Feb 21, 2014

Book Review: Faking Normal - Courtney C. Stevens

Title: Faking Normal
Author: Courtney C. Stevens
Release Date: February 25th 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Age Group: Young Adult
Source: ARC from publisher
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.
A searing, poignant book, Faking Normal is the extraordinary debut novel from an exciting new author - Courtney C. Stevens.
Faking Normal turned out to be nothing like I thought it would. That blurb gave little clue as to what to expect, and I certainly didn't expect all these feels.
Faking normal is a skill I learned seventy-seven days ago.
I've read quite a handful of books that are similar to this, so it wasn't hard for me to guess what Alexi went through that fateful summer night, but Faking Normal differs from them all because it kept me guessing 'who' did it. I suspected everyone - and by everyone I seriously mean everyone, even her dad (messed up, I know) - so yeah, nice work, book, for keeping me confused.

Alexi is a complicated character. I questioned her way of thinking at first, because her reasons for a lot of things (this is me trying not to spoil you) were hard to fathom, and I actually thought I wouldn't understand them until the end. For most of the book it seemed like she had given up and I hated how she inflicted pain upon herself because she thought she was to blame for what happened. Her growth was slow enough to be realistic, and it truly was something to behold.

Bodee, on the other hand, is very easy to love. It's rather naive of me to say this, but I just don't think he can do anything wrong. We all knew at least one Bodee from high school: the outcast, the ignored, the forgotten. He isn't your run-of-the-mill, panty-dropping gorgeous male character, but he made me swoon. He is quiet and understanding and open-minded - just kind, proving that attitude trumps looks, any day. It was heartwarming to watch them evolve from acquaintances to friends, two broken people who found a common ground in their pain, and I really liked it when they decided to take things slow, not because it would complicate Bodee's stay in Alexi's house, but because they both knew that it wouldn't be right to start a romantic relationship with the way they were.

Faking Normal is another case of sad, beautiful, tragic, and it warmed my heart, made it bleed, and then messed with my tear ducts. A lot of lessons can be learned from this story of healing and loving one's self, and the beautiful prose doesn't hurt, either. There is a plethora of secondary characters who are just as complex and interesting as the main ones - I can give try to give you ten more reasons to pick this up but I'll go with read this!

MY FAVORITE PART was when Bodee covered the vent above Alexi's bed. My feels.


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