Published: May 10th 2016 by: Dial Books
Genres: YA, Contemporary, Mental Health, LGBTQ
Format: Hardcover Source: Won
My Rating: 4 Stars
Sixteen-year-old Solomon is agoraphobic. He hasn’t left the house in three years, which is fine by him.
Ambitious Lisa desperately wants to get into the second-best psychology program for college (she’s being realistic). But is ambition alone enough to get her in?
Determined to “fix” Sol, Lisa steps into his world, along with her charming boyfriend, Clark, and soon the three form an unexpected bond. But, as Lisa learns more about Sol and he and Clark grow closer and closer, the walls they’ve built around themselves start to collapse and their friendships threaten to do the same.
Agoraphobic boy+ ambitious girl+ immovable boy= a really heartfelt story. I liked it, for the most part, but I’m wondering if the author had taken a different route would the story have been better or worse? I keep thinking that if Lisa had been upfront from the start, the ending could have gone a different way. Like, maybe, Sol would have known why she wanted to come around, and maybe once Clark entered the picture Sol would have believed more in himself and his friendships. I don’t know. Maybe this is better. It still turns out to be a great story.
What To Look Forward To….
-Solomon suffers from anxiety, which has led to his fear of leaving the house. His agoraphobia has only escalated over the years, but he finds himself questioning things about his future. Will he never leave the house for the rest of his life? Are his parents fed up with his need to be a recluse? The only thing he’s sure of is that water calms him. Thus, a pool is installed.
-Lisa just wants to get into a great psychology programs, and to do that she needs to write about her own experience with mental illness. When she lands in the chair at the dentist, and that dentist happens to be Solomon’s mom, a plan starts to form.
-Clark is Lisa’s boyfriend. Lisa wants to move their relationship along, but he stalls. When Clark starts spending time with her and Solomon, she quickly begins to feel like a third wheel. This part of the story was really interesting because Lisa made some claims that ultimately affected her already rocky relationship with Clark. Not only that, but Solomon has even bigger problems. His agoraphobia seems to be forgotten when he’s around Clark.
This story does show how a person with mental illness copes, and that you are more than your illness. I love that Solomon became fast friends with Lisa and Clark, and it was kind of hard to read about his struggling feelings. Still, I think that it says a lot about these characters and real life situations; not everything is as it seems, so stop jumping to conclusions. I wanted to 5 star this, but there were moments that I wanted to toss the book aside when stupid things were said and done. It all worked out in the end, and I’m glad to have read this book. I definitely recommend this to readers of contemporary YA, with mental illness at the forefront. It’s also an ode to stereotypes about lgbtq friendships, so that, in itself, is a plus in my book.