Faking Normal by Courtney C. Stevens
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 don’t read a lot of novels that deal with serious issues because they make me question my faith in humanity. But then I saw some raving reviews for this one from reviewers I trust, and I couldn’t help but add it to my wishlist. I picked it up as soon as I found it in the bookstore.
After reading this one, I think it’ll be one of those books that just sticks with you for a while. The emotional and powerful writing will really draw you in. And once you’ve been lured into the book, you’ll be surprised at how well-developed the characters are–each story they share has depth and much meaning.
I’ll admit: I went into this one expecting a damaged girl to be comforted by a cute and lovable guy. While that idea was present in the story, what I got was so much more. Both characters had their own stories to tell, lives to fix and problems to deal with. They were both damaged and scarred, and they needed each other.
Alexi was a wonderful heroine. Now, that doesn’t mean she’s perfect. She was quite the opposite, actually. She tore at her skin to mask the emotional pain she felt and closed her mind and heart to basically everyone. But she was very considerate of everyone, no matter how much they’ve hurt her, despised her or made her life harder. She was broken in more ways than one, but she accepted it. She tried her best to move on, even if she knows that it’s emotionally impossible.
Normally, I have issues about girls not immediately voicing out their abuses, but Alexi’s ways of dealing and reasons for keeping to herself were just so realistic that I didn’t have a problem with her silence.
Then we have the freaking amazing Bodee. Trust me, this is one character you’ll need in your life. Despite having his own problems that he needed to deal with, he supported Alexi whenever he could, however he could. He was the best friend anyone could ever ask for. He stood up for her and constantly thought about what would be best for her. He was like this huge teddy bear that you could tell all your problems to without it judging you!
The romance was just so fantastic. It was slow, and there was so much room for development that was all filled up nicely. They went from being strangers, to friends, to best friends, and then to something much more. It was sweet and just absolutely lovely to read about.
This part of the review may contain minor spoilers. The only reason I didn’t give this one five stars was probably because of how rushed the “coming out” seemed to me. I thought the dealt to quickly with the problem and let the culprit (who was an easy guess, honestly) just, well, go. I get why they probably don’t want to harm him, but still. He was an ass and he deserves some jail time.
Overall, this was such a powerful read that brought out so many emotions: “kilig,” as we Filipinos would say, love, strength, hatred, frustration and basically all of the other emotions out there. I would recommend it to almost anyone looking for a read that will crawl its way into your heart.