Title: Faking Normal
Author: Courtney C. Stevens
Genre: Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, Abuse, Romance (+some mystery)
Published On: February 25th 2014
Publisher: HarperCollins Children's Books
My Rating: 4 Stars
"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."
I was expecting something a little darker, maybe even moodier, when I picked up this book, and even though it was lighter than I expected, I still fell in love with Faking Normal.
Alexi seems like a normal, functioning teenage girl, except she’s not. She’s hiding something, something that brings her to her closet nearly every night to scratch the back of her neck or to count the slashes in the vent above her bed.
Faking Normal opens to a scene at a funeral for Bodee’s mom (a friend of Alexi’s mom), who was murdered by his father. Bodee is a student at Alexi’s high school, and at the funeral Alexi reaches out to him, somewhat unexpectedly. With Bodee’s help, Alexi starts to confront her problems, and even helps Bodee through his troubles as well.
I adored this book, especially Bodee and Alexi’s friendship. It was easy, natural, and it was so adorable and cute. Bodee was the sweetest guy and a great friend to Alexi.
Alexi was a little bit hard to like at times, mostly because, despite having her problems, I felt like she should have been a little stronger. I understand why she wasn’t, and how she couldn’t say no, but it still bothered me that she didn’t stand up for herself. Even in pretty harmless situations, she still went along with things she didn’t want to do. For the most part, I did like her character though, especially when she was around Bodee.
I wasn’t expecting the ending, or rather the person revealed to have raped her. I thought it was someone else for half the book, and the other half, I was completely unaware. I liked the fact that it surprised me, but I also hated how normal Alexi managed to act around this person, how even though she felt so affected by what happened, yet showed no signs when around him. She was more skittish around the people who didn’t hurt her than around the one who did. This made no sense to me, and it felt off in the end.
Overall, this was a fairly light read, though it dealt with a very serious issue. I’d recommend this book to fans of Speak by Anderson, Ellen Hopkins’ Books, or books that deal with real issues. Faking Normal was emotional, but managed to make me laugh and smile, kept me interested till the last page.