Pros and Cons / Highly Illogical Behavior

Hi friends!Pros and ConsHow’s life? And the far more pressing question: what are you currently reading? I’m wrapping up Wild for an extra credit assignment, and I have just a few more chapters in Wuthering Heights, the second of two books I have for summer reading, to finish before I can treat myself to Morgan Matson’s The Unexpected Everything. Of course, I do hope to carve out time to watch the movie versions of both books this week too! Meanwhile, my back-to-school preparations – everything from designing binder covers to scheduling and coordinating meetings – have kept fall on my mind, though I do have a few more reviews I want to share before the summer officially comes to a close. First up? My thoughts on  John Corey Whaley’s recent publication Highly Illogical Behavior.

Highly Illogical Behavior

Sixteen-year-old Solomon is agoraphobic. He hasn’t left the house in three years, which is fine by him.

Ambitious Lisa desperately wants to get into the second-best psychology program for college {she’s being realistic}. But is ambition alone enough to get her in?

Enter Lisa. Determined to “fix” Sol, Lisa steps into his world, along with her charming boyfriend, Clark, and soon the three form an unexpected bond. But, as Lisa learns more about Sol, and he and Clark grow closer and closer, the walls they’ve built around themselves start to collapse and their friendships threaten to do the same. {Goodreads}

P R O S
A well-drawn and fleshed-out set of characters I first discovered John Corey Whaley’s novels on a whim, grabbing Noggin, its eye-catching cover and all, after reading about it on another book blog. I’m so glad I did, for his dynamic characters and interesting storylines converted me from a curious reader to a lifelong fan. His writing only improves here in his third novel, which follows the friendship between an agoraphobic teen and an overachieving student. The growth is noticed best in the characters: Solomon, who I thought to be an utter sweetheart; Lisa, who is equally compelling as she is driven; Clark, who proves the YA world needs more easy-going guys; and Solomon’s family members, all of whom have a distinctive trait of their own. They each stand individually as terrific character studies, but their vibrant friendship, with its messy crushes and awkward first meetings, is simply the cherry on top.

A balance between the humorous and the bittersweet While there is a certain sadness throughout the plot, the emotion doesn’t overwhelm the story thanks to Whaley’s humorous writing style. Solomon cracks dry, sarcastic jokes throughout, and the numerous references to nerdy programs of pop culture add to the book’s charm. Even Lisa’s ambitious plot to get into college {a misguided plan at best, a manipulative idea at worst} has a certain lightness to it despite the very real and very relatable topics Whaley covers, among them social anxiety and first relationships. The balance between the two is difficult to strike, much less excel at, but it’s quickly becoming Whaley’s specialty.

A unique take on the coming of age narrative Finally, the synopsis might lead potential readers to think the story focuses solely on the bond between Solomon, Lisa, and Clark, but in all truth, it’s just as much of a tale of Solomon finding confidence in himself. A coming-of-age story is not new to the genre, but by use of Solomon’s fear of the outside world, Whaley allows his novel to stand apart from the crowd. Furthermore, the intensity of the story doesn’t hit readers until the book has been put down and one can fully recognize the significance of Solomon taking a step outside his front door.

C O N S
+ Though a solid story all-around, the book could be longer, allowing for further development This is a rare complaint – too often do books drag on rather than the opposite – but I think Highly Illogical Behavior could have benefitted from being longer. The pace is fast, and it moved so quickly that I was able to fly through the book in a single afternoon. Fortunately, Whaley keeps things tight enough that the length is not so much a glaring error as it is a request for more time with Solomon, Lisa, and Clark. If it’s more of Whaley’s writing that I desire, however, I won’t have to wait long – I already have Where Things Come Back on hold at the library. I’ll be reading it soon!

Have a wonderful start to your week! :)

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One thought on “Pros and Cons / Highly Illogical Behavior

  1. It’s always a struggle when a book is really good, but just needs a bit more development and depth to become excellent. Glad you enjoyed this though Bella! Thanks for sharing and, as always, fabulous review! <3

    Liked by 1 person

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