Hey nerdlings. Today I’m here with two reviews. Yes TWO! And both of them are by the wonderful Bejamine Alire Saenz. Man this guy’s titles are a stinkin’ mouthful. Like say those titles together three times fast. You’re stuttering, don’t lie. Both of these books were pretty awesome for me. I didn’t read them in publication order due to the second one being available first. But I did listen to BOTH on audio so I’ll review both the story and the audio. Let us begin.
The Inexplicable Logic Of My Life
Saenz story telling is very character based. There isn’t a lot of action happening. Mostly he is using his wide vocabulary and his beautiful way with words to tell you story about relationships and people interacting. With that being said, there isn’t a lot I can say about the plot without ruining half the book. Basically it’s about this boy named Sal, and his two friendships with Sam and Fito. All three are dealing with some heavy grief and they experience it in different ways. Sanez writing explores parent child relationships and how different parenting styles effect your child. He talks about what really makes your parent your Father or Mother. And he does so with simple yet elegant language. It truly touched my heart.
Obviously the characters in this story were a big deal. I mean they ARE the story. We have a very diverse cast from Hispanic Americans to gay sexualities. So it was cool to see a nonwhite crew. I loved Sal’s relationship with his father and how he was so open with his dad. It was in such contrast to the way Sam spoke with her mother and the way Fito’s mother treated him.
Note that this is not a YA romance. It is purely about friendship and familial relationships. It was refreshing to not have love be the center of the story and instead see these raw and sincere friendships.
Finally, let me talk about the audio. This book was narrated by Robbie Daymond. Daymond is known for doing voices for cartoons and video games. I really enjoyed listening to him narrate this book and thought he did a wonderful job. His voice was soft and fluid and just lent it self to storytelling pretty well.
I highly recommend this one if you are down for a great character driven story about friends and grief. Though don’t worry, it’s not tragedy porn.
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe
This is another very character based style of story telling. Aristotle narrates his life over the course of a year and three months focusing on his friendship with Dante. I went into this one expecting a love story. But the love story didn’t happen until the last 15% of the book. I think if I’d known going into it that the book was mostly about Aristotle and Dante’s friendship and daily life then I would have enjoyed this one more.
But there were plenty of stuff I did enjoy though. Once again I really liked the parental relationships in this book. Both Ari and Dante’s parents cared about their kids and wanted to do what was right by them. Both sets of parents were flawed and would admit when they made a mistake. Their love for their children was so genuine. I also liked that once again other familial relationships were explore. From Ari’s great aunt in Arizona to his brother that is in prison. These kids had other family members that were effecting their lives in positive and negative ways.
For the most part I liked Ari and Dante’s friendship. I could have lived without the romance in this story actually because I was enjoying the friendship so much. They learn to confide in each other and trust the other with their life struggles. They learn how to laugh and just be a friend. I didn’t like that Dante kind of forced Ari to kiss him. But it wasn’t so bad that I hated the book or anything. I just thought it wasn’t right of Dante to do that.
On a final note I’ll say I didn’t find any of Dante and Aristotle’s scenes together romantic up until the end. Like I saw nothing romantic about anything they were doing. So I’m still a little confused that people recommend this as one of their favorite LGBT romances.
Go into this book expecting an awesome friendship and those needs with be met.