Sixteen year old Solomon has agoraphobia. He hasn’t left his house in three years, which is fine by him. At home, he is the master of his own kingdom–even if his kingdom doesn’t extend outside of the house.
Ambitious Lisa desperately wants to go to a top tier psychiatry program. She’ll do anything to get in.
When Lisa finds out about Solomon’s solitary existence, she comes up with a plan sure to net her a scholarship: befriend Solomon. Treat his condition. And write a paper on her findings. To earn Solomon’s trust, Lisa begins letting him into her life, introducing him to her boyfriend Clark, and telling him her secrets. Soon, Solomon begins to open up and expand his universe. But all three teens have grown uncomfortably close, and when their facades fall down, their friendships threaten to collapse as well.
I first heard about Highly Illogical Behaviour at the Faber blogger event earlier this year and knew it was a book I wanted to read. I’ve since seen it all over BookTube and so when I finally came to read it last week it’s fair to say I had it very hyped up in my mind.
And it delivered – Highly Illogical Behaviour tells the story of Soloman who suffers from agoraphobia and as a result has not been out of his parents home for the past 3 years following an incident involving a fountain. Lisa is determined to get into a prestigious Psychology programme and to do so has to write an essay about her experiences with mental illness. Lisa has remembered Soloman and so sets about on her mission to try and help him thinking that she will get material for her essay and help Soloman at the same time.
Now I’m not going to turn around and say Lisa’s plan is a good one or even ethically sound for that matter but it makes a nice path into the story and gives the two characters a reason to meet.
The story is told from both Soloman and Lisa’s point of view so we get to experience why Soloman is so determined not to leave the house and how he feels about Lisa coming into his life plus we get Lisa’s feelings on her second impressions of Soloman.
Despite the starting point the friendship which develops feels genuine. Now I can’t talk about Lisa with throwing a mention Clarks way. He’s Lisa’s boyfriend and via Lisa finds himself involved. Now whilst Lisa has her motivations for wanting to help Soloman, apart from Lisa Clark has no reason other than liking Soloman for helping him. So despite liking the friendship which springs up between Lisa and Soloman I prefer the one between Soloman and Clark. It’s a friendship built on common interests and it shines and sparkles on the page. Clark truly has Soloman’s best interests at heart.
And now lets turn our attention to agoraphobia, it is after all the reason Soloman is stuck in the house all the time. The story presents a glimpse into an illness which must be incredibly isolating. I put my hands up – I opt to spend time by myself rather than others but this is a choice rather than something which is forced upon me. I think Soloman likes having friends in Lisa and Clark and them entering his life does the world of good – they make him see a possible future outside of his four walls and make him want to try to get better.
I have to say I’m a little disappointed I read this book now and not a few weeks ago as I made a video looking at the best parents YA and children’s fiction had to offer and the parents here would certainly have made the list. They are patient and give Soloman all the support he needs. The Gran too is perfect – the lengths they all go to along with his new friends make them a joy to read.
Overall, Highly Illogical Behaviour more than met (if not exceeded) its hype – fast paced, covers a topic not often discussed in YA and to top it off is a story with a heart of gold.
Thanks to Faber & Faber for sending me a copy to review