Friday, 21 October 2016

Highly Illogical Behaviour by John Corey Whaley

Highly Illogical Behaviour by John Corey Whaley
Published September 2016 by Faber & Faber
Source: Allen and Unwin
Rating: 5 stars

From the blurb: Solomon hasn't left the house in three years, which is fine by him. Lisa will do anything to get into university - including befriending and 'fixing' Solomon for the benefit of a school psychology project.And Clark, Lisa's boyfriend, would do anything for her, because that's what love is.The three become friends, but secrets bubble beneath the fun, and it's not long before each of them relaises there's more than one way to hide yourself from the world. And sometimes, it's only your friends that can bring you back into the light.

From the moment I started Highly Illogical Behaviour, I was drawn into sixteen year old Solomon Reed's world. When he was eleven he started having panic attacks and over the years they began to happen more frequently and become more severe. At his worst they were happening up to three times a day. Water is one thing he finds soothing, and so on his last day in the outside world, he hopped into the fountain at school and lay down in the water. After that he convinced his parents he'd be better off indoors, that was three years ago.

I felt for Solomon instantly. He's happy but he is a little lonely. His parents are wonderful and supportive, but he knows his mum worries he'll be living with them forever. He still has the occasional panic attack and wishes they had a pool, but he's afraid asking for one would get his parents' hopes up.

The story is also told by Lisa Praytor. She was a year above Solomon at school and remembers the day with the fountain. She's a dedicated student and can't wait to leave home and go to university. She's determined to get into psychology and when she realises she's found Solomon, she decides to write about him... without getting his permission first. Lisa is also dating Clark, but she waits a month before introducing them.

Despite Lisa having an ulterior motive, I didn't hate her.It was easy to see why she wanted to go to college so badly and she really did help Solomon, and herself, even if if she went about it in the wrong way. Reading about the three of them hanging out was heartwarming, especially as Solomon almost feels as though he wants to follow them when they leave.

The story explores both mental health and sexuality. Solomon's agoraphobia was portrayed perfectly. Lisa's issue with Clark's sexuality showed that making assumptions about another person or demanding they tell you their sexuality isn't the way to go.

I adored all the pop cultural references, especially those about my favourite tv shows/movies eg. Community and Robin Hood Men in Tights.

Ableist language: lunatic, crazy, lame, insane, dumb, psycho.

Highly Illogical Behaviour is an enjoyable, insightful, honest look at mental health and teenage relationships. I recommend it to readers of all ages.

Thank you to Allen & Unwin for my review copy. RRP A$16.99.

Cover design: Lisa Horton

I love this cover, and initially it's what made me want to read the book. I like this more than the US cover, but, the US cover makes more sense once you've read the story.

I started with a base of Illamasqua Load which is the perfect pale yellow for this cover. I used the following polishes for the stripes: Zoya Creamy, Zoya Maura, Zoya Robyn, Zoya Dana, WnW Who is Ultra Violet?, and Nail It! Toffee Apple.


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