Highly Illogical Behavior
by John Corey Whaley.
Three years ago, agoraphobic Solomon had the most massive panic attack of his life while at school. He hasn’t left his house since- not even to the backyard. And that’s fine with him. It’s a controlled environment, he knows what to expect, and he has everything he needs. Except, maybe, a friend. Lisa, searching for essay ideas for entry to a top psychology program, suddenly remembers the boy from school who ended up near catatonic in the fountain. Determined to find him and fix him, she embarks on a mission to become his friend with the reluctant help of her boyfriend Clark. None of the three are prepared for how close they all become, or for what happens when their carefully constructed parameters and plans fall apart.
There are so many ways this book could’ve gone wrong- it could have felt gimmicky, or uninformed, or message-y. I’m happy to say it avoided all of those. This story was so well done. The POV alternates between Solomon and Lisa, both of whom have a lot going on underneath the surface. I have never had to deal with anxiety on that level, but the depiction of Solomon’s anxiety and the logic he uses to deal with it felt real. The author managed to portray Solomon with empathy and humor, without making him an object of pity. That is a hard line to walk. Lisa, while being somewhat of a teenage Machiavelli, nonetheless had good intentions. Despite the lies and her other motivations, she does genuinely end up caring for Solomon and being good for him. Clark was a surprise, in a good way. He was much different than early descriptions in the book would lead you to expect. The banter and growth of friendship between the three felt natural, and was fun the read.
They are all still teenagers, so you do get some teenage drama, but it’s not the usual sort. A lot of the drama plays out in their heads, rather than in reality. And while it seemed there was going to be a love triangle situation, it kind of quashed itself before getting off the ground, which was refreshing for YA. I liked where the book ended, with things broken and slowly getting pieced back together, rather than all patched up and back to normal. I did not like the afterward included at the end- that was the only part that felt message-y to me.
But overall, this was just a wonderful read. I finished it in one sitting, in an evening. It’s a quick read, but packs a lot of quality. If you’re looking for your next YA read, give this a try- it’ll be out in a few days on May 10th.
I give it 4.5/5 stars.
I received an advanced reading copy (ARC) of this book from Penguin Random House First Reads in exchange for an honest review.