Thursday, 27 February 2014

Review: Faking Normal by Courtney C. Stevens

Faking Normal by Courtney C. Stevens
Publisher: Harper Collins Children's Books
Publication date: February 25th 2014
My rating: 4 stars 


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.

“After what I’ve been through, I’m like a burnt and crumbly cake that some sly baker covers up with beautiful icing. So even if he likes me on the outside, my inside is tasteless crap”

I’ve been on an emotional book binge lately; books which have been leaving me emotionally overwhelmed or have such sweet scenes that tug at your heart strings have been hitting the right spot.  I seem to be going through phases like this at times, and right now I don’t feel like reading anything else. Me Since You and Maybe One Day were the last beautiful heart breaking books which I read and Faking Normal has now provided another gorgeous read. I admit reading the blurb a few months back and then just deciding to give it a go whilst I had a short break at work. This was definitely the wrong time to pick the book up, as I felt my heart getting crushed in the very beginning, also I knew I wanted to spend the rest of the day in the coffee shop with this beautiful story.

Steven’s did a brilliant job in depicting the sense of loss, confusion and fear that our characters Bodee and Alexi were experiencing. I felt like I was experiencing every single emotion with them. Bodee and Alexi knew of each other through school and their mums were friends, but they never really spoke to each other, that’s until Bodee’s mum was killed and Alexi’s parents decide that he needs some stability in his life, so let Bodee stay with them for a little while. It is awkward at first for Alexi, as no one at school really talks to Bodee either, so it’s a bit difficult at having to explain that the Kool-Aid Kid is living with you. But Alexi takes it in her stride and before you know it, Bodee ends up being her anchor of strength. Because Alexi has a secret of her own too and although were given fragments of her story over the course of the book, we don’t really know how deeply she is affected by what has happened to her. Although Bodee is quiet and likes to stay in the background, he’s quick to pick up on that there’s something going on with Alexi, and being the decent guy that he is, he doesn’t force Alexi to tell him everything, but provides her the comfort and reassurance that he will be around whenever she needs him to be. And that is what Alexi needs the most, she has a great set of friends in Heather and Liz and great parents, but she’s always blamed herself since it’s happened and so Bodee couldn’t have moved in at a better time.

I adore watching the friendship bloom between Bodee and Alexi; both were able to take strength from their friendship to help them cope with their tough situations. What surprised me the most about this book was that I was able to guess something from the very beginning like who Captain Lyric was (this was a person who liked to leave lyrics on Alexi’s fourth lesson table and Alexi used to leave lyrics in return, it was a thing they had going for some time and was definitely Alexi’s highlight of her day, as Captain lyric always knew the right lyrics to write at the right time.) But then concerning the other thing, all the clues pointed to one person for who was to blame, she’d been avoiding this person since that night, their friendship that they had also not been the same, so when the truth was revealed it was a sucker punch blow.

Steven’s has really shone as a brilliant author with Faking normal, with all the contemporary books already out there, it really is hard first of all to even get on a readers radar, but then to create such a memorable read with your debut is utterly impressive. Her writing was always purposeful, poignant and so powerful. Her characters were deep and meaningful and the detail she added to her story was truly magnificent. Despite Faking Normal dealing with many tough issues, I’m sure that this will be a story that I will pick up many more times in the near future. Bodee and Alexi’s story has definitely left a mark with me which will guarantee that. 



22 comments:

  1. Emotional books are the best. Crying or just being really emotionally drained can sometimes be the best feeling! :D I was going the read this one a while back but ended up not having enough time, but I most definitely have to come back and read it!

    Wonderful review as always, luv! <33

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  2. I really enjoy books that my make me emotional and leave my heart on the floor. This book has been on my radar for awhile now; I think I will have to pick it up.

    Thanks for reviewing :)

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  3. Oh my days this sounds like a book I really really want. I've been hearing such good things about this book but I've been waiting for one review to just make me feel like saying 'what the hell, why not!' and that's yours Jasprit! This sounds so heart-achingly wonderful, I need to get my hands on it! Wonderfully written and lovely review girl :)

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    1. Aww thanks Amanda! I hope you end up enjoying this as much as I did! :)

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  4. I'm so happy you loved this as much as I did, Jasprit. I adored this book and the characters so much. I agree, Courtney Stevens did a fabulous job with her debut.
    Lovely review, Rachel.

