Highly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whaley is the kind of book that makes me want to get on a rooftop and scream about how much I love it (but since that sounds dangerous, I’ll just gush about it here in my review). Highly Illogical Behavior is told in dual perspectives and it follows a 16 year old boy named Solomon who suffers from panic induced agoraphobia and 17 year old Lisa who is determined to cure him and write a brilliant essay about her experience so she can get into college and move far away from Upland, California. Lisa remembers Solomon from middle school when he had the final incident that led to him living inside his parents house without being able to go outside (not even his backyard, driveway or open garage) for the past three years. She reaches out to him “by chance” and soon become a fixture in his life.
I instantly fell in love with Solomon. He’s a Star Trek obsessed sarcastic teenager who enjoys playing Munchkin, so yeah, his character immediately filled up some of my heart space. I love that while Solomon struggles with mental illness, a reader would never be able to use that as his main identifying characteristic. He is so much more than a kid who’s afraid to go outside. He’s a friendly and thoughtful person and his sense of humor, including the ability to make fun of himself, just adds to his charm. I actually found Lisa to be less sane than Solomon but I still had a soft spot for her. I don’t think her decision making is at its peak in this novel but her passion and determination are qualities I always admire in people. Then there’s Clark, who’s the quintessential good / nice guy. He seems a little lost about his own future and apathetic toward his fellow Water Polo teammates since all they care about is hooking up with girls while he’s respectful of his relationship with Lisa. Lisa inevitably introduces Clark to Solomon and we all know the saying “three’s a crowd.” Their relationship becomes complex in the most interesting ways but the tone of the novel remains the same. Dinners with Solomon’s equally funny parents and his firecracker of a grandmother help lighten the mood when things get heavy but they never take away from the issues present.
Final Thoughts: Highly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whaley is a must read for everyone. It’s impossible to judge how mental illness is portrayed because it effects everyone afflicted with it differently so while I cannot say whether it is accurate or not, I can say that to someone like me who has low level anxiety, it felt real. I’m just so utterly charmed by these characters and I’m amazed at how Whaley is able to tell such a full and satisfying story in such a short number of pages. Normally I am bothered by open endings but in this case I think it’s the right choice. Solomon, Lisa and Clark have so much life ahead of them to evolve and change and grow into who they’ll ultimately be. This book gets all the thumbs up and I sincerely hope you’ll consider checking it out.
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 is ambition alone enough to get her in?
Determined to “fix” Sol, Lisa steps into his world, along with her charming boyfriend, Clark, and soon the three form an unexpected bond. But, as Lisa learns more about Sol and he and Clark grow closer and closer, the walls they’ve built around themselves start to collapse and their friendships threaten to do the same. (via Goodreads)