I have a feeling this book will stay with me for quite a long time.
Coming off my Outlander high, I wanted a quicker read. Preferably lighter too. I’ve been seeing this title in the book blogging circles and it has rave reviews on GoodReads. After seeing it over 5 times in one day, I added it to my TBR. Realistic fiction is an up and coming YA subgenre that is winning over readers left and right. It is a nice break from all the dystopian, paranormal, and science fiction flooding our shelves.
Faking Normal is the debut novel of Courtney C. Stevens. It’s a story about Alexi Littrell, a teenager whose life changed in one summer. She keeps the events of that summer a secret from everyone until Bodee Lennox comes along. And he has is own tragedy. The book starts out at his mother’s funeral. Known in school as the “Kool-Aid kid next door” because of his Kool-Aid-dyed hair, he would also be known by another stigma… his father killed his mother. Both Alexi and Bodee are damaged individuals but together, they start to heal each other.
Provided that things start to unfold only towards the end of the book, I must say it was predictable. At least to me, it was. Everything about it was predictable. It has your token cliche characters. And it tends to get cheesy – like, fanfiction cheesy. But surprisingly, I didn’t hate it. The characters were engaging; Alexi and Bodee are so likeable. Bodee is not your average misfit, not your average boy-next-door. He’s somewhere in between and I found him so genuine and sweet. I could imagine falling for someone like him in real life. Alexi is just a normal girl trying to get through life with a not-so-average secret. She did a good job of hiding it all from the world but it was scary how lonely she felt. You might ask, “How can the parents not notice?” Well, some are just really good at suppressing things, at “faking normal”. And each time they lie, they die a little bit inside. Bodee, even with his own baggage, saw through all of Alexi’s walls. By helping her, he helped himself.
Kayla and Heather were those cliche characters, you see them in most YA chic lit. They’re so easy to hate. It’s the same in this book. Kayla is self-centered and Heather has no remorse. But everyone gets their happy ending except these two. Alexi has another friend, Liz, who is pretty much just there but she ends up grounding all the rest of the characters.
Faking Normal raw and tragic. Bodee is the light at the end of the tunnel and is just a joy to read about. It’s a very heartwarming story of struggle and survival. It does get better. It really does.
Rating: 4/5. It’s a quick read with a heavy subject matter.