26 Jun 2016


I've put off writing this review. I convinced myself it was because I was busy with exams but they're over now and I still don't know how to talk about this book. I just don't think my review will do it justice. 

I've written about my love for John Corey Whaley numerous times on my blog with a review of Noggin' and his debut novel (and my favourite book) Where Things Come Back. John Corey Whaley never fails to impress me with storylines that just run with ease; he makes writing look as easy as tying your shoe laces. 

When I heard he had a new book on its way, I had to pre-order it and even trusted him enough to have written another amazing book to buy the hardback. The book came and I tried to put off the temptation of reading it while my exams were still going but I couldn't.

It follows two perspectives: Solomon Read and Lisa Praytor. Solomon hasn't left his house in over three years- not even going into the garden. Lisa is an ambitious student who needs a killer essay to get her on the psychology course she wants and so when a chance arises, she decides to try and help Sol get better. 

What I like about Whaley's writing is how while, yes, there are some typical YA character tropes in the book, he manages to turn them on their head and add a different angle to typical conventions as well as adding elements I'm yet to see in another story. He manages to make you feel frustrated to situations while still feeling sympathetic towards them. In a lot of books when the author tries to make you sympathise at the end of a book with a character that has been nothing but horrible and annoying throughout the majority of the novel,  I can't sympathise with them (maybe that says something about my stubborn self) but John Corey Whaley managed it.

One of the many amazing writing qualities Whaley has is his humour- the witty one-liners in a very dialogue-driven book really helps replicate the realistic banter that friends have. The depiction of the friendship between both Lisa, Sol and Lisa's Boyfriend Clark was one I loved witnessing. While the book was focused on mental health, personally, I feel it was more of a friendship based book and I loved that- it made it all that more believable. 

YA is increasingly focusing on mental health issues which I think it great in raising awareness of disorders that affect teens today. However, a lot of them focus on similar subgenres of mental illness and I always feel there should be a wider spread of mental health issues covered and Whaley does that. Solomon is agoraphobic which is what has stopped him from leaving the house for so many years. Whaley depicts mental illness in that realistic way to try and stop the romanticising of mental illness that some YA mental health novels do. 

Something I always seem to look for in a book is relatability with characters and that I couldn't get with this book. I couldn't draw comparisons from my own life other than the interest in psychology that Lisa has. This is usually something that I say stops me from enjoying a book but in this case, I think it actually helped me enjoy it that little bit more and understand the character's separately 

This hilarious story of friendship and mental illness is definitely one to pick up this summer.

Whaley is just a YA genius and, dare I say, God.

Do you think you'll be picking this up? Have any recommendations yourself?
Hope you're doing great,

Sarah x

Post a Comment