Highly Illogical Behavior

by John Corey Whaley

Solomon Reed, 16, is agoraphobic and has rarely left home since middle school. Lisa... read more

Solomon Reed, 16, is agoraphobic and has rarely left home since middle school. Lisa Praytor doesn’t know Sol well but wants to forge a friendship and help him leave his house. She plans to use the experience as the basis of her college application essay—not that she tells Sol this. Lisa and her boyfriend, Clark, begin spending time with Sol. The friendship that develops among the three is genuine, bright, and lively, their exchanges funny and deep. Family developments challenge Sol to take small steps toward the outside world and Lisa and Clark support him with sensitivity and imagination. Then Lisa becomes convinced Sol, who comes out to her, is in love with Clark, and that Clark, who says he isn’t ready to have sex with her, is in love with Sol. Shortly after, Sol learns about Lisa’s essay: His devastation is profound. Sol is smart and funny and poignantly aware of the impact of his mental illness on his life and his family, but that doesn’t mean he can simply walk out the door. Nothing makes this clearer than descriptions of his panic attacks. Lisa is motivated by a desperate desire to leave home that undermines her judgment, while Clark has good sense and a good heart but doesn’t reveal Lisa’s plan to Sol until it’s too late. All are highly illogical, and poignantly human, in a singular, entertaining story that dives deeply into the ethics and complexities of friendship. (Age 14 and older)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2017

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