Summary: 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). But how can she prove she deserves a spot there? Solomon is the answer. Determined to “fix” Sol, Lisa thrusts herself into his life, sitting through Star Trek marathons with him and introducing him to her charming boyfriend Clark. Soon, all three teens are far closer than they thought they’d be, and when their walls fall down, their friendships threaten to collapse, as well.
My Review: The novel is told in alternating chapters between Lisa and Solomon. Solomon is an amazing character. His parents seem a bit too good to be true (they don’t seem phased by much of what he does) and his grandmother is a wonderful secondary character. Solomon hasn’t left his house since a massive panic attack had him taking a dip into the school’s fountain. He is homeschooled and keeps himself occupied by reading and watching TV. The description of his panic attacks are one of the most realistic I have ever read. At one point, I had to place the book down because his panic attack was making me anxious. I live with anxiety disorder and am always wary when someone writes about it. John Corey Whaley got it dead on. The various attacks and coping mechanisms that Solomon uses are scaringly accurate.
Lisa is a character you are supposed to dislike and I did. She has stereotypical teen fiction parents; an absent father and a mess of a mother. All she wants to do is get out of her town and she has no problem using Solomon to get into the college of her choice. She begins to see Solomon more as a friend than an essay subject, but she annoyed me for most of the novel. In my opinion, her apology felt like a combination of her being truly sorry and being found out and having to tell Solomon the truth of why they met in the first place.
Clark is a fun secondary character, but I would have liked to have him been more fleshed out. I never get a real sense of who he really is and what he thinks or feels in the book. He has a very forgiving and genial nature, but it bothers me that he doesn’t tell Lisa’s secret throughout the novel. I know it’s because he is being loyal to his girlfriend and I appreciate that, but based on the morality of his character, it seems odd.