‘Highly Illogical Behavior’ Teaches All Ages About LGBTQ + Youth, Mental Health, Friendship – The Daily Evergreen

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Young Adult Gender Stereotypes Don’t Apply To This Book

KESTRA ENGSTROM

If you are looking for a book that presents positive portraits of mental illness, family and friendships, “Highly Illogical Behavior” by John Corey Whaley is the novel for you.

John Corey Whaley’s Young Adult Novel “Highly Illogical Behavior” is a charming coming-of-age story that makes a great introduction to many difficult issues for kids starting in middle school, as well as incredibly enjoyable reading for kids. all ages.

The novel follows a teenager named Solomon Reed. Solomon suffers from debilitating panic attacks that caused him to develop agoraphobia – a fear of the outside world. At the beginning of the novel, Solomon has not left his house for three years.

Enter Lisa Praytor. Lisa is a former classmate of Solomon who is prompted by an elite college psychology program to write about her “personal experience with mental illness” for an application essay. Having none of her own, Lisa decides to create a personal experience with mental health by researching and befriending Solomon.

However, Lisa has an ulterior motive. She doesn’t just want to befriend Solomon for the sake of having a friend with a mental illness – she wants cure Solomon’s agoraphobia in order to talk about it in his candidacy essay.

Right off the bat, that sounds bad. How could anything positive come out of this pattern?

I don’t want to spoil it too much, so I’ll just say this, “Highly Illogical Behavior” is about a boy who is more than his mental illness.

Although he cannot leave the house, Solomon’s characterization is not dominated by his agoraphobia. He is a complex character whose outlook is pleasant to read and whose quirks and personality are charming and sympathetic.

Lisa is also a likeable and fun character to read, despite her myopia and intrigue.

Solomon also has an extremely supportive family.

His parents and grandmother adapt to his needs, but also push Solomon to get better in a genuinely loving way. They also fully support him when he tells them he’s gay.

Such a positive portrayal of a family of someone with mental illness and LGBTQ + is one thing that sets “Highly Illogical Behavior” apart from other young adult novels.

There are too many stories of families who don’t support them, who don’t understand their children’s mental illness or sexuality at all, and who don’t care to learn. This book is a refreshing deviation from that, showing family members who love and support their child no matter what.

This is not the only aspect of this book that sets it apart from other novels for young adults. He shatters the stereotypes of young adult books everywhere, from Solomon’s family to his experience of mental illness to every character.

Solomon and Lisa spend the entire novel overturning stereotypes about what self-centered teenage girls and gay teenage boys with mental health issues should be like. Even minor characters, like Solomon’s family, represent refreshing twists on many common genre tropes for young adults.

Another example is Lisa’s boyfriend, Clark. Clark appears to be a typical ‘dumb jock’ type on the surface, but as he winds up in Lisa’s ploys and we get to know his character better, it’s clear he’s not muscular at all. or emotionally stunted. He’s actually kind, emotionally intelligent, and deeply empathetic.

There is another stereotype in the “gay predator” fiction; otherwise, it’s the straight guys who fear this stereotype. “Highly Illogical Behavior” completely throws this to the wind with the friendship of Solomon and Clark, incorporating a healthy subplot about LGBTQ + youth.

One thing Whaley enjoys doing throughout this book is putting together the most stereotypical “young adult novel situations” he can possibly possibly be, and then overturning the reader’s expectations altogether. It’s an incredibly endearing style of writing that lets you turn the pages until the end.

Overall, “Highly Illogical Behavior” reads like a teen sitcom (in the best possible way). It has quirky characters, an entertaining plot, and a lot of humor.

It is also a great way to teach difficult questions in a way that is easy for young people to digest. For example, even though Solomon suffers from a debilitating and traumatic mental illness, Whaley writes about it in a way young readers will understand, without downplaying its severity or trivializing mental illness.

If you’re looking for a quick read this summer loaded with life lessons, friendship, and lots of love, “Highly Illogical Behavior” is the book for you.

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