Book Title: Faking Normal
Author: Courtney C. Stevens
Release Date: February 25th, 2014
Genre: YA Contemporary
Synopsis from Goodreads:
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.
A searing, poignant book, Faking Normal is the extraordinary debut novel from an exciting new author-Courtney C. Stevens.
Disclaimer: I received this e-ARC from HarperTeen via Edelweiss in exchange for my honest review.
This book took me on an emotional ride from start to finish. This debut is an amazing one and Courtney Stevens manages to capture everything just perfectly. Books like this tend to be some of my absolute favorites and this one was no exception.
Over the summer things abruptly changed for Alexi. Now, in order to keep her secret quiet, she must act normal. Act like everything is okay. But it’s not okay. She seeks comfort in scratching her neck to try and dull the pain she’s dealing with. She retreats to her safe haven, her closet whenever she can
Her friends Heather and Liz have no idea what’s going on and Alexi knows she can’t tell them. It would ruin everything for them as well. Alexi believes that she can keep this secret because she doesn’t want her friends and family to have their worlds turned upside down as well.
Then comes Bodee Lennox. He was an unexpected surprise. He had his own demons to deal with and yet he was willing to help Alexi with hers.Slowly but surely Alexi begins to open up to him in a way that she hasn’t been able to open up to anyone since the summer.
In so many YA books, authors put certain topics as taboo topics. Yet Courtney does not. These teenagers talk about sex openly and not in a disgusting way. There’s no pressure to be in love before you have sex so it doesn’t get all preachy, which I am extremely thankful for.
Before Alexi realizes it, she’s grown stronger emotionally and she’s ready to tell the world what happened. Even if it ruins the lives of her family and friends. She knows now that she has to do it. Bodee is the reason behind it. He encourages her to come forward with what she knows. He knows she doesn’t want to but he also knows that she needs to tell everyone so she can begin the healing process.
As much as this story was about Alexi and her journey to begin the healing process, this story was also about Bodee and how he was going to be his mom’s voice unlike before. Bodee was the standout character in this book. I loved him. Like a lot. He was amazing and the way he cared about Alexi was sweet without being cheesy.
I absolutely didn’t like her older sister Kayla. She seemed very immature for being 8 years older than Alexi. Yet at the end of this book, she turned into the sister that Alexi desperately deserved which of course made me really happy.
Before I forget, I need to gush about the writing for a bit. How absolutely gorgeous it was. It reminded me a lot of Katja Millay’s writing but Courtney still maintained her own voice in her writing. So it was beautiful, reminiscent of Katja Millay’s writing but it was still unique which I really loved.
This book had all the feels and the amazing characters in it. It was an indescribable book. I am sure I’ll have a hangover from this book for awhile. It was that amazing and sob inducing. So sob inducing in fact that I ran out of kleenex and had to sob in my sweatshirt sleeve. Five stars to this amazing contemporary debut.