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Book Review – Highly Illogical Behavior

“Jealous of the crazy gay kid. That doesn’t sound right.”

“Hey, Sol,” she said, her tone getting serious for a second. “Those are two things about you out of a million. Don’t box yourself in.”

Oh boy. 

I fell hard for this book.

Very, very hard. 

Highly Illogical Behavior tells the story of a gay agoraphobe, Solomon Reed, and one of his adoring fans, Lisa Praytor. Lisa has her eyes set on a prestigious college psych scholarship, and thinks if she can “fix” the infamous Solomon Reed and live to tell the story, she’ll get it. But then Solomon falls in love with her boyfriend and the whole thing just goes on to weave an entirely complicated web, one that doesn’t really unravel at the end, but that’s okay, because books that deal with anxiety shouldn’t end on a perfect note as anxiety never really goes away. AND IT PISSES ME OFF WHEN BOOK CHARACTERS JUST MIRACULOUSLY HEAL.

As I said above. I really liked this book. 

I don’t know what it is. I didn’t even particularly like the the ending all that much, but I think that’s the point. Of course you read to, in essence, escape reality. But the thing is, this book was very down to earth. It had some pretty far-fetched moments here or there that were very real to the characters living the story, but the whole thing was quite realistic despite ITS unrealistic circumstances. 

HOWEVER, to some people out there, agoraphobia is a very real thing. Not leaving the house is their reality, and so to some of us this book is going to seem impossible, like a fairytale, but to others, it’s quite literally a look at their day-to-day circumstances. 

And I just think that’s cool. I think it’s cool to step into another reality that is possible, one you can learn from and, in my case, fall in love with. 

Maybe it’s because I’m a little obsessed with the main character, Solomon, and Lisa’s boyfriend, Clark. I will marry both of them, idgaf. 

I wasn’t a huge fan of Lisa. She grew on me, but she never got to me totally. She’s a completely self-obsessed character, and I would suppose in this story, despite her half goodish intentions, she’s the antagonist. Lisa is very go-getter, very one-track-minded, very do what you gotta do to get the best out of your circumstances. And I hate to say it, but I hate people like that. 

Bulldozers.

It’s tiring listening to them going on and on about how they’re not happy until they’re here. Like there is no point B, there is only point A. When you’re constantly fixated on this nonexistent future you can’t predict, you miss the goodness of the right here and right now.

It’s a very honest portrayal of a teenager with a shitty home life and the wherewithal to get the fuck outta dodge. I particularly liked how Clark called her out on it, because we couldn’t say anything to her as readers. So when Clark was like yo Lisa, stop, I breathed a serious sigh of relief. 

But she believed in herself maybe more than other people believed in God or the devil or Heaven or Hell.

She’ll maybe redeem herself at the end for you, but it’s not likely. You sort of grow to hate her as the pages go on, just as much as you sort of grow to love her. She was very hot and cold with me. 

Like, she basically only sees what she WANTS to see. That’s the thing. She makes a HUGE assumption in the book. HUGE. Practically detrimental. And she gets burned because of it. She’s so stuck in her own way and so trapped in her own mind, that you sort of start to wonder if Solomon is really the one in need of help. 

This book is supposed to be about Solomon, but I sort of feel like it was more about Lisa. Solomon wasn’t the one that needed to grow, it was Lisa. She needed to learn how to exist in a small world while Solomon needed to learn how to exist in a large world, and it’s really interesting how the two contradicted each other. 

She thinks getting out of their town via paper on the crazy gay agoraphobe is going to solve all her problems, but the world is only small because she makes it that way, because she’s so focused on point B and can’t see her boyfriend falling out of love with her, her friend growing up without her, her world getting bigger. 

I sort of started to believe in her, but then she always came back to remind me why I shouldn’t. Like her actions spoke volumes, but then she’d be talking to Clark after leaving Solomon’s and I’d go right back to wondering why she’s such a rotten human. 