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  5. You know, I really didn't hear that much about this one before, Jasprit, but you make a strong case for it. I've always been a sucker for the more powerful reads, and it sounds like this is perfect for me! Lovely review :)

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  6. This sounds like kind of a difficult book to read, one I'd really need to be in the mood for. However, it also sounds like a beautifully written story, one that I need to read. While I don't usually like to be put through the emotional wringer, I appreciate it after it's done.

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  7. This sounds like a powerful and emotional read, I love books that stay with you and this one sounds like an important one to put on the TBR. Lovely review hon.

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  8. "Steven’s did a brilliant job in depicting the sense of loss, confusion and fear that our characters Bodee and Alexi were experiencing." It seems right for this story, because who wouldn't feel those things in these situations. I want to see the blossoming friendship and the slow burn so bad already. Cannot wait to read this pretty and I'm so happy you enjoyed this :)

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  9. I've only read positive things about this book Jasprit, I can't wait to get my hands on it! I can tell I'm going to need to be prepared emotionally for it, but I also know this will be a book that will stay with me for a long time just as you said it would you. Love those kinds of books. So excited for Bodee and Alexi:)

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  10. Great review. <3 I'm glad you mostly enjoyed this book :D I did too. Also rated it four stars ;p I adored Bodee and Alexi. <3 Thank you for sharing and being honest :)

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  11. I absolutely adored this book as well! You put everything perfectly. This story was heartbreaking and I think the ending came as a relief because I was worried I'd never see Alexi stand up for herself.

    I think with Faking Normal, Stevens creates a very realistic situation about how rape victims deal with what happened. I for one was very glad that the author did the issue justice because I've read a couple of books that enraged me with how carelessly they dealt with the subject. It's an important issue and should be treated with a certain delicacy.

    Wonderful review, Jasprit!! :)

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  12. I'm so glad you enjoyed this one, Jasprit! I adored Alexi & Bodee's relationship in this novel and the manner in which they helped one another, but also helped themselves, was perfectly balanced. Fantastic review, dearest - I can't wait for whatever Stevens has up her sleeve next! :)

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  13. Their story left a mark on me too. I had a hard time believing this was from a debut author, because the writing was so good. So glad you loved this!

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  14. Your review leaves me more intrigued about this book than ever. It sounds a bit quirky, but quirky is good. Especially if it does help it stand out from a sea of contemporary novels. I need books to elicit some emotional response from me in order to really appreciate them, but I need to space out those books that break my heart - too hard to deal with them one after the other! I'll have to keep this one in mind when I'm ready for a more emotionally-driven read. Lovely review, Jasprit!

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  15. Now I'm curious about Captain Lyric... Thanks for sharing how much you've enjoyed reading the story. I think I'll have to get hold of a copy of the book as I wanted to find out what happened to Alexi.

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  16. Apparently I need to give Courtney Summers a try bc everyone seems to love her books. Bodee and Alexi sound like characters I would enjoy.
    Great review, Jasprit!

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  17. This one sounds absolutely fantastic! A lot of rape books go horribly wrong, but four and five star ratings have been thrown at this one, so I'm definitely excited for it! I'm glad this one really touched you in its way. Lovely review! <3

    Aimee @ Read by the Undead

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  18. What a lovely review! As you've been gravitating towards these emotional reads, I've been staying away from them. I have to be very careful about spacing them out because they hit me so hard. I'm also getting a bit tired of the "it happened once at a party/over the summer" etc. trauma plot. I don't want to trivialize this story, but I see that specific plot set up a lot. Especially with a slow reveal about what happened. However, it sounds like this story does it well. I also like the slowly developing friendship between these two characters. You've definitely made me want to pick this up now!

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  20. Awwww, for some reason blogger totally butchered my original comment :( I was saying that like you I felt sad, angry, and betrayed when the real perpetrator was revealed. I totally didn't see it coming and it hurt a lot considering I thought the guy was a cool dude! This was such a lovely review and pretty much encompassed everything I loved about this book. :) Most of all I'm glad this book spread awareness of what silent victims go through, and how much victim-blaming can affect someone so thoroughly. I'm glad it touched you as it touched me! :D

    Faye @ The Social Potato

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  21. Oh goodness, I cannot read this review yet because I'm reading the book soon (ack! so behind!) but I can tell by the lines I skimmed and your rating that this is going to be a very emotional read! I love those, so I can't wait to sink into this one. I'll be on the lookout for your GR review once I've had a chance to read/write mine.

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

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