 

  • The Year We Fell Down (The Ivy Years #1) by Sarina Bowen, 4/5 
  • After finishing an epic fantasy series, I often feel the need to pick up New Adult books as they are quick and easy to read. In this case, I was lucky enough to pick one that I really enjoyed and didn't make me roll my eyes once (which I don't think has ever happened before with a NA book). Overall, this was very well written, and to my delight, there was almost no drama at all which is always so refreshing with this genre. 

  • The Year We Hid Away (The Ivy Years #2) by Sarina Bowen, 2.5/5 
  • As always when I discover a new NA series that I really enjoy, I basically have to binge-read the whole thing. This time, unfortunately, the second book wasn't as good as the first, mostly because it featured a lot more of that drama that I was so glad was missing from the first book. But still: very likable characters and good chemistry. But what also really bothered me is how Scarlet's situation regarding her father's trial etc. was portrayed. There was such a great opportunity to speak on a topic I have never heard about before in books, and instead of actually exploring it, the author seemed to just take the easy way out. 

  • Blonde Date (The Ivy Years #2.5) by Sarina Bowen, 4/5 
  • This was a fun and cute novella, and I ended up enjoying it a lot more than I thought I would. Andrew was such sweetheart and I couldn't help but root for him. 

  • The Understatement of the Year (The Ivy Years #3) by Sarina Bowen, 4/5 
  • This book portrayed the topic of coming out really well in my opinion. I've read a few LGBT books before, but this one was different from all of those, and I really appreciated Sarina Bowen's take on this topic. This is still a NA book, and I think the author managed to stay within that genre really well while also making the story meaningful (which is not something I usually expect from New Adult books). 

  • A Gathering of Shadows (Shades of Magic #2) by V.E. Schwab, reread
  • I reread this one in preparation for A Conjuring of Light (which I have just finished and I basically died of awesomeness). I wrote a review for it the first time I read it, which you can find here. My thoughts are mainly the same, namely that this book is perfection and you need to read it. 

  • Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (Harry Potter #1) by J.K. Rowling, reread
  • This was also a reread for me, but this time (and I'm actually a little embarrassed to say this) I read it to my boyfriend over Skype. That's probably the cheesiest thing we have ever done, but I would do anything to get him to read, so no regrets. 

New Books

So while I did read a lot of books in February, I also got almost as many new books, which kind of defeats the purpose with regard to lowering my TBR. But what can you do? At least, most of these are books I also already read this month.

That's it! What did you read this month?