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Highly Illogical Behavior

Review

Highly Illogical Behavior

Solomon Reed has not left his house in three years, not since stripping down to his boxers his 8th grade year and slowly lowering himself into the school fountain. Now he has panic attacks almost daily at even the thought of venturing into the outside world.

Enter Lisa Praytor, a straight-A, type-A incoming senior who went to school with Solomon and witnessed his descent into the fountain. Now, she wants to get into the second best psychology program in the nation, but to receive a full scholarship, she needs to write an essay about her “personal experience with mental illness.”

Enter Solomon.

"Each of John Corey Whaley’s novels has this kind of substance and realness that completely sets them apart from all other books on the market. HIGHLY ILLOGICAL BEHAVIOR is, overall, a heartwarming and beautiful coming-of-age story that could appeal to many age groups."

With the help of Solomon’s mom, Lisa manages to get a letter to Solomon asking to be his friend. He is skeptical at first, but eventually agrees to let her come over and try to be “friends,” something Solomon has not experienced in a long time. Over the course of the summer, Solomon, Lisa and her charming boyfriend, Clark, grow closer than Solomon --- and Lisa --- could have ever imagined. But when Clark urges Lisa to tell Solomon the truth about the real reason she reached out to him, it puts the gang’s whole friendship at risk. Can Solomon ever forgive them, the first friends he has had in the past three years (besides his parents, grandma and the pizza man)? Can their friendship be salvaged? Will Solomon ever be the same --- for better or for worse?

From the author of 2012 Printz award-winning novel WHERE THINGS COME BACK and the 2014 National Book Award finalist NOGGIN comes a beautiful coming-of-age story about finding friends, finding yourself and pushing your own limits.

John Corey Whaley has done it again. I have now read all three of his books and am amazed by how each one individually affects me in such a monumental way. They make me think, cry, laugh and smile. Mostly, though, they open my eyes to new perspectives and new voices that I have never met or read about before. Each novel has such a distinct and clear-as-a-bell narrative that I can definitely see myself rereading all of his books in the future.

The main things I loved about HIGHLY ILLOGICAL BEHAVIOR were the characters and their dialogue. Sometimes I felt like I was listening in on other people’s conversations --- that’s how real the dialogue felt. The characters were all real and flawed people just trying to figure themselves and the world out --- even the adults. I have to say my favorite character was his Solomon’s brutally honest grandmother, though. She was hilarious. This novel has a very interesting narrative, too. It was third person omniscient, and the narrator reminded me a bit of the newest film version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Sometimes he would go off on a tangent about what makes Solomon’s parents tick or what his Grandma likes to do. I don’t know if that makes sense, but read the book. Maybe you’ll feel the same!

Another thing I liked about this novel is all the important questions it made me consider, such as: Why do people think they know what’s best for other people? Can people truly “fix” others? Do those people even need to be fixed? How do you help someone who doesn’t want to be helped? Each of John Corey Whaley’s novels has this kind of substance and realness that completely sets them apart from all other books on the market.

Last of all, this novel needs to be a movie. I can see it so clearly in my mind and I want it to happen sooner rather than alter. Someone call up Hollywood and have them call John! HIGHLY ILLOGICAL BEHAVIOR is, overall, a heartwarming and beautiful coming-of-age story that could appeal to many age groups. It includes universal themes of love, acceptance and what it truly means to be a friend in a non-stop world; perfect for fans of John’s other novels and anything by Andrew Smith.

Reviewed by Bryn D., Teen Board Member on May 12, 2016

Highly Illogical Behavior
by John Corey Whaley