Thursday, August 11, 2016

What we're reading: John Corey Whaley!

Our friend John Corey Whaley (some of you will remember him from last summer's Book Café) has written a new book, called Highly Illogical Behavior. And while I greatly enjoyed his other books--Where Things Come Back, his debut novel for which he won the prestigious Printz award, and Noggin, his book about the annoying Travis Coates, whose head gets transplanted onto a different body--I think this one is my favorite.

Solomon, 16, has suffered from acute anxiety all his life. One day in middle school, he had a major meltdown that he was able to fix only by climbing into the school fountain and lying down in the water, and he hasn't been seen or heard from since. Solomon has decided that agoraphobia is the perfect solution to all his problems--he simply won't leave his house ever again. It's now been three years and counting.

Lisa, desperate to get out of her small town in Southern California's Inland Empire, has decided that Solomon is the answer. She is applying for a full scholarship at the college with the second-best psychology program (let's be realistic), and she figures that if she can "fix" Solomon, she's guaranteed to get it. So she, along with her charming boyfriend Clark (roped in mostly against his will, but amiable enough to go along), makes Sol her summer project. But she can't just come out and say "Hi, I'm here to fix you," she has to be his friend in order to gain his confidence. She doesn't stop to think what difficulties this may present later. Big mistake.

I loved this book. The characters are so individual and so beguiling, with beautifully written relationships, and the subject itself is fascinating, especially the way Corey plays it out. I'm definitely suggesting this for book club as soon as it comes out in paperback...which probably won't be until next year. Book club members, don't wait--read it now!

Bravo, Corey!

(I also loved the cover art. I almost never get to say that, unfortunately, but this was just perfect. Read the book. You'll understand.)

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