Home is a wonderful thing. It has all you ever really need in life. Who needs to venture outside, anyway? But what if it wasn’t your choice to have to stay at home? Would it be so great then? Highly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whaley depicts the life-changing time of a teenage agoraphobe and his two new friends.
For three years, Solomon has stayed at home. All the time. Having suffered from panic attacks that culminated in him taking his clothes off and laying down in the fountain at school, he’s stayed at home where he feels less anxiety. He can complete his coursework at home, his parents share his tastes and are pretty cool, and he can relax with books and TV all he wants. Lisa recalls the boy she saw jump in the fountain and has wanted to figure out why he did that. By chance, she ends up visiting a new dentist, Solomon’s mom, and soon situates herself into Solomon’s life so she can try to help him, while also helping her write a college admissions essay. Clark, Lisa’s boyfriend, shares many of the same passions as Solomon, such as Star Trek: The Next Generation, and slowly gets folded into Lisa’s attempts to help Solomon leave his house.
With good writing filled with contemporary culture references and sarcastic remarks, it’s easy to relate to the characters in the narrative–even if a little too easily. In dealing with mental illness, this novel does so with delicacy and humor suitable for the target audience; however, I was not at all fond of Lisa and her need to “fix” Solomon. I feel her behavior doesn’t send an appropriate message about people who are mentally ill, but I do understand why Lisa was presented in that manner as there are those who behave and think just like Lisa does.
Overall, I’d give it a 4 out of 5 stars.