This sweet and engaging story is deep without manufactured drama. Its lightness keeps it from becoming an over-the-top, sugary and tear-jerking soap opera. Don’t mistake its tone for insignificance, though; the action is full of emotion and is both heartbreaking and joyous. This book proves that not all plots must resemble the path of a roller coaster in order to be meaningful.
Solomon Reed has not left his house for about three years. Ever since he was 11, he’s had increasing numbers of panic attacks, culminating when he stripped to his boxers and immersed himself into the fountain at his middle school. Lisa Praytor witnessed this act, and every once in a while has wondered what happened to him. And when she happens to see an ad for his mother’s dental practice in the newspaper, she decides to fix Solomon so she can get a scholarship to college.
It’s weird how friendships happen, and while Lisa definitely has an ulterior motive, she genuinely enjoys spending time with Sol. And when she takes her boyfriend, Clark, over to meet Sol, they really hit it off. So much so that Lisa starts to feel left out. Should she be worried? As she settles in her observance of Sol, she just knows that her presence is making him better.
As Sol begins to crave their friendship, he wonders if he is truly getting better. And Lisa and Clark realize that just because someone can’t leave his house, it doesn’t mean they are crazy. In fact, the amount of normality in the Reed household is pretty, well, normal.
So many stories think that the plot must contain something huge; a secret, a death, a heart broken, etc. And while all of those things certainly do have a place in books, the BIG REVEAL isn’t always the best way to go. Many times, those kinds of tales telegraph way ahead what’s going to happen anyway, so there’s not really a shock at the revelation. I imagine that the quiet and deep stories are harder to write so that the intensity and importance aren’t lost. And here, for sure, they aren’t.
Highly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whaley was published May 10, 2016 by Dial Books. I checked this one out of the library all by myself.
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Realistic Fiction LGBTQ+
Ages: 13 and up