On My Bookshelf: Highly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whaley

July 09, 2018

Highly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whaley, despite being focused on a serious anxiety disorder, was refreshingly funny. and full of charming characters. Solomon, despite not leaving the house in three years, is surprisingly social once he warms up and has a great sense of humor. Lisa, who befriends Solomon so that she'll have juicy material for her college essay, is an endearing perfectionist with a boyfriend, Clark, who turns out to share many of Solomon's interests, making him an even better fit as a friend. Read on for more of my review and ideas for classroom application.
The basic plot from Amazon: Sixteen-year-old Solomon has agoraphobia. He hasn't left his house in 3 years. Ambitious Lisa is desperate to get into a top-tier psychology program. And so when Lisa learns about Solomon, she decides to befriend him, cure him, and then write about it for her college application. To earn Solomon's trust, she introduces him to her boyfriend Clark, and starts to reveal her own secrets. But what started as an experiment leads to a real friendship, with all three growing close. But when the truth comes out, what erupts could destroy them all. Funny and heartwarming, Highly Illogical Behavior is a fascinating exploration of what makes us tick, and how the connections between us may be the most important things of all.

Why I liked it: Highly Illogical Behavior, despite being focused on a serious anxiety disorder, was refreshingly funny. The novel is full of charming characters. Solomon, despite not leaving the house in three years, is surprisingly social once he warms up and has a great sense of humor. His parents are kind and understanding despite the burden of having a child suffering from agoraphobia. Similarly Solomon's spunky grandmother is sensitive to Solomon's issues, but is his biggest cheerleader when it comes to overcoming his fears. Lisa, who befriends Solomon so that she'll have juicy material for her college essay, is an endearing perfectionist with a boyfriend, Clark, who turns out to share many of Solomon's interests, making him an even better fit as a friend.
Highly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whaley, despite being focused on a serious anxiety disorder, was refreshingly funny. and full of charming characters. Solomon, despite not leaving the house in three years, is surprisingly social once he warms up and has a great sense of humor. Lisa, who befriends Solomon so that she'll have juicy material for her college essay, is an endearing perfectionist with a boyfriend, Clark, who turns out to share many of Solomon's interests, making him an even better fit as a friend. Read on for more of my review and ideas for classroom application.

Though much of the novel is light, it is not without typical teenage issues. Lisa and Clark struggle with their relationship as the impact of college separation grows closer and closer. Solomon must deal with rejection and Lisa and her best friend fight and make up. There is also a scene that serves as a strong reminder that even if teenagers want to "fix" each others' problems, there are times when the help of a medical professional is needed.

Classroom application: There are some mature themes (sex and sexuality) and profanity, but nothing extreme, so this book is one I'd recommend to upper middle school and up. Although the characters are in high school, Solomon's fears are ones middle school students could relate to as well. Students who appreciate humor and books like Me and Earl and the Dying Girl will like this book too.

The novel could be offered as a choice in literature circles themed around mental illness, especially if you are looking for something that is on the lighter side (you can find some other suggestions, most of them not so light, here).

If you are interested in purchasing a copy of Highly Illogical Behavior for yourself, you can find it on Amazon here.

Note: The Literary Maven is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

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