I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Highly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whaley
Also by this author: Noggin
Published by Penguin on May 10th 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Social Themes, Friendship, Depression & Mental Illness, LGBT
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Teen and adult fans of All The Bright Places, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, and Everything, Everything will adore this quirky story of coming-of-age, coming out, friendship, love...and agoraphobia. Sixteen-year-old Solomon is agoraphobic. He hasn't left the house in three years, which is fine by him.
Ambitious Lisa desperately wants to get into the second-best psychology program for college (she's being realistic). But how can she prove she deserves a spot there?
Solomon is the answer.
Determined to "fix" Sol, Lisa thrusts herself into his life, introducing him to her charming boyfriend Clark and confiding her fears in him. Soon, all three teens are far closer than they thought they'd be, and when their facades fall down, their friendships threaten to collapse, as well.
A hilarious and heartwarming coming-of-age perfect for readers of Matthew Quick and Rainbow Rowell, Highly Illogical Behavior showcases the different ways in which we hide ourselves from the world--and the ways in which love, tragedy, and the need for connection may be the only things to bring us back into the light.
Highly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whaley is another of his quietly brilliant books that completely nails characterization. Where Things Come Back and Noggin are both intelligently written reads that I loved, so my expectations for Highly Illogical Behavior were quite large. Thankfully, Whaley’s latest absolutely smashes expectations. This book provides a human look at mental illness and how we need to treat those who have mental illness as people first.
Highly Illogical Behavior is a story told in alternating chapters between two main characters. There is Solomon who no longer goes to school after he has a panic attack that lead to him going into a fountain out of the blue in front of the entire school. Solomon is agoraphobic which plays a big role in his interactions with others. There is Lisa who aspires to leave her California town and become a person who has a doctorate in psychology.
Lisa is applying early decision to the school with the second best psychology program in the nation. She is hopeful that she will attain a scholarship based upon an essay about her experience with mental illness. The only problem is that she has no experience with mental illness, so she remembers Solomon and after some light stalking, decides to take him on as a project. What could possibly go wrong?
I did not entirely think I would be able to understand and relate to Solomon or really connect with him. I mean, sure there are days where I dread leaving the house but I am not in any way shape or form agoraphobic. Yet, reading about Solomon’s interactions with his parents and his grandmother made me really feel for him. I hadn’t really considered what it would be like to have panic attacks every time I leave the house. I hadn’t considered how hard it would be to maintain friendships when you don’t go to school or go anywhere. However, Solomon is more than his diagnoses. He is calmed by water. He loves Star Trek. He seems to be a genuinely good person.
I get the impression that Lisa is a character you could either take or leave. Personally, she won me over in the end. Her friendship with Solomon originally starts with hidden motives, but she comes to really relish him as a person. I thought her drive to get out of her town and make something of herself at all costs was a little bit admirable. I did think she was a bit misguided and insensitive at times and did not make the right choices, but who among us is perfect — even as adults?
John Corey Whaley does a superb job detailing the intricacies of friendship in Highly Illogical Behavior. The budding friendship between Solomon and Lisa and also Lisa’s boyfriend Clark is not always easy and smooth and perfect. In fact, it is a friendship they have to work at — especially when a large issue arises. However, I love that for the most part they all accept each other – flaws and all. Highly Illogical Behavior was a highly engaging read and is easily a single sitting sort of book. I thought it treated mental illness in a sensitive manner.
Other reviews of Highly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whaley:
Lili’s Reflections – “I have absolutely no complaints about this book”
Quite The Novel Idea – “I enjoyed this book so much that I was okay with not being at peace.”
Once Upon A Twilight – “From the first page to the last I was sucked in”
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