Rating: 3.5 Stars.
At the insistence of a book store clerk who seemed to have a shared taste in books, I was keen to give this a good crack. Solomon suffers from severe agoraphobia and hasn’t left his home in three years. Lisa, a motivated student looking for a psych project for her college essay steps into Solomon’s life and discovers there’s so much more to him.
Whaley has appeared on my radar several times with his previous books, but this is the first one I’ve read. I am still curious to check out “Noggin” and “Where things come back” and probably will at one point. I actually sat down and read this book cover to cover in one afternoon.
What I loved about this book is this theme of “those who suffer from mental illness have a lot more depth to them” was done well. So often in teen novels we see how mental illness can simply define a character, and define a person we meet in the flesh. I liked the way we could see Solomon show off his personality and how it was separate from his anxieties in his interactions with other characters. And yet, we can still see how crippling it is to be truly agoraphobic.
The two issues I had with the story were firstly – I have a hard time suspending belief that the parents – after three years of Solomon not leaving the house – haven’t done enough to try and get this character help. They didn’t seem like neglectful people and so this really didn’t make much sense to me. Secondly, I didn’t really buy Lisa’s motivation as a strong enough factor for her wanting to help Solomon as much as she showed she wanted to. I felt like this could also have been a little better developed.
Recommendation: If you’re interested in YA books on mental illness, it’s a really quick read and certainly pulled me in from start to finish.