I was a little hesitant to read this after reading John Corey Whaley’s book Noggin. That book was far too strange for me, plus it pissed me off. I didn’t like how totally selfish the MC was. And in true me fashion, I thought all of his books might be like that so I stayed clear of them. I’m happy to say that this book was totally like that, only a little bit.
This is the story of Solomon and how he is agoraphobic with severe anxiety. He has a severe psychological break one day, ended up almost naked in the school fountain, and now hasn’t stepped foot outside of his house in over three years. Sol is perfectly fine with his life now. Enter Lisa. Lisa wants to get into one of the best psychological colleges in the state and she plans on using Sol to help her get in. She is going to befriend Sol and “fix” him. She is going to write her admissions essay about Sol and BOOM get into college. What Lisa doesn’t realize is that she, along with her boyfriend Clark, are going to form an instant and powerful friendship with Sol. All of them will be changed in ways they never dreamed possible.
This was a super fast read and it was a really interesting read. I was very curious to know how this story was going to play out. Sol was very comfortable staying home and never stepping foot outside. His parents were troubled by it, but they did not try to force him to do anything he didn’t want to do. I appreciated that. Sol was a character that I would have liked to be friends with in real life. He had such a great sense of humor and knew what he liked. When Lisa came into his life, he was so excited that someone wanted to be his friend. Little did he know that Lisa was a big fat fake. I could feel my heart breaking for Sol as the story went on and he found out just what Lisa was all about. As you can tell from my Goodreads updates, I never liked Lisa from the beginning.
I don’t usually trust someone – real or book character – that plans to use someone else for their own personal gain. That is exactly what Lisa was doing and I didn’t care for it. She was going to use an innocent teenager who had serious psychological issues to help her get into to college and out of that small town. That’s wrong on so many levels. A lot of people would say she was just being ambitious, driven, and possibly an over achiever. Me? I call her selfish and manipulative.
I also did not like how Lisa brought Clark, her boyfriend, into the friendship in order to help Sol get better faster. She was trying too hard to get Sol “fixed” and outside of the house that she used her boyfriend. I don’t see how she thought pushing so much on Sol at once would make things better. Sol still had not set a single foot outside but Lisa thought bringing someone new over to engage in awkward conversation with Sol was a good idea? Especially after Sol confessed that he was gay? I’m a little lost here. None of that realistically makes sense to me. I also did not like how she was constantly trying to have sex with Clark. When I say constantly, I do mean all of the time. She was always making passes and advances at him. She was making me uncomfortable. Why was she in such a rush to sleep with him? And while she is in high school no less! Calm down your whoremones.
If you remove Lisa from the entire equation, I really enjoyed this story. I haven’t read a story about a MC that is agoraphobic who had severe anxiety. I do wish the story had gone a little more into detail as to why he became one, but that didn’t happen. I was left slightly confused on that front. I loved Sol as a character. He was heartwarming, charming, so funny, and an all around good soul. His family was great as well. I loved how supportive they were of Sol no matter what. That was refreshing to read. I also enjoyed Clark as a character. He did not complicate things since he was the one person that seemed to really want to be Sol’s friend. Yes, Sol did fall in love with him but that might have been because Clark was the first teenage male he befriended in three years. I cannot fault Sol for that.
Overall, I would recommend this book to everyone. I think it is a raw and powerful read. I think it gives great insight into what it has to be like for an agoraphobic with anxiety. It is a great coming of age story. It is also a story of learning to accept yourself and come to terms with who you are. You do you and let everyone else do them. I hope everyone gives this book a chance. I hope everyone will come to adore Sol the way that I do.