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#DisabilityDiaries2017 - My Experience With Mental Illness - A Response to Highly Illogical Behaviour by John Corey Whaley

I recently read Highly Illogical Behaviour, by John Corey Whaley, and I absolutely loved it. If I could trace the first instance when I was hooked, it would have to be when Lisa mentioned that she had to write an essay on her experience with mental illness for a scholarship for a university. 

In high school, mental illness was such a big part of my life. I wasn't diagnosed with a mental illness - no, some of my closest friends were. If I was ever given this topic - "My experience with mental illness" for an essay topic, I honestly have no idea how I'd keep to any word limit, because there's so much I can write on this topic. 

My Experience with Mental Illness 
By Geraldine Lee
As a child, I never knew what mental illness was. Depression was another word for being sad. Anxiety was another term for being worried. Being bipolar was being crazy. My small, inexperienced mind. 
Since then, I've learned a lot. 
In high school, I made friends with many people from all different backgrounds. From vibrant people who loved Harry Potter like I did, to quiet people who liked to spend their days in the library studying like I did, I found my people.

In particular, I found two of my best friends - let's call them Daisy and David. 
Daisy and I became steadfast friends when we were paired up for a Physics assignment - we found that we loved watching so many similar TV shows, like Castle, Bones, The Mentalist and Once Upon A Time. David, I fell in love with. 
Before I knew it, I was staying up late, just to talk to both of them. We had our own group chat going, we would post memes, joke around, and just have fun. 

However, that didn't last long. 
David told me he had depression. By that time, we were dating and it was crushing, seeing the boy I loved crumble, not knowing who he was anymore. Knowing that he was going through this and I couldn't make it better. 
Daisy confided that she had anxiety, and that the psychologist she was seeing might diagnose were with a bipolar disorder. It was painful to hear how uncertain she was, how worried she was, and not know how to help her. 
It was painful, to see my friendships fall apart, because I didn't know how to help them. 

I've learned three things from my experience with anxiety and depression. Firstly, mental illness should never be romanticised. Secondly, that more people need to know what mental illnesses are. Thirdly, more people need to know how to help others with mental illness.  

Here's the thing about mental illness - you can't see them. With a lot of illnesses, they manifest themselves physically, whether it be with a runny nose, red eyes, unusual bruises - with mental illness, that's not always the case. 

So when people tell me that mental illness isn't real, or that it's just in people's heads, I know that's not true. Mental illness is just as real as any other illness - and it's critical that we all play a role in treating it, whether it be through doing more research about it, treating it, or just plain old being a good friend.


If you, or you think anyone you know is suffering from a mental illness, please speak up. You don't have to tell me here in the comments - just speak up, see someone, talk to someone about it. Mental illness can be so debilitating. 
I've got a few links attached below - I hope they'll come in handy. 


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#DisabilityDiaries2017 - Highly Illogical Behaviour by John Corey Whaley

The Breakdown

General Info:
     Title: Highly Illogical Behaviour 
     Author: John Corey Whaley
     Genre: Contemporary, YA, Diverse Books,
     Publisher: Dial Books
     Publishing Date: May 26th, 2016

          - The characters - were all fascinating characters that made me think about MY life
          - The plot/premise - intriguing and hooked me in! The synopsis stays true to the book
          - The writing - flows easily and easy to read

    Things that could have been better:
         - um..nothing?

Rating: 5  stars
Goodreads | Amazon

Initial Thoughts

Ever since starting bookstagram, I've raided my local libraries for beautiful books to photograph. That's why I borrowed Highly Illogical Behaviour - the cover is gorgeous in an abstract-art kind of way. But, I wasn't actually planning to read it...sacrilege, you say? Well, it's a good thing that Reg @ SheLatitude convinced me to read it then! She commented on a bookstagram photo that I uploaded of it, saying it was one of her favourite books I HAD to read it right? 

Sixteen year old Solomon has agoraphobia. He hasn't left his house in three years, which is fine by him. At home, he is the master of his own kingdom--even if his kingdom doesn't extend outside of the house. 

Ambitious Lisa desperately wants to go to a top tier psychiatry program. She'll do anything to get in. 

When Lisa finds out about Solomon's solitary existence, she comes up with a plan sure to net her a scholarship: befriend Solomon. Treat his condition. And write a paper on her findings. To earn Solomon's trust, Lisa begins letting him into her life, introducing him to her boyfriend Clark, and telling him her secrets. Soon, Solomon begins to open up and expand his universe. But all three teens have grown uncomfortably close, and when their facades fall down, their friendships threaten to collapse as well.


Whaley knows how to write characters. 
I was initially very apprehensive with Lisa. Lisa didn't seem to have any boundaries, and I had no idea why anyone would even like her. But eventually, Whaley reveals so many layers to her character, shows why she is what she is, shadowing light onto her background. It also helped that I completely understood where Lisa was coming from - two or three years ago, I was pretty much Lisa. I was interested in psychology, wanted to do medicine (still want to do both of those things now) and I was determined to get out of the city I grew up in (not so much anymore). 
Solomon was such an endearing character. I could smush up his face and squeal, like an old grandmother, because he just pulled at my heartstrings with everything he did. 
Clark was just a standout character, with how supportive he was. He showed me what being a friend meant - you make sure your friends know when they're overstepping, and you look out for them. 
I really enjoyed how the friendships between this motley bunch was developed - what started off as curiosity on Lisa's part ended up being a sincere, deep affection for Solomon, and Clark, who had little interest in Solomon ended up being one of Solomon's best mates and a love interest. 


