[ARC Review] Faking Normal

Monday, February 24, 2014

Title: Faking Normal
Author: Courtney C. Stevens
Series: Standalone
Genre: YA Contemporary
Format: Hardcover, 336 pages
Release Date: February 25th 2014
Publisher: HarperCollins Children's Books
Source: ARC received from publisher in exchange for an honest review

Amazon | Indigo | TBD | Goodreads

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.

Faking Normal is one of those contemporary YA novels that has a lot of hype behind it and for me that can be the death of a book. When too many people tell me that a book is great and will change everything, I go in with squinted eyes knowing that it will probably let me down, but this book did no such thing. Although there seems to be a mix of reviews going around, I really enjoyed this book for many reasons, and one of them being the characters.

Alexi is the main character and the narrator of this story, and the reason I loved her so much is because she was real and a little unreliable. I love reading unreliable characters like Alexi because you have no idea what they are really up to and if they are keeping us readers in the dark on purpose or not. And what I think I liked the most was the secret that Alexi kept from everyone, even us wasn't really even a secret, it was more of a shameful event that she cannot get over, no matter what she does. I had issue with this secret and that was when it was revealed what it was and who took part I found myself saying "huh" a lot. I am in no way taking away from the trauma that definitely comes from circumstances such as the ones in this book, but for me it just seemed lack luster in some way. I don't think I understood why Alexi did not stop it while it was happening, that part was not explained enough for me. But that being said, Alexi character was one of my favorites because she grew so much in this book and I honestly think it was because of her relationship with Bodee.

Alexi and Bodee both have pasts that they would wish away in a second that for that reason they seem to understand a part of each other that no one ever has. Their relationship is slow building and builds on an existing friendship which leads to more intense feelings, and I loved that. They were not the center of the story, yet it was Bodee that catapults Alexi into the real world and makes her relive everything that had happened to her. He was so sweet and always there for her, even when his own demons began to take over. They complimented each other so well and I found myself rooting for them over the course of the novel.

The secondary character were very thin in places but one that I loved was Alexi's sister. She was cast as beautiful, engaged and having the perfect life. Although some might roll their eyes at this type of character, when you juxtapose her character against someone like Alexis you get a very interesting picture of a family that decides to overlook the bad and only focus on the good.

The end of this book did not make me as satisfied as I wished it would. I wanted so much more than what I got. There was some resolution but then again there was none. Even though the secret was revealed to some, it was not to others and I wanted to see those reactions more than anyone because during the entire book it seemed like they would not understand, but in the end I will never know and that makes me a little upset. I wanted more closure than I received.

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