Author: Courtney C. Stevens
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Shelves: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publication Date: February 25th, 2014
Source: HarperTeen for review
Format: Physical ARC
Synopsis: Alexi's life changed that one summer, at that one innocent party. Now she tries to hide the scars in her mind by covering them with a smile, If normal for her best friends and her family. Enter Bodee Lennox, a quiet boy with his own demons. Together, they will fight through the toughest battles and cross the roughest oceans to finally find their own peace- and they find that together, love is the best weapon against a war with yourself.
Review: Faking Normal started off as a very slow and rocky book for me. Perhaps it was the unusual narration, because Alexi was a character that took a while to get used to. However, it really picked up as the story went on, and I ended up really loving this beautifully written novel.
Characters: Alexi bothered me a bit because of the way I couldn't exactly pinpoint her social standing. It's very hard for me to imagine a girl with such a traumatizing and devastating past, as the girl who dates football players and parties in her spare time. Alexi frustrated me when she tried to come across as a misunderstood loner, while the most popular guys in school were taking her on dates. I blame it on Alexi's friends who were to be quite honest, a bad influence. These girls grew up in a very religious town, and both Alexi and her friend Liz's families valued their church. But the frequency which the girls spoke about sex and parties with made me dubious of why this religious aspect was even incorporated into the novel. As a very religious Christian myself, I would hope that these small town girls who grew up in the Lord would have better morals and ethics. In contrast to my vexation towards Alexi and her friends, I loved, loved Bodee. He was a perfect gentleman, and I even found myself wishing that Faking Normal could have been his story, instead of Alexi's. Bodee is just one of those gentle souls that everyone should aspire to be like, especially Alexi and her friends.
Writing: I've had the pleasure of speaking to Courtney C. Stevens through Twitter and email, and I can wholeheartedly say that the kindness and passion she has for everyone shows through her wonderful writing. I started off not liking Alexi, but as the story went on, I felt myself drawn into her pain and heartache. Alexi's and Bodee's relationship made my heart melt. It just goes to show how much one person, friend, lover, or otherwise can mean to a person. With Faking Normal, I feel like I have finally found a story where the escape is not (only) through romance, but through love for another human being. Courtney's writing is both sorrowful and uplifting, and she really delivers a powerful novel with an equally powerful impact.
Storyline/Plot: At first, Faking Normal moves at a slow pace. To be honest, many of my questions were left unanswered until the very end of the novel. But as you start to get past those beginning chapters, you will feel yourself drawn more and more into the story. Faking Normal is a very simple story that is quite easy to follow.
Conclusion: What a beautiful novel full of both love and darkness. Courtney really blew me out of the park, and the impact it will leave on any reader is unforgettable.