Written by John Corey Whaley

Published by Dial Books, May 10, 2016

My star rating: 5 stars

Sixteen year old Solomon is an agoraphobic. He hasn’t left the house in three years and that’s just fine by him. Lisa desperately wants to get into the second best psychology college and needs to write the perfect essay for the chance to win a full ride scholarship. Determined to “fix” Sol, Lisa and her charming boyfriend Clark walk into his life and the three form an unexpected bond. As they grow closer, the walls they’ve built start to crumble along with their friendship.

I loved this book for SO many reasons! First of all, it deals with a mental illness that is close to home for me. I myself deal with anxiety and panic disorders and a friend of mine is agoraphobic. He happens to live across the street and I’ve known him for 20 years. I watched him go from outgoing, to somewhat withdrawn, to being afraid of crowds, to full on agoraphobic. I almost never see him and when I do I can tell what kind of day he’s having by looking at his hands. This book is so true to mental illness and what episodes can do to a person and that they have no power to stop it.

The characters were really great!!! You know how sometimes you read a book and the dialogue reads like a robot? All you can do is think “Who even talks like this?” The conversations flowed so naturally and it – was – funny!!!! The one liners and come backs had me laughing and smiling like an idiot the whole way through. Each character was likeable in their own way. The author even captured how everyone is slightly different with one person to another which I thought was really fascinating. I thought I was going to hate Lisa. I went into it thinking she was going to be a snooty perfectionist who thinks she knows better than the person with the illness (even though she’s a teenager with no training or experience) and could fix him right away. Turned out she was a good person who cares deeply for those around her.

At first I rated this book 4 stars, but ever since I finished it I think about this book a lot. This was an emotional roller coaster, with fantastic friendships, true to life depiction of mental illness, and even some sexual diversity. I changed my rating to 5 stars and would recommend this to any and everyone!!