There has been a lot of hype around Highly Illogical Behaviour in the last few months on the internet. With the amount of videos i watched and book hauls that mentioned John Corey Whaley’s new novel, it was quite hard not to pick it up. It took me a little while to find a decently priced copy (for some reason, the release in the UK was very strange) but i found one, and i read it almost straight away.
Title: Highly Illogical Behaviour
Author: John Corey Whaley
Genre: YA, Mental Health, Contemporary, LGBTQ+
Publisher: Faber & Faber
Publication Date: 26th may 2016
Summary: Sixteen year old Solomon has agoraphobia. He hasn’t left his house in three years, which is fine by him. At home, he is the master of his own kingdom–even if his kingdom doesn’t extend outside of the house.
Ambitious Lisa desperately wants to go to a top tier psychiatry program. She’ll do anything to get in.
When Lisa finds out about Solomon’s solitary existence, she comes up with a plan sure to net her a scholarship: befriend Solomon. Treat his condition. And write a paper on her findings. To earn Solomon’s trust, Lisa begins letting him into her life, introducing him to her boyfriend Clark, and telling him her secrets. Soon, Solomon begins to open up and expand his universe. But all three teens have grown uncomfortably close, and when their facades fall down, their friendships threaten to collapse as well.
Solomon is an agoraphobic with an acute panic disorder which leaves him trapped inside his own home. Lisa is a hard working student who wants to get in to the top university in the country. In order to do that, she must write an essay about her experience with mental illness. So she enlists the friendship of Solomon.
I knew the basics about this novel when i went in to it, however i didn’t know the full story, or expect it to turn out as it did. It’s my first John Corey Whaley novel, so it took a few pages to get used to the dry, blunt writing style of his, but once i was in to it, i sped through the novel. I ended up really enjoying the way it was written, full of dry teenage humour.
The one thing i wasn’t expecting from this novel was to fall completely in love with the characters. Solomon himself is a loveable character, however Lisa and Clark were characters that really stood out to me. They were written so they genuinely felt like true highschoolers. They were very normal people in a very un-normal situation. I also love families in novels. The families of YA characters are always brilliantly written, this novel was no exception. Solomon’s parents, and especially grandmother, really brought the whole story together for me. I absolutely loved them.
One of the downsides to Highly Illogical Behaviour was that the ending seemed rushed. I got 30 pages away from the end and thought ‘no way will this be wrapped up’ and i was right, it was very rushed and then it was over. It felt like a lot to take in towards the end. Another small downside (for me) was that i don’t think the illness side of Solomon was handled particularly well. Recently i read Under Rose-Tainted Skies and it’s one of the best books i’ve read that represents mental illness and panic disorders. However Solomon’s illness seemed sporadic, and not always there. Some aspects were successful, and some were not.
Overall i did really enjoy Highly Illogical Behaviour. It was a really fast read that kept you interested and hooked all the way through, i found a few faults, but nothing that can’t be overlooked as a quick YA read. If you’ve never read any John Corey Whaley, this is a great place to start.