Book Review : Faking Normal by Courtney C. Stevens

February 25, 2014 Book review 6 ★★★★

Faking Normal did a great job of capturing a realistic teen’s voice.  It felt raw and honest and while reading I was totally submerged into the pain that the main character felt.

Book Review : Faking Normal by Courtney C. StevensFaking Normal by Courtney C. Stevens
Published by HarperCollins on 25 Feb 2014
Genres: Friendship, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 336
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Buy on Amazon

An edgy, realistic, and utterly captivating novel from an exciting new voice in teen fiction.

Alexi Littrell hasn't told anyone what happened to her over the summer. Ashamed and embarrassed, she hides in her closet and compulsively scratches the back of her neck, trying to make the outside hurt more than the inside does.

When Bodee Lennox, the quiet and awkward boy next door, comes to live with the Littrells, Alexi discovers an unlikely friend in "the Kool-Aid Kid," who has secrets of his own. As they lean on each other for support, Alexi gives him the strength to deal with his past, and Bodee helps her find the courage to finally face the truth.

First Line of Faking Normal:

“Black funeral dress.”

My thoughts on Faking Normal:

This one is really good!  First off it did a great job of maintaining suspense though out the book.  You know something BAD happened Alexi during the summer but you quickly figure out what it is but not who it was.  There are clues and red herrings but nothing is confirmed until near the end of the book.   I felt this really added to the story as it made you pay attention to the little stuff that turned out to be the big stuff.

I was annoyed by Alexi’s friend Heather!  She is shallow and immature and just plain silly.  However I do think she represents a stage that some teenagers go through; that stage where labels and appearance are all that matters.  Her heart is in the right place but I hate that Alexi let her make wrong choices for her at times.

However in fairness Alexi makes wrong decisions all by herself too.  She doesn’t know how to say no.  I was so frustrated with her at times but I empathised.  I hope any girl reading this will be given the courage to find their voice and say no whenever they want to.  This part of the story is the part that cut me like a knife, I can’t relate but I can relate.  It sounds like a contradiction but I can see how it happened as much as I didn’t want to.

But Bodee I loved.  Ok, I never really got why he dyed his hair with Kool-Aid, it felt like a bit of plot devise to make him seem quirky but once I got over that he shone.  I loved that he was awkward and shy but on the inside where no one ever looked he was wise and tender way beyond his years.  I loved how this storyline was as far from insta-love as you can get.  It was slow, tentative and faltering but exactly the right path and pace for both Bodee and Alexi.

I thought the writing was clever too.  I have loads of quotes highlighted and I enjoyed the unusual turn of phrases used at times.  They stopped me in my tracks and made me pause for a minute just to appreciate them.

“Sometimes the lies I tell Heather aren’t little and white.  They’re a dab of honey-beige foundation applied to the blemishes of my life.”

One thing I didn’t like was the religious references.  They are discreet enough but unnecessary in my opinion.   Thankfully there wasn’t too many of them but it’s just something that grates on me a bit on books.

Overall, this one gets a big thumbs up.  The sensitive subject matter is handled in an authentic, true voice.  The characters are complex and realistic and drew me.   From anger to affection, I really got the full rainbow of feels from this book.


Rating Report
Did I feel it?
Overall: four-stars


Who should read Faking Normal?

I recommend this one to those who like to read realistic, contemporary fiction.  Especially those who are looking for books that cover social issues and who like character led books.  Or if you are looking for messy, raw and real; then try this one.

Thanks to Edelweiss and HarperCollins Publishers for giving me a copy of the book in exchange for an honest, unbiased review


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6 Responses to “Book Review : Faking Normal by Courtney C. Stevens”

  1. acps927

    Good to see you liked this one! This really isn’t the type of book I’d normally pick up, but the author’s local and I actually have seen her before, so I feel I might try to pick it up sometime.
    acps927 recently posted…My Top 10 Book Heroines

    • trish

      I always like to try local authors too; feels good to give them a shot. Hope you enjoy it if you pick it up.

    • trish

      The relationship was just so cute. And I loved how they were friends first and really, really talked to each other. So sweet.

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