BOOK REVIEW – Faking normal (Faking Normal #1) by Courtney C. Stevens

BOOK REVIEW – Faking normal (Faking Normal #1) by  Courtney C. StevensFaking Normal (Faking Normal #1)
by Courtney C. Stevens
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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.

○ ● ⊕  Stereotypes – Peeves. But Scary and Real : While this book was far from flawless, I can’t deny it’s one of the best handle of abuse issues I read lately. ⊕ ● ○

▣ A person or thing that conforms to a widely held but oversimplified image of the class or type to which they belong.

Slut-shaming – That’s a shame because it was really – as usual – completely unnecessary. There’s this girl, Maggie, who bears the cost of being neither Alexi’s friend nor a main character of the story, and I must admit that I was mad at the way her behavior toward guys is portrayed. I mean, why create such character, whose only mean seems to be compared to the pure Alexi? Fortunately this was rare, but sentences like this : “Maggie. She was there.” when talking about sex tend to annoy me someting fierce.

Unoriginal plot : Just look at it, okay? Some teenager girl who’s got issues since last summer – something happened during a party, near a pool, think alcohol, excitation. Well, I’m not going to tell you what it is because I’m nice like that, but I can bet that you’ve already guessed what happened to her. Not the most original plot possible in contemporary YA (or even in NA, for that matter), don’t you think? Exactly.

▣ A cause of annoyance

God says this, God thinks that : So. I’ll only say it once : No offense to all of you who believe in God. Seriously. But as I’m not a believer, these constant references to God irked me. Yes, that upset me when a character I love is compared to God, like here : “I know these two weeks have been God walking right into my life like he was flesh and Kool-Aid-colored hair. The gospel according to Bodee Lennox. His safety. His protection. And love.”

Please, just don’t do this. Meh. Meh. Meh. I don’t want religious things in my YA. I loved Bodee. Please. He’s not a God walking, for Pete’s sake. He’s an incredible BOY.

Alexi’s personality : I really, really, struggled to relate to her. But then, I never lived what she had to deal with, so can I really judge? I don’t know.

① Frightening; causing fear
② Uncannily striking or surprising

What says your unconscious? : this story scared me in a weird level. Have you ever thought about what we all forget from our childhood? How many events do we lose in the meanderings of our minds? Have you ever wondered what was carefully hidden in each and every one of us? Because I have. When I take a look at my childhood, I’m always bewildered to realize that several years have just – disappeared. Completely. Nothing happened to me and I’m pretty sure I’m a balanced person enough but what happens if that’s not the case? The fact that events from childhood can influence our lives without being aware of it is plain scary to me. Moreover, I could picture what Alexi was doing to herself. So much that it made me physically cringe. Hurting her neck, hiding in her closet, faking, pretending – I saw her, under her shell, under all the layers behind which she started hiding. As for Bodee, what can I say except that my teenage self might have fell in love with him? This Kool-Aid guy, whose color hair changes every day and whose loss left him broken, but who tries to go forward whatever it takes? I adored him.

REAL. Adj.
① Used to emphasize the significance or seriousness of a situation.
②(Of a thing) not imitation or artificial; genuine.

But what made this book so much better than the regular New Adult which deals with similar issues is the absence of this awful twist, aka, the healing sex/making out. Yes Bodee and Alexi are hurting – Yes they’re all kind of broken, even if for different reasons. Yes they’re going to help each other. But that’s not a dumb Love heals Anything story in my opinion.

No. Talking helps. Trusting helps. Having a friend helps. Learning to stop coping and thinking of ourselves helps. Standing for ourselves helps. At some point, I couldn’t help but think Yes, THIS is real. This is how it goes.

So much better than a healing dick, for Pete’s sake.

Right? Because there might be romance in it, this is never the real deal. No. The real deal, that’s this liberating moment when Alexi yells. Finally.

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1 Comment

  1. I’m torn on whether I want to read this after your review. It’s hard to do religious subject matter well in YA, and it usually turns me off big time. There have been a few exceptions, but the idea of God sending a boy in to heal a girl is about as gag-worthy as it comes. Still, you had some nice things to say. Might put this one on my “maybe” pile.

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