“And what could’ve been an obligatory friendship with a disturbed boy had, in actuality, become one of the healthiest relationships in her life with one of the more levelheaded people she’d ever met. And, lest you forget, it was going to make all her dreams come true.”
This book is unlike anything I’ve ever read. It is 249 pages long, which is average for a contemporary young adult novel; however, it only took me a couple hours to finish reading it because I couldn’t put it down.
In Highly Illogical Behavior, John Corey Whaley examines mental illness with humor while managing to ensure his deep, true message reverberates with readers. The protagonist of the novel, Solomon Reed, is an agoraphobic. Instead of crafting the story in a way in which readers would pity him, Whaley constructs Solomon as someone readers could relate to. Solomon is witty, charming, and hilarious, and thinks and acts like any other teenage boy does despite having severe panic attacks and never leaving the house. His character defies the stereotype that people with mental illnesses are given in books and, sometimes, the real world. He is not depressed, strange, angry, excessively shy, or any of the other negative qualities characters with mental illnesses receive in literature. Rather, Solomon is a funny and compassionate young man who loves his family and friends (and Star Wars).
Solomon’s grandmother is one of his best friends, and her youthfulness and quirky character adds a fresh vibe to the novel. Solomon’s other best friend, Clark Robbins, is my least favorite character in Highly Illogical Behavior. I felt like he was too one-dimensional; he is kind and quiet, but is reserved to the point where he doesn’t add much to the story, although he is the protagonist’s best friend.
That brings us to my favorite character in the novel: Lisa Reed. Lisa gets to narrate about half the novel and makes the book very enjoyable. I could personally relate to Lisa’s stubborn determinism, along with her good intention – to help Solomon and those like him – that, unfortunately, wasn’t executed in the best way possible. Her voice is authentic and straightforward, which makes her all the more likeable.
The dialogue in the novel is laugh-out-loud hilarious, for the characters discuss the most interesting and most banal topics with good-natured honesty. I appreciated how there was never a lull or dull moment in the story, which helped keep my interest from the first page to the last. Overall, Highly Illogical Behavior is a fresh, entertaining novel I would recommend to teens and adults alike.