ARC, 323 pages
Release Date: February 25, 2014
Published by: HarperTeen
Source: Around the World ARC Tours
For fans of: Contemporary, Romance, Realistic Fiction, Religion, Tear-Jerkers, YA
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 have so many thoughts about this book. And none of them involve what I was expecting when I had just read the synopsis a long time ago. But I'm happy about that. Because of that, I was able to just really enjoy this and not go into it thinking that I knew too much.
"'Sometimes life just sucks."
pg. 65 (ARC)
When I found out about this book I was in the middle of a contemporary fiction with bigger issue phase. And when I heard about this one, I quickly added it to my TBR pile. But this one's bigger issue was a lot bigger than I thought it would be. It touches on religion, abuse, and love. And I say love because as a teen, being in love is a bigger issue. And what I loved about this novel is that Stevens wrote about all these issues in such a realistic way. I felt like I was watching this all play out in front of me instead of just the words in my head.
"'Mom and Dad believe they invited Bodee into our home to help him, but the truth is, he's helping me."
pg. 97 (ARC)
This brings me to another thing that I loved about this novel. Stevens' writing style. Her writing is beautiful and lyrical. So much so that I found myself closing the back flap and even reading the acknowledgements because I wanted to continue reading her writing. She has the type of writing that you find yourself hanging on every word because you don't want to miss anything. It sort of flows all together, like a song.
"'Love is awkward sometimes."
pg. 120 (ARC)
As for the romance in this one, I LOVED it. And Bodee gets an A+, Seal of Approval, and everything else from me. He was there for her through everything and he knew exactly what she needed, even when she didn't. He helped her overcome so much in that short time, and I was so thankful that she had someone. Because that's what she needed. And it was obvious because he drew it right out of her. With his support, she was able to conquer her demon.
"'Easy is empty."
pg. 298 (ARC)
The person that did that to her stole away her ability to love and I'm so happy that she gained not one, but so many more people after she lost him. With her being able to look at him all the time, she was so brave. I think that Stevens did a great job of keeping the attacker away from the reader, but I was able to figure out who it was. But all the same, the effect was not lost.
"It won't come with a bow on it, but God'll tie it up."
pg. 308 (ARC)
This novel realistically shows that life isn't always perfect. It gives a harsh look into certain issues that some teens face: love, lies, abuse, and religion. I absolutely loved this novel and am looking forward to anything else that Stevens may write. Especially Bodee's tale, "The Blue Haired Boy," that comes out in March.
Overall, I give this