Humans expect a lot from each other. We like to think that we’re autonomous beings, when in reality, our choices are frequently motivated and influenced by others. In John Corey Whaley’s latest novel, he once again explores the interplay between a teen boy, his parents, and two friends (one guy, one girl). Although the title, with its nod to a certain Vulcan, may suggest science-fiction to some of you nerds out there (and I mean me), Highly Illogical Behavior is firmly grounded in the reality of human relationships; specifically, what happens when the fulfillment of one person’s ambitions or needs means the suppression of another’s.
And we have finalists! With yesterday’s announcement of the National Book Award Finalists in the Young People’s Literature category it’s really starting to feel like awards season. Last month, Karyn wrote about the longlist, observing that social conscience seemed to be a common thread among the nominees. Now that we’re down to five titles, her theory’s been reinforced.
I need to be up front about something. I loved Where Things Come Back. I know it wasn’t a favorite ’round these parts, but I was impressed with the nuance and ambition in its debut author’s writing. John Corey Whaley’s Printz-winning novel made me think and feel and had me excited to read more from him.
The high-concept plot (cryogenically frozen heads!) and the teenage angst (he’s back from the dead wants his girlfriend back too!), oh, how they intrigued and beguiled me. And oh, how I kept waiting for Noggin to deliver on the promise of its authorship. [Read more…]
You asked for it, and you have been heard! When we posted our initial list oh so long ago, you clamored for this title! And then you asked for it again when Karyn posted her comparison of the PW, SLJ, and Kirkus best lists. And now here it is.
Only here I am, and I’m still mulling over exactly what I think of it. Like Imaginary Girls, it’s a book that, for me, would absolutely require a reread for committee purposes. I spent so much time worrying over Gabriel and restraining myself from reading the last page that reviews promised me would answer all my questions that, well, I would need another read to really digest it properly. It’s a novel with a lot of threads, and I’d be taking anther look at it to make sure that I really appreciated all of those threads…if I were actually serving on Printz. For our purposes here, and in the interest of getting through that Contendas list, well, I’ll give you what I’ve got. [Read more…]