Author: John Corey Whaley
Info: Dial Books, copyright 2016, 256 pages
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 the same.
John Corey Whaley is really growing on me. I enjoyed Where Things Come Back, despite the feeling like he was really trying to tell me something that I just wasn't grasping. And Noggin was interesting and thoughtful. But he hit it out of the park with Highly Illogical Behavior. There was an intensity that left me nervous for the better part of the book, and it was an intensity I hadn't planned on feeling.
Simple premise. Solomon is afraid to step outdoors. The very thought leaves him crippled by panic attacks. Lisa wants out of her sleepy town. She dreams of becoming a psychologist, eager to enter a profession where she can help people. When the college she wants to attend requires an essay about her personal relationship with mental illness, Lisa decides to take Solomon on as a case study. If she can get him to take the giant leap outside, surely she would be a shoe-in for a full-tuition scholarship.
Of course Lisa doesn't tell Solomon about the essay. Of course they become friends and things get complicated.
And then the story becomes beautiful. Solomon, Lisa, and her boyfriend Clark are all lost, and flawed, and searching for something. They're teenagers that just happen to stumble upon a friendship that will define who they become. They are far from perfect, but they are forgiving and genuine. And I adored them all. Solomon with his quick wit. Lisa with her ambition. And Clark with his kindness and gentility. They were all kind of awesome.
Also awesome...Solomon's parents and grandmother. I mentioned earlier this week that I loved Howard from Love & Gelato for being a cool, supportive adult. Well, these three adults gave him a run for his money. Seriously, there son/grandson is a recluse. They have every reason to be angry and frustrated. But they've found humor in the situation and they love their son/grandson unconditionally. They are seriously awesome.
And the finale. I don't want to give it away, but it's very Breakfast Club. Can't really ask for more than that.
Not too heavy, not too angsty, but full of heart. A great contemporary read, so please read it!