“Highly Illogical Behavior” Book Review

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Priya Gregerson

“Highly Illogical Behavior” by John Corey Whaley, published 2016.

Priya Gregerson, Co-Editor, Staff Reporter

Everyone has felt that chest pain. That pain that feels like your lungs are constricting, like your pulse is in overdrive. Everyone knows that burning cheek, sweaty feeling. It’s awful, and many people look for professional help with this anxiety. But for some, the thought of getting help from anyone that’s not living in their home is frightening and infeasible in their minds. Written by John Corey Whaley, published in 2016, “Highly Illogical Behavior” is about a boy called Solomon Reed, a teenager who we find has an extreme case of agoraphobia causing him to be house-ridden. Lisa Praytor, a go-getter and intense teen, sparks an interest in Solomon after brainstorming what she would do for her college admissions essay. 

The story begins with Lisa as she infiltrates her way into the family home through Solomon’s mother Valerie, who also happens to be Lisa’s dentist. Lisa and Sol begin to cultivate a friendship, something Solomon, in particular, has been missing since middle school, which was three years ago. They’re two unalikes that like each other… platonically of course. Solomon opens up to Lisa more than he’s opened up to any other person. One day he comes out to her as gay, something he’s never told anyone, not even his family. While this is happening, Lisa’s boyfriend Clark is skeptical of the two’s developing relationship but stands by as Lisa continues to visit Solomon. In the late spring of their senior year, Lisa introduces Solomon to Clark and the two hit it off almost immediately. While Lisa is away, counseling at a summer camp, Clark and Solomon continue to fraternize and gossip spreads Lisa’s way that the two boys are more than just friends.

I would give this novel, “Highly Illogical Behavior,” a rating of four stars because of the predictability that comes with each page. Also, I found Lisa, the co-protagonist, to be unlikeable in a sense that she’s pushy and almost aggressive when it comes to intimacy between Clark and herself. I would like to think highly of her, but it does come across as a bit strange. 

I will say though, is that I found this book to flow fairly smoothly. Each chapter switches perspective from Lisa to Solomon, giving the read a fresh, crisp feeling. In a sense, the predictability may actually be enjoyed and preferred by many because of its undemanding and straightforward transitions within the plot. What ultimately makes up for the lost star is the character depth this book bears. After having a book club discussion with fellow classmates, I came to find there is so much beneath the surface in this story, just so much to dig at. If you’re one to pick up ‘Easter eggs’ in books and movies, this book should be at the top of your reading list.