Book Reviews

Review: Highly Illogical Behavior By John Corey Whaley


Published: May 10th 2016 by Dial Books

Source: Local Library

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Mental Illness

Synopsis: 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 how can she prove she deserves a spot there? 

Solomon is the answer.

Determined to “fix” Sol, Lisa thrusts herself into his life, introducing him to her charming boyfriend Clark and confiding her fears in him. Soon, all three teens are far closer than they thought they’d be, and when their facades fall down, their friendships threaten to collapse, as well.

Spoiler Free Review: 

After reading a few YA mental illness books, I noticed a common factor of romance taking over the plot and an inaccurate depiction of the mental illness. Obviously, I’m not referring to every young adult mental illness book out there, but there are quite a few, in my opinion. However, Highly Illogical Behavior is not on that list. It is on the list of books that depicts an accurate and relatable of agoraphobia, anxiety, and panic attacks. There is also a wonderful family dynamic, humor, and best of all, a beautiful friendship.

When it comes to writing styles, it’s a bit difficult to describe. The book is told through dual perspectives, switching from Solomon to Lisa. Unlike a few books I’ve read, you could easily distinguish the differences in their voices. As for the actual plot, it is pretty slow moving, but it reads very quickly. The whole  book takes place over the course of several months, so there was a lot of progression with each of the characters.

Before reading this book, I had no clue on what “agoraphobia” meant. Honestly, I initially  saw a phobia as an antic and nothing too serious, but it can become a real and serious mental illness. There isn’t just agoraphobia discussed, but anxiety as well. I really love how authors are coming out with books that deal with topics or illnesses aren’t discussed. I also found to be very relatable. Like Solomon, I am a nerd. But not only that, the anxiety the Sol faces hits close to home and even though he’s not real, it feels like he is and it’s nice to be able to resonate with him. I absolutely loved his character and he is my pure, sweet little cinnamon roll. No questions asked. (Well, Aang is still first.)

Another aspect I really enjoyed was the family dynamic in Sol’s family. I adored all of them, particularly the grandma. Not only did they give Sol endless support and love, but were all endearing and hilarious. Our next main character is ambitious Lisa Praytor. Personally, I saw her as a definite Hermione Granger. She works her butt off, gets straight A’s and is very hardworking. I will say she is not my favorite character, there were a few decisions she made that I could not agree with. Lisa did have a bit of character development, but I liked her more towards the end.

Then we have Clark, Lisa’s boyfriend and another precious cinnamon roll. I loved how even if Lisa had a boyfriend, the very little romance felt real and the book focuses more on the theme of friendship, which rarely happens in a YA contemporary. Frankly, I saw Lisa and Clark to have more of a friendship than a relationship. Either way, Clark is freaking adorable. The bond he has with Sol gave me all the warm and happy feels. It’s nice to see a sweet and respectful character like Clark. 

I did find the ending to be a bit rushed and things went by a little quickly. I also hated the bits of jealousy and teenage drama. Why can’t people have faith in their relationships? Though their teenagers, which kind of explains it. 

All in all, I loved this book. There are contemporaries that you really wish were more well done and then there are ones that end up becoming a beautiful story. This is that story.  

Rating: 4.25/5


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