Hot on the heels of receiving a Printz Medal AND Morris Award for Where Things Come Back in 2012, John Corey Whaley gives us Highly Illogical Behavior.  We received a copy of this ARC from our lovely friends at Inkwood Books and give you a sneak peek at this much buzzed about book after the jump.

From the book flap:

 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.

 

Overall:  Highly illogical behavior is a sneaky book.  It’s about life and how life can spring things on you, but it’s also about how one day after another, your life culminates into what it is at that very moment and the overwhelming feeling that may have for a teen, especially a possibly depressed, definitely agoraphobic teen. It’s about how your noblest intentions can hurt someone else and the ability to self-reflect, learn and having the humility to make things right.  It’s about what seems perfectly normal to you and probably seems completely illogical to the rest of the world.  It’s about looking at this frightening world and wondering if you’re equipped to handle it and finding the strength to get help.  It’s about shutting out the world and it still finding a way to weasel into the life you’ve created and dealing with your life not going exactly as planned.  Basically, it’s about becoming an adult and the terrifying notions that presents, especially when the darker, more uncontrollable forces of mental illness play a role.

While this book could have resulted in a heavy ‘issues’ book, John Corey Whaley instead gives us a charmingly geeky character study of a boy, his panic attacks, agoraphobia and the girl that tries to save him (but not in the way you’d think).   Overall, this quirky book elicited in me major empathy for those who suffer the crippling disease of agoraphobia and gave me a very heavy and enjoyable dose of Sci-Fi geek served on the side.

Judge a Book by its Cover:  Not only is the cover colorful (something I’m instantly attracted to), but it plays out as a very eye-catching mystery–a shaded character looking out towards a VW Bus, the SS Enterprise, a girl and a boy.  With all of this intrigue, I was sold!

Me Talk Pretty: Told in refreshingly and wickedly witty prose, this book could also be surprisingly poignant at times.  The writing had a way of creeping into my brain and not leaving for a few days.  Now, keep in mind that we had an unfinished ARC, but here are some of my favorite quotes:

“Why would he ever need to acknowledge his sexuality if he didn’t ever plan on leaving the house again?”

“Gossip works that way. It makes fools out of everyone except the source.”

“The older I get, the smaller my world gets.”

 

Audiobook Narration: While I didn’t have the chance to hear the audio book in its entirety, this snippet is the voice I heard inside my head when I read Solomon’s chapters.

 

 

He Said/She Said:  This book, told in alternating POV’s (Solomon & Lisa), is the perfect use of a He Said/She Said situation.  With the backstory and motivation of a secret psychologist attempting to assist her unwitting patient, there is a depth to their interactions which you wouldn’t have gotten out of the scenes otherwise.  It was a wise choice and really makes the flow of the story work so well.

Don’t Believe the Hype:  While this is my first novel by author Whaley, I found myself wondering several times throughout this novel why I hadn’t yet read Where Things Come Back. He’s the real deal and he’s instantly made himself an auto-buy author with this novel.

Open tab/Last call:  I will most definitely keep a bottle of champagne chilled for when Solomon decides to leave the house when he’s of age. 

Highly Illogical Behavior, 256 pages. Expected publication: May 10th 2016 by Dial Books.  You can purchase your copy here.

~Carmen

 

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