I was really hesitant about the plot. A girl who's trying to 'fix' a boy with agoraphobia? For a scholarship? It sounded really unethical to me, and I wasn't sure if I'd be on board with Lisa. Characters are everything to me in contemporary novels, so I was worried I'd be reading a book with an insufferable main character. My worries were all for nothing though - most of the book was about friendship and love. Towards the end, there was some drama, but throughout the book, friendship and love were consistent themes explored, which overshadowed the drama for me. I didn't enjoy reading the drama, but it did help explore the theme of friendship and love even deeper, probing at how betrayal can affect friendships

Writing Style 

Initially, I thought Whaley's writing style was a bit too simplistic. But then I kept reading, and that simplicity strikes you at the core. Although Whaley writes in a simple, short manner, the complex ideas he writes with those simple sentences really made me take a step back and reevaluate my life and everything I've ever done, 
"There are no boring places, only boring people." (pg. 64) 
"You'd know [if you'd fallen out of love with her]. You just have to look at your life before her and then after her and see which one you like better." (pg. 206)
I'm not the quote-keeping kind of girl...but these are beautiful quotes that just really resonated with me. 

Entertainment Value

Hooked. Absolutely hooked. The short sentences made it easy for me to understand everything, to read it through quickly or slowly, depending on what I wanted to do. The characters felt real, it felt like I was there with them. Whilst reading, I was completely lost in the book - I almost forgot to get off the train! 

Final Thoughts

Highly Illogical Behaviour is a gorgeous book with characters that just spoke to me. With a plot that is sure to entice, and with wonderful words that flow like honey, Whaley's Highly Illogical Behaviour was one of my favourite reads of 2016. I'll definitely be looking for more books like his, so if you have any recommendations, please shout them out below! 

Finally, I'll be writing another post as part of Disability Diaries, related to mental illness and Highly Illogical Behaviour - my essay on My Experience With Mental Illness. Keep an eye for it on Wednesday! 


Thoughts in a Phrase 


Keep reading and loving books!

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When I First Saw You | The Love Interest by Cale Dietrich

When I First Saw You (or WIFSY) is a meme held over by Sophie at Sailing through Books. The aim of the game is to write up a synopsis for a given cover, and then compare it to the actual cover of a book! Sounds fun right? It most definitely is! 

I have missed doing WIFSY! It's such a creative outlet for me, and it's helping me come up with more ideas for my WIP. 

Anyway, here is my contribution this week - what do you all think? 

The Book For This Week is...

The Love Interest, by Cale Dietrich

My Synopsis

"911, how can I help you?"
"There's been a murder."
"What's your location?"
The phone operator was met with the resounding dial tone. 

Lexa Lin is a hardened criminal. Part of an elite group of assassins, she's grown up knowing one thing - love kills. 
Thing is, she's never been too good at following rules. 
After all, rules shouldn't apply to being with Grant, her fellow assassin-in-arms. Withhis rugged good looks and flirty words, he defies the realm of reason and possibility - breaking one rule is nothing compared to all that.  
But then she meets Trey. Trey, the opposite of everything Grant is. A prep school boy, with everything.
And her next order? To murder Trey's father. 

Get ready for ready for one hell of a ride.
And don't kills.


The Actual Synopsis

There is a secret organization that cultivates teenage spies. The agents are called Love Interests because getting close to people destined for great power means getting valuable secrets.

Caden is a Nice: The boy next door, sculpted to physical perfection. Dylan is a Bad: The brooding, dark-souled guy, and dangerously handsome. The girl they are competing for is important to the organization, and each boy will pursue her. Will she choose a Nice or the Bad?

Both Caden and Dylan are living in the outside world for the first time. They are well-trained and at the top of their games. They have to be – whoever the girl doesn’t choose will die.

What the boys don’t expect are feelings that are outside of their training. Feelings that could kill them both.



Well...secret organisation? I WAS KIND OF RIGHT. But honestly, I like both my synopsis and the real synopsis. I'll definitely be going after The Love Interest - I'm totally in the mood for a love triangle book! Plus, it's a competition? Come on, this must be the most perfect book for me! I am a sucker for any books where there are competitions. 
But at the same time...I know how many books are out there with my synopsis, but I really like my story. I honestly want to write a whole book out of it! 

What would you have written? Do you think my synopsis was too far fetched? Did you like my synopsis? Let me know in the comments below!

And if you enjoy WIFSY - sign up with Sophie @ Sailing Through Books! It's such a wonderful meme, one of my absolute favourites, and I'd love to see more people with synopses! 

Keep reading and loving books!

Enjoyed reading this? You should definitely follow me to get more updates!