C.G. Drews's Reviews > Highly Illogical Behavior

Highly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whaley
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really liked it
bookshelves: contemporary, mental-illness, read-2016, young-adult

To say I was super nervous to read this is like an understatement. I WAS SUPER SUPER NERVOUS TO READ THIS. Why? Because (A) anxiety is a very complex topic to get right, and (B) the blurb says that one of the characters is attempt to "fix" the other which nope nope nope, and (C) I read Noggin by this author and was not impressed....oh and (D) I read another book about agoraphobia which was horrendous and mocking and it just kind of scared me. (I suppose here is where I also say that I, too, have a social anxiety disorder.) But you know what? THIS BOOK WAS VERY VERY GOOD. I'm so pleased with it! It was so fun to read and I seriously could not put it down. It has complex characters, it's hilarious, and IT DOES NOT END WITH A "CURE FOR ALL".

Bless this book. Bless it's cover. Bless the ink it was printed with. Bless the trees that died to give it life. Bless the author for representing social anxiety, panic attacks, and agoraphobia so so well.

L I K E S:

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.
See, Solomon is (A) funny, (B) very aware of his limitations, (C) relatable, and (D) adorable, and (E) intelligent. I love this guy, omg.
It had such accurate representation of panic attacks. Panic attacks are interesting because they definitely differ from person to person. STILL. I thought they were well written and accurate and I really felt for Solomon and omg I just wanted to tell him "I GET YOU, DUDE, IT'S A PITY YOU AREN'T REAL BECAUSE YOU'RE RELATABLE". So that's fun.
It is so SO 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 he's a complete adorkable geek.
Also the book focuses on friendship. There is romance here, but mostly between Lisa and her boyfriend Clark. Solomon is gay and things do get tangled when he has a crush on Clark, but I didn't feel like the story dissolved into angst. It did get angsty. But it didn't overwhelm things, and that pleases me greatly. I like that the characters and emotions and friendship/relationship dynamics were complex!
CLARK WAS, OF COURSE, AMAZING. I thought he'd be the Jock-boyfriend of Lisa but noooo he's a complete adorkable nerd too. And the way he and Solomon just become best friends is GLORIOUS.
Solomon has the BEST parents. They're just as funny, nerdy and dorky as him. Like I'm talking 10/10 parent rating here, omg. Plus Solomon genuinely likes spending time with him. Which is adorable and, ahem, parents are kind of awesome to hang out with okay????? NOT EVEN ASHAMED. (I totally play board games with my parents too. #winning)
Board game appreciation! This is so cool okay?! 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 actually 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. Does everything work out perfectly? No. Because #realistic
I couldn't put it down. And that's saying something, because lately I've been struggling to finish books. This one just stoooole my heart. It was SO GLORIOUS.

D I S L I K E S:

• I mean, Lisa was a jerk.... Which the book acknowledges! But she she truly was. This made me feel very unsympathetic for her the whole time, unfortunately.
• It doesn't get TOO angsty at the end...but it still goes that direction. Just like all the luuuurve questions, with Lisa getting her knickers in a twist, and then the boys going radio silent and ARGH. It was frustrating.
The pacing was rather fast. Not off? Just very fast. Lisa and Solomon's first meeting was way less awkward than I thought it should've been for a kid who hasn't socialised in 3 years. BUT ANYWAY. Just my opinion.

ALL IN ALL: I solidly like and recommend this book! It's really short and it packs a punch, and just the fact that it's SASSY and is a tribute to STAR TREK is enough to make my little heart beat faster. I sooooo love that it doesn't end with rainbows. And I sooooo love the emphasis on friendship. Plus it was addictive and involved copious amounts of nerdom and pizza. I mean, WHAT IS NOT TO LIKE HERE.


Take away the things that make you panic and you won't panic. And then he spent three years wondering why everyone found that so hard to understand. All he was doing was living instead of dying. Some people get cancer. Some people get crazy. Nobody tries to take chemo away.

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.

It had been a long time since Solomon had talked to someone this young, and he wasn't really sure what he was doing. He felt compelled to say things like "cool" and "chill" and "brb", and was very relieved that she was barely letting him speak.

"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."

Lisa and Clark came along and made things better, though. Way better. But that didn't help any with the guilt. In fact, every time they left his house, he'd get a shooting pain deep in hi stomach, remembering that this is all he could be for them. And he was scared, too. He was afraid they'd always be waiting for him to change even more than he already had.
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Reading Progress

May 16, 2016 – Shelved
May 16, 2016 – Shelved as: to-read
August 17, 2016 – Started Reading
August 17, 2016 – Shelved as: contemporary
August 17, 2016 – Shelved as: mental-illness
August 17, 2016 – Shelved as: read-2016
August 17, 2016 – Shelved as: young-adult
August 17, 2016 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-13 of 13 (13 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

Sarah YAAAAYY!! I'm so glad you liked it!

Fatima mehjabin Oh, I am planning to read this book soon! I'm even more executed to read this book now XD wonderful review btw!

C.G. Drews @Sarah: SO SO GOOD RIGHT?!?

@Veiledhorizon: Eeep, I hope you really enjoy it too. :D

message 4: by lucie (new)

lucie it sounds really good!

Dorrit I'm reading this because of you.
I hope I don't hate it.

C.G. Drews @Hallie: I hope you don't hate it too.

Emelie Fält Was a little surprised you didn't even mention how awesome the grandma was, at least I absolutely loved her

C.G. Drews @Emelie: I just forgot. She was great. :)

Juliette Theureau I got the book after reading your review on your blog and I've devoured it (though I don't manage to read a lot right now) and it's one of the best books I've ever read, for all the reasons you listed + the grandma. I've never read a book on mental illness but this book was so good and I love Solomon and Clark so much <3
Thanks for the recommendation ;)

message 10: by USOM (new) - rated it 4 stars

USOM I just finished this yesterday! The one thing that kept me from immediately falling in love was Lisa! Also everyone else seems to know what she is doing, for those reasons, are totally unethical!

message 11: by C.G. (new) - rated it 4 stars

C.G. Drews @UtopiaStateOfMind: Yes! Same! I mean, it was good how she changed, but she did make the story less than perfect.

message 12: by USOM (new) - rated it 4 stars

USOM yeah I was really struggling for a while and it was kind of because of her even though I liked everyone else

Pamela Patterson I agree with the being worried about the cure part. I was worried from the beginning especially with Lisa (who I agree is a jerk). I didn't feel like he needed to be cured. Also mental illness doesn't work that way, like you said. I felt for his parents that maybe he could make some progress, because I was wondering how he will survive when they retired or pass away. I'm glad with the story though.

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