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Highly Illogical Behavior Hardcover – May 10, 2016
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From School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—Solomon Reed, 16, has not left his house in three years. Regular panic attacks keep him from handling the outside. Yet he is a smart and resourceful teenager with a love for Star Trek, gratifying hobbies, and a supportive family. Solomon is being educated online and doesn't feel that any social life he might be missing is worth the mental anguish that daily life causes him to endure. However, he knows he can't live like this forever. Then Lisa Praytor, a vivacious and take-charge extrovert appears, wanting to be his friend. Lisa is convinced that she can treat Solomon's agoraphobia and get him outside. She is also convinced that the experience will help her write the best college essay and win a scholarship for a prominent psychology program. However, Lisa uncovers more than she expected as she and her boyfriend Clark get to know and grow close to the recluse. Sol's grandmother makes a grand gesture of building a backyard pool to encourage the boy's efforts to overcome his anxiety. What looks like a typical friendship story is blended with issues of trust, vulnerability, and identity. Solomon's agoraphobia is not the only thing that defines him, which speaks to the larger message about those living with mental illness. Each character has an authentic voice and temperament that feel realistic, and the alternating narratives capture the perspective of the bright, witty, and decidedly quirky protagonists. The spare writing makes this a taut, tender, and appealing read. VERDICT A logical choice for Whaley's fans, Trekkies, and sensitive readers of all stripes.—Briana Moore, School Library Journal
Now a School Library Journal Best Book of the Year!
“At a time when young adult literature is actively picking away at the stigma of mental illness, Whaley carves off a healthy chunk with style, sensitivity and humor. . . . ELECTRIFYING.”—The New York Times Book Review
“Tender and funny.”—People Magazine, Summer's Best Books of 2016
“Raw, funny, and unforgettable.”—Buzzfeed
“A charming, heartwarming, and profound affirmation of the importance of connection.”—The Huffington Post
“John Corey Whaley has never disappointed us before, and he carries on that tradition with his funny, heartfelt, and oh-so-JCW-style Highly Illogical Behavior.”—Bustle
*"Solomon's descriptions of his anxiety are achingly real..Readers will easily come to care about these bright, wonderfully nerdy, flawed characters."—Kirkus Reviews, starred review
"Printz Award–winner Whaley (Where Things Come Back) again tackles heavy, heady topics with a light touch, populating his perceptive and quick-witted story with endearing, believably flawed teens."—Publishers Weekly, starred review
"The alternating narratives capture the perspective of the bright, witty, and decidedly quirky protagonists...A logical choice for Whaley’s fans, Trekkies, and sensitive readers of all stripes."—School Library Journal, starred review
Praise for Noggin:
Noggin was a 2014 National Book Award Finalist, a 2015 Indies Choice Young Adult Honor book, and a Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2014!
“Noggin—outlandish as it is—has such wonderful resonance.”—The New York Times
“You can practically feel this book’s big, beautiful heart beating in your hands.”—Matthew Quick, New York Times bestselling author of The Silver Linings Playbook
“A winner of a book.”—A.S. King, author of Ask the Passengers and Reality Boy
“Noggin is everything a great book should be.”—Andrew Smith, author of Grasshopper Jungle
“The voice of Travis Coates is like the voice of Holden Caulfield—iconic and ageless.”—Holly Goldberg Sloan, New York Times bestselling author of Counting By 7s
*“A tour de force of imagination and empathy.”—Booklist, starred review
*“Will resonate with teens who feel the same frustration at being treated like kids and told to act like adults.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review
*“This insightful story explores the challenges of intimate relationships and managing expectations.” —Shelf Awareness, starred review
Praise for Where Things Come Back:
Where Things Come Back was a Printz Award winner, Morris Award winner, a Time Best Young Adult Book of All Time, and a Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2011!
“Beautifully and carefully wrought, this is a very fine book.”—Jenny Han, New York Times bestselling author of To All the Boys I've Loved Before
“Every now and then a book rises to the top. Where Things Come Back soars.”—Ellen Hopkins, New York Times bestselling author of the Crank Trilogy
“Beautifully written and wholly original.”—Ruta Sepetys, New York Times bestselling author of Between Shades of Grey
“It's a good story told remarkably well.”—Maggie Stiefvater, New York Times bestselling author of the Raven Boys series
* “In this darkly humorous debut, Whaley weaves two stories into a taut and well-constructed thriller.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review
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Top Customer Reviews
Solomon's former classmate, overachiever Lisa Praytor, who has always wondered what happened to Solomon after he left school, is desperate to leave her California town. When she discovers a scholarship that will give her a full ride to a university out of state, where she plans to major in psychology, she decides to apply. The only trouble is that she needs to write and submit an essay on her personal experience with mental illness. When she learns from Solomon's mother that her son lives at home, she becomes determined to get to know Solomon and cure his condition. At first, her plan works, and she even introduces her boyfriend Clark to Solomon, with whom he forms a friendship (since they have the same interest in science fiction among other things). However, when Solomon begins to have feelings for Clark, Lisa begins to suspect her boyfriend is really gay, and Clark decides to tell Solomon about the essay, things become far more complicated.
This book has three teen characters who are mostly believable and sympathetic even when they're doing the wrong thing. I liked the rapport that developed between the three, and the positive relationship Solomon had with his family. Although the pacing seemed rushed in places, I was impressed that the author didn't sugarcoat the effects of mental illness or the "recovery" process. Overall, I would recommend it to young adults looking for novels about teens with mental illness, especially ones with male protagonists.
Although the writing style was not personally to my taste, the book was a fast read, and I wanted to see if it redeemed itself. In terms of characters, I think I have said all that I can about the main character (Solomon) without giving anything away. I found his parents to be totally unbelievable, but they generally are in YA books, for the sake of convenience, if for no other reason. Though she has a small role, Lisa's mom seemed to me to have more depth than some of the more prominent characters. I did not find Lisa herself to be particularly convincing, especially in her contrived plan and determination to see it through. What senior in high school would do that, when she probably could have written a great essay about, say, her mom, or even herself. In most of her POV chapters, I could tell that a male author was writing from a female's perspective, and it just didn't work. I found myself most intrigued by Clark, perhaps because he did not have any POV chapters. It would have been illuminating, and I think would have made the narrative more cohesive, if he were given just one or two chapters, as there were a couple of aspects to his personality/behavior that were swept under the rug or not satisfactorily explained, in my opinion. I realize the story wasn't his story, but there were some loose ends at the end of the book as far as he was concerned.
So, after all of my criticism, why two stars instead of one? I do think the author did a good job of cultivating a relationship at least between Clark and Solomon, and perhaps even between Sol and Lisa. There were pop culture references and nerdy sorts of activities for them to bond over. The author handled the awkwardness of those first moments alone with someone you don't know well, or someone you are trying to impress, by instilling awkwardness into the dialogue. Considering how much time the two or three of them spent together, which had to be spelled out instead of glossed over, this aspect of the story was deftly handled.