I HATED THAT SHE NEVER TALKED ABOUT STAR TREK WITH SOLOMON AND CLARK OR EVEN TRIED TO UNDERSTAND IT. I HATED IT. LIKE THESE ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT PEOPLE IN YOUR LIFE: BOYFRIEND AND PROJECT. AT LEAST PRETEND TO GIVE A LITTLE BIT OF A FUCK.

“An hour is an eternity when you’re this in love.”

Solomon was such a precious character. He really was. He was kind and loving, funny and smart, innocent and curious. Totally nerdy. Totally paranoid. 

He didn’t do a ginormous amount of growing, but he did do a bit. Notable small stuff. Which is how mental illness usually goes. Which makes me love this book. Thank you, John Corey Whaley, for portraying mental illness the right way. 

Solomon had all the quirks. But I like how normal he was portrayed when John could have made him a total whack-job. I felt hopeful for him. And I felt sorry for him. And I felt, above all else, like I could relate to him. I get it, life is hard, and falling in love is harder. 

She was proud of him. And that was something very new. He knew how to be pitied and misunderstood, but being admired wasn’t in his wheelhouse quite yet. Though, it was certainly something he could get used to.

He felt it. It was small and it was complicated, but he felt it all the same. He wanted to follow them. He wanted to walk outside and follow them into the world.

And every time he got up and walked to a new part of the yard, Lisa watched him like he was an astronaut walking around on some distant planet, his every step further proof anything is possible.

I didn’t get into Solomon’s head as much as I would have liked, and I would have definitely preferred more insight into his illness. I don’t understand agoraphobia like I wish I did after reading this book, that’s why it leads me to believe that who I really read about was Lisa. 

She may have been trying to fix Solomon, but part of me thinks she was really trying to fix herself. In any case, there were two character arcs and I loved that. I love it when there are multiple people coming-of-age, it really gives me the feelings. 

The characters were just really honest. Clark had so many great moments, too. 

“Seriously, if they aren’t making fun of someone then they’re talking about whose girlfriend they want to bang.”

“Gross.”

“Yeah it is. And, look, I laugh sometimes. But then I feel like shit all day afterward. I’m not like them. And I don’t want to be.”

So raw and special, a really thoughtful look into the mind of a boy, which to most outsiders, never seems so vulnerable. I LOVED this moment. 

I ADORED the dialogue. Funny, quirky, and totally sincere. It was a gift, and I can tell it’s an art that took John Corey Whaley a while to master. I can’t imagine how much work it took to make it all so effortless and easy. I would bet every word was placed meticulously. 

My favorite scene for dialogue occurred when Clark was meeting Solomon for the first time. It was just funny because Clark gives it to him. I love that nobody REALLy takes it easy on Solomon even though he wants to be pitied. The kid gets made fun of more than anything else. 

“Do you believe in destiny?”

“Not really. But I like the idea of you believing in it.”

I was missing a lot of the actions and emotions and facial expressions and character descriptions though. That’s one of my hugest complaints. I didn’t feel like there was enough to make you feel like you could envision the book in your head. I wanted to be more understanding of Solomon’s world, but I never really found any clarity. 

Despite that, this was still a phenomenal story. 

The ending was both my favorite and least favorite part. I would have liked happy ever after, but I did get some beautiful lines, and y’all know how I feel about beautiful lines. 

Crazy people don’t know they’re crazy. And because he knows what makes him lost control, he can learn how to make his world bigger without being buried by it.

It’s like on Star Trek: The Next Generation, really. We’re just floating ins pace trying to figure out what it means to be human.

He was an astronaut without a suit, but he was still breathing.

GREATEST LAST LINE EVERRRRRRR! I’m sorry, I couldn’t help but quote it. I couldn’t help myself. It’s too good. 

Anyway, good read. I definitely recommend to fans of Becky Albertalli and Ned Vizzini. 

34/38

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