Title: Highly Illogical Behavior
Author: John Corey Whaley
Published: May 10, 2016
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, LGBT
Goodreads Description: 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.
I can count how many books I have read about a protagonist with a mental illness on one hand. For that reason, I decided to pick up this book in order to diversify my reading. I also heard that it does a does a good job of respectfully portraying agoraphobia.
Whaley did a good job of inserting exposition as needed. I often get stumped and find myself skimming the beginning of books because the author unloaded too much information, but I didn’t feel that way with Highly Illogical Behavior. In addition to the exposition, the book presented information about agoraphobia in a way that didn’t disturb the book’s flow.
I appreciated how supportive Solomon’s parents were. Parents are often omitted from young adult books or sources of conflicts when they are included
(at least in most YA books I read). I think there needs to be more YA characters that communicate their problems to their parents instead of shutting them out. Solomon’s parents were so refreshingly understanding, and I loved that he was able to call them his friends.
Solomon also had a good relationship with his grandma which is something else I rarely read about. She gave him advice and motivated him to strive for more in his life. I loved how blunt she was and her sense of humor.
There was more representation than I was expecting. There was a great quote from the book that makes me want to push myself to pick up more diverse books:
“That’s what we do sometimes. We let people disappear. We want them to. If everyone just stays quiet and out of the way, then the rest of us can pretend everything’s fine. But everything is not fine.”
I was able to tell that Whaley did his research on agoraphobia so he could write an accurate portrayal. I knew next to nothing about this disorder before the book, so I’m pleased with what I know about it now.
This isn’t exactly something that I disliked, but I would like to add that I was wary of Lisa and her goal to “fix” Simon. I found it hard to like her at first because of her motives behind becoming Solomon’s friend.
I was happy that there was LGBT representation and the main character had good familial support. Mental illnesses can be a tricky topic to write about sensitively, but I think Whaley did a respectable job of it.