Highly Illogical Behavior
By: John Corey Whaley
Published: May 2016
Published By: Dial Books
Format Read: Hardcover
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary
16 year-old Solomon Reed hasn’t left his house in the three years since his very public breakdown in his middle school’s water fountain. The secluded routine he created for himself allows him to keep his panic attacks at a minimum and he is content. That was until Lisa Praytor and Clark Robbins suddenly appeared in his life. Unfortunately and unbeknownst to Solomon, Lisa’s intentions are more-so for her own benefit. The aspiring psychologist sees the “crazy fountain kid” as an opportunity to earn a full scholarship to one of the top colleges in the country. Lisa is determined to “fix” Solomon, no matter how immoral the approach may be.
Recently I have seen several Book Tuber’s mention John Corey Whaley’s Highly Illogical Behavior, but it wasn’t until I came across a copy at my local library that I paid much attention to it. I admit I picked it up on a whim, mostly due to the fact that it looked like a quick read. Little did I know that it would turn out to be one of the best books I’ve read in a long time.
Knowing of the serious mental illness subject matter this book touches on, I expected the tone of the writing to be somber. However I was pleasantly surprised to learn that it is much more light hearted than that and oftentimes comical.
“Solomon lived in the only world that would have him. And even though it was quiet and mundane and sometimes lonely, it never got out of control.” Pg 1.
As someone who has dealt with my fair share of mental illness myself, I found Solomon to be so relatable. Although his situation was far more severe than mine, I was still able to understand how he felt not being able to leave the house. The approach the author took with this character was interesting in that, Solomon was content with his situation. In his mind he had everything he needed, right there in his own home. It was his safe haven.
“This is how it always started. Everything would be fine and then a sudden sinking feeling would come over him like his chest was going to cave in. He could feel his heart bumping up against his rib cage, wanting out, quickening with every beat and then radiating down his arms and up to his temples..” Pg. 28
Another aspect of Solomon’s situation I was able to empathize with was the guilt he often felt. He felt guilty that there were many other people in this world who suffered more than he did. Personally I felt such a strong connection to this character. John Corey Whaley’s descriptions of panic attacks were spot on.
Lisa on the other hand, was an interesting character, but her ulterior motives were most definitely immoral. Thank goodness for the inclusion of her boyfriend Clark, who was another wonderful character and I enjoyed watching his friendship with Solomon grow.
I don’t think that I have ever read another book where I have noted so many different passages, that I relate to. I found myself re-reading parts over and over again. It was a great reading experience and one that wasn’t triggering in the least. Instead I took Solomon’s story as a pick me-up, one that I intend to revisit whenever I am in need.
I would recommend John Corey Whaley’s Highly Illogical Behavior to fans of young adult fiction that are looking for a novel that is both comical and reflective.