Highly Illogical Behaviour came highly (hahhhaha #ImHilarious) recommend and I’m so glad I tried it!
To say I was super nervous to read this is like an understatement. I WAS SUPER SUPER NERVOUS TO READ THIS. Why? For many reasons including: (A) the blurb says that one of the characters is attempting to “fix” the other which rings so many warning bells; (B) I read Noggin by this author and it was not my thing; oh and (C) I read another book about agoraphobia/social anxiety which was horrendous and mocking and uniformed and it MADE ME SO ANGRY. I’ve been avoiding S.A.D. books ever since. (Here is where I whisper that I have anxiety too, so the topic is personal for me.)
But you know what? THIS BOOK WAS EXCELLENT. I’m so pleased with it! It was so fun and addictive and complex and IT DOES NOT INVOLVE A “CURE FOR ALL”.
Bless this book.
- SOLOMON IS A PRECIOUS CINNAMON ROLL. The story is actually dual-narrated between him and Lisa (who’s #1 goal in life is to “fix” Solomon from his anxiety so she can write an epic essay about it and get into an epic college). And while I enjoyed Lisa’s chapters, I loved Solomon’s 10000 x more because, as I said, he is a preciously adorkable, funny, nerdy, and intelligent cinnamon roll.
- ACCURATE REPRESENTATION OF PANIC ATTACKS. Panic attacks are interesting creatures because they definitely differ from person to person. STILL. I thought these were very well written.
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. It vibrated him, making everything he saw bounce around like the world was just photographs being flipped in front of him. And with everything around him muffled, but still noisy, all he could do was focus on breathing and close his eyes and count.
- THE WHOLE BOOK IS SO VERY NERDY. Like think of all the nerdiness you can think of…and multiple it by SIX. That is this book. Solomon is obsessed with Star Trek (bless him) and board games (which he enjoys playing with his parents) and watching TV shows (this dude is so relatable).
- FRIENDSHIP IS THE FOCUS. Isn’t that wonderful? Can we shed tears of pure joy right now?! There is romance here, but mostly between Lisa and her boyfriend Clark. Solomon is gay and things do get angsty and border-line-triangle-shaped when he has a crush on Clark. So while I was mildly disappointed the last romantically-angsty 30% of the book was ALL THE ANGST, it wasn’t tedious. I adored how Lisa, Solomon and Clark just become epic nerdy bantering friends.
- CLARK, TOO, IS AMAZING. He’s introduced in a sort of jock-boyfriend stance but nooooooo, HE’S 100% A NERDY DORK TOO. I adore the way he and Solomon become friends. And remember this is a huge deal for Solomon, who hasn’t even spoken to people in 3+ years, and now he has Lisa and Clark.
“Of course Clark can come over without you.”
“I know, but I had to make sure. What if you secretly hate him and you’ve just been hanging out with him for me or something?”
“Is that the impression you get?”
“Yesterday, you guys spent two hours writing a theme song for a board game. I think you’re probably the best friend he’s ever had.”
- OTHER THINGS TO LOVE INTENSELY. Because yes I am writing a list within a list. #deal
- Solomon has amazing parents. Like give these folks YA Parent Of The Awesome award because they need it. They’re funny! And kind! Solomon genuinely loves hanging out with them. (I totally play board games with my parents too. #winning)
- Board game appreciation! This is cool okay?! They play chess, Skip-Bo, Canasta…LIKE THIS IS THE SONG OF MY PEOPLE.
- The writing is a brilliant mix of quirk and seriousness.Which is super hard to pull off. At times I got worried it was delving into “I am a quirky basket of rainbow lolz” which is the style of writing I detest. BUT NO! It managed to keep the fun tone plus add in serious and poignant moments.
- DESPITE WHAT THE BLURB INDICATES: IT IS NOT A “CURE” STORY. It treats it very very carefully! Solomon does make huge improvements with managing his anxiety when he gets friends. No, his friends don’t “cure” him. But you know what does help with anxiety? Support! People loving you for who you are. It’s very motivational and it helped give Solomon an extrap push. Does everything work out perfectly? No. Because #realistic
- I FELT VERY UNSYMPATHETIC TOWARDS LISA. She was, essentially, using Solomon to try and get her top marks for this essay. It’s a bit of a cliche storyline, honestly, and you knoooooooooooow it won’t end well. IT NEVER ENDS WELL. But I couldn’t fully relate to Lisa because she was … a jerk.
- SO MUCH ROMANTIC ANGST. Like I said, it mostly keeps things awesome, but then the friendship storyline gets all splintery while (A) Lisa makes dumb assumptions, (B) the boys go radio silent treatment which is just immature, (C) NO ONE COMMUNICATES, and (D) a lot less Star Trek is watched. What is this life.
- THE PACING WAS FAST. The book doesn’t even hit 300-pages, so I get that! It moved quickly! But for someone who hasn’t spoken to other people (outside his family) for 3+ years and suddenly has a meeting with Lisa….they were way less awkward than I would’ve imagined. Plus it kind of bothered me that, once Solomon had friends, all he could do was THINK ABOUT HIS AWESOME FRIENDS. Like, they were great! Good times! But it always bothers me when a person can’t be a person on their own.
I definitely recommend it!
And my recommendations are always golden, so don’t even doubt me. Just go read it. This book is short, sassy, pays tribute to Star Trek, and is not about swallowing rainbows or “fixing” yourself to please other people. Plus there was nerdom and pizza, I mean, WHAT IS NOT TO LOVE HERE.
THANK YOU TO ALLEN & UNWIN FOR THE REVIEW COPY. Highly Illogical Behaviour by John Corey Whaley was published August, 2016.
Sixteen year old Solomon has agoraphobia. He hasn’t left his house in three years, which is fine by him. At home, he is the master of his own kingdom–even if his kingdom doesn’t extend outside of the house.
Ambitious Lisa desperately wants to go to a top tier psychiatry program. She’ll do anything to get in.
When Lisa finds out about Solomon’s solitary existence, she comes up with a plan sure to net her a scholarship: Befriend Solomon. Treat his condition. And write a paper on her findings. To earn Solomon’s trust, Lisa begins letting him into her life, introducing him to her boyfriend Clark, and telling him her secrets. Soon, Solomon begins to open up and expand his universe. But all three teens have grown uncomfortably close, and when their facades fall down, their friendships threaten to collapse, as well.