Faking Normal

Faking Normal by Courtney C. Stevens

a standalone
published on February 25th 2014 by HarperCollins Children’s Books
contemporary | romance

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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.

REVIEW

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.

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Let’s discuss! Have you read this book? If you have, what did you think of it? If you haven’t, will you be picking it up anytime soon?
SIG - Aimee
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38 thoughts on “Review: Faking Normal by Courtney C. Stevens

  1. We rated this the same. I thought that Alexi, even though some will seemingly thing is weak, was actually strong. She rallied all those emotions within herself but still found the courage to make it right in the end. Lovely review, Aimee!

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  2. “I went into this one expecting a damaged girl to be comforted by a cute and lovable guy” That’s pretty much what I am expecting too, but it’s great to hear that there is so much more to this story. Plus I love a book that can make you think and isn’t easily forgettable.And slow building romance? Love the sound of that!

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  3. I’ve seen both positive and negative reviews for this, but mostly positive. I have no doubt that I’d appreciate this book, but I know I’ll have to be in a very specific mood to read it. I’m really glad to hear you liked it, though!

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  4. I avoid deep and gritty books sometimes too…I mean, I DO like them, but they always tear up my soul and then how am I supposed to live when my feels have been shredded by an ominous paperback book?? It’s very difficult. I’ve seen a lot of raving reviews for this, so, oh gosh, I might just have to brave up and have a go.

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  5. Sounds like this was an all-around fab read. I love books that make you feel a wide-range of emotions because it usually means that the author hit their mark. Thanks for the review, I probably wouldn’t have picked this one up otherwise.

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  6. After seeing all the rave reviews, I admit I regret not picking this up from Edelweiss when I could because I thought it wasn’t going to be anything special :x But I love how Alexi sounds, you don’t get a lot of considerate MCs who is so aware and tries to move on from her issues. Bodee sounds a bit like Levi from Fangirl haha!

    Thanks for the great review Aimee! I’m definitely going to check this out from the library when it’s available :)

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    1. I didn’t, either, so I got it when it was released, hehe! Alexi was a fantastic heroine and I loved her unique voice. Think of Bodee as a more damaged, less talkative version of Levi, lol! <3

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  7. This sounds pretty promising :D I didn’t really pay much attention to it when I first saw this book, mostly because I didn’t really click with the cover. But I like how this book deals with serious topic in real life and how empowering it is to have characters as strong as Alexi and as supportive as Bodee, and of course, I wouldn’t ever want to miss out on this heartwarming romance.

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    1. I didn’t like the cover, either! A few other people I’ve talked to seem to like it, though. Whoop, I hope you love Alexi, Bodee and their super sweet romance, Angel! <3

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  8. Although I wasn’t blown away, I admit that I really think that this book delivered the theme quite well. I also connected with Alexi, you can really feel her struggles and understand why she kept silence. And yes, Bodee is freaking amazing, can’t wait ti read the novella. Awesome review Aimee. <3

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  9. So glad to know that you enjoyed this! This book really took me by surprise; I just loved Alexi and Bodee. You-know-who certainly deserved jail time, though, I agree.

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  10. I actually didn’t finish this one. I hate to say “dnf” but, I left it halfway through because I honestly just couldn’t deal with it. I hope to go back to it someday, but it was just horrible (not bad, just horrible subject) that I do try and stay away from, too. I love angsty reads, but when there’s serious, serious subjects like this, there’s always an undertone of religion involved, which usually ruins it for me. But what I read was great, and definitely emotional, but waaaay out of my comfort zone. I totally adored Bodee though <3 Great review! :)

    Kirsty @ StudioReads

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  11. I’m so glad that you decided to give this book a go Aimee, it was such a gorgeously written book with such great characters! I adored Bodee and just how much he was able to help Alexi when everyone else seemed a bit oblivious. This book certainly surpassed all my expectations! Lovely review as always!

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  12. i’m like you in the whole “losing faith in humanity if i read serouis issue books” but i still tend to read them LOL (maybe i like to torture myself?) but i’ve also heard some mixed things about this one so i’m TORN lol i don’t know if i s hould or not.

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    1. Same here, haha! Maybe it’s because we readers love us some angst! <3 It's definitely a well-written novel, but I guess it depends on the readers' perspective if everything else is to their liking. :)

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  13. Eep I really want to read this one now! I was originally going to read it a while ago but totally ran out of time. I love the sound of this romance!

    Lovely review! <33

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  14. Ah yes, I completely agree with you! This really was a beautiful book and for once, the way Alexi kept silent didn’t bother me like it normally would. The way she handled it just felt so real.

    Great review, Aimee! <33

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  15. I’ve seen mixed reviews for this one so I’m excited to see your review! I’m wary coming into tough issue books as well, but I love books that stay with you. I’ve heard so many raves about Bodee, so I’m excited to see him! :) Great review Aimee!

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  16. I’m so unsure about reading this book, honestly. There are too many rave reviews for me to be interested, you know? I feel like if I read the book and then not like it as much as everyone else that it will make me a bad person. This happens to me all the time, though. I’ll read a popular and well-liked book and not like it as much as others. I hate writing a negative review for a book that has pretty much only gotten positive reviews.

    Okay, I’m getting way off topic here, so back to the review.

    I always love your reviews, Aimee, because they’re so straight forward and to the point, which I love! I’m appreciative that I can depend on you to point out a book’s weaknesses and strengths. I’m a lot more “prepared,” I should say, to go into a book after I’ve read your review. And I’ve never had any problems with major spoilers from you, which is a big deal to me. I hate spoilers with a fiery passion.

    So thank you for this review! I think I’m definitely going to check out this book and put it higher up on my TBR since you liked it. (:

    Tori @ YA Book Queens

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  17. Aw, don’t worry about not loving it, Tori! I’m always the black sheep and am totally fine with it. Of course, I get disappointed, but I do like having a different perspective from everyone else. :)

    Thanks so much, Tori! I really do try to make sure everything I thought from the book’s in my review, without spoilers. Thanks again–no seriously, I appreciate it a lot! <33

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  18. I KNOW RIGHT, THE ENDING WAS SO UNRESOLVED. I was like, I WANT TO SEE SOME PUNISHMENT! #Filch. But I did read an interview where the author said that she didn’t want to make the focus on the crime, but more so on the growth of Alexi’s character, so that’s why she didn’t deal with it in the book. Which is fair enough I guess.

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