Blurb: 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.
A little over 200 pages this book is the perfect definition of a quick efficient read. Agoraphobia…no matter how much I wrack my brain I can’t think of a single book that has gone into an in depth analysis of what it is really like to be an agoraphobic. I’ll be honest, despite the amazing rating and rave reviews on goodreads I wasn’t expecting this book to be as amazing as it turned out to be, mainly because of its length. Fortunately I was wrong, I read this in one sitting and was so damn glad by the end that I read it.
First off let’s talk about the characters and their arcs because this book deals with personal development almost as much as it deals with Agoraphobia or social anxiety. Lisa sets up a friendly scenario to enter Sol’s life with the sole agenda of ‘fixing’ him, the crazy boy from three years past who hasn’t stepped out of his house in so long. Throughout the story, you find her to be judgmental, overly ambitious, kind of full of herself, selfish and annoying but by the end you see that all of this was important. Being in her head gives you an insight about how the most well meaning of us can still be prejudiced, can still approach the situation in the wrong way. The reader through Lisa comes to the realization that Sol secluding himself from the rest of the world is a not a sign of him giving up but a way of survival, that it makes absolute sense for him and his condition. That he needs to be eased back slowly.
Sol…he was the trickiest piece of the puzzle. I really liked him for the most part but there were also portions where I got annoyed with him and that in itself was an eye opening revelation for me. I realized that might be how most people who deal with agoraphobic people feel…like they aren’t really trying or at least not trying enough to mingle with the outside world.
Carl was the most likable of the lot. He was the sweet spice that was going to shake up the harmony of the mix. The love triangle situation felt a bit overly dramatic and unnecessary to me but once I set that aside, the way Carl and Sol geeked out over the Holodeck or start trek or basically anything was completely adorable!
The writing when it comes to such a short book is a huge deciding factor into how the whole experience turns out for the reader, it can either make the whole thing or break it beyond repair, thankfully John Corey Whaley knows how to write like the back of his hand. The writing felt like an easy flowing stream, it was effortless, not flowery or ornamented with metaphors. It was…familiar. Like the story was being narrated just to you by someone you know.
There were so many important topics that were dealt with throughout the narrative. From parental support to agoraphobia to coming to terms with one’s sexuality to trying to see past one’s ambition and understanding other people’s situations. This book in a very short span conveyed a beautiful message. It wasn’t over the top full of revelations. It was simple, there weren’t any bad guys or dire situations…it was an ordinary story about an ordinary set of people who were trying to tell a story about an extraordinary situation.
If you find yourself wanting to read a great book but only have an afternoon or so free, there is nothing better that I can recommend.