Faking Normal, by Courtney C. Stevens
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary, Romance, Abuse, Mystery
Rating: 5/5 stars
Publication: February 25, 2014, by HarperCollins
Format: Hardcover Edition (Borrowed)
Goodreads Summary: 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.
There aren't many books out there that you can look back at and say: Whoa, this book has changed my life. Well, at least that's for me. There aren't many books out there that have changed the way I look at life. But there are those few that are so inspirational, so beautiful, so moving, that you feel like you want to re-read it over and over again because it's amazing. And Faking Normal is one of those books.
"You're going to be okay," he says, and squeezes my hand. I watch as he leaves the den and climbs the steps to the bonus room. Maybe Bodee's not really a teenager. Maybe he's an old man trapped in a sixteen-year-old body. Then again, he did knock the shit out of Hayden."
I'm going to say one thing first: This book will be the next Speak. And I'm serious about that. Laurie Halse Anderson's Speak was an unbelievably beautiful read that I picked up last year. It dealt with the tough subject of rape and belonging, just like this one did. But I feel that Faking Normal isn't copying Speak or is trying to make some big story out of it-- it's a read that causes so much emotion in people that some just can't handle it anymore because it's just so heart-breaking and touching at the same time. And now, what books really do that to readers?
Alexi has been through a lot, but she keeps it all inside of her, not ready to put it out into the world. She got raped, raped by someone she dearly loved like part of the family. But she's not ready for the world to know it, and she doesn't want anything to happen to that person because he's like family. And family is important, right? When Bodee Lennox's mom dies, he moves in with Alexi and her family. At school, Bodee is known as the weird and awkward kid, the kid with the "Kool-Aid hair." But for real, he's Alexi's best friend, the one who eventually figures out the secret. But how is Alexi able to keep it up, to hold the truth inside?
You see, Alexi was the type of person who was afraid. And I don't blame her in the kind of situation that she was in. In Speak, Melinda (or Malinda or whatever her name was) dealt with her situation in an even worse way than Alexi did. Melinda didn't speak at all. She kept everything so much inside and didn't let anyone confront her about it. Alexi had Bodee, and that's such a beautiful friendship and connection they had. I'm super envious of them, let me tell you. Thanks to Bodee, she brightened up and forgot about things for a while. She learnt how to deal with those situations that you're to afraid to even admit that you're afraid. She was all cooped up inside, but her best friend helped her see the bright side and let the world know that she's not afraid.
And for that, I seriously want to shed a tear for Alexi, again. I cried for this girl, I laughed with this girl, and I felt sympathy for this girl. Alexi's voice felt real, and Courtney C. Stevens is surely basing this book on the lives of real young teenagers out there, who aren't able to spread their message because they're also afraid. And being afraid is okay, as long as you eventually let someone know. Alexi was lucky, you see. For Bodee being the person he was, I also want to shed a tear for him. He's also a real person, and I just wish that I could meet him. He's based on the best friends of people out there who don't trust others except those. And together, Alexi and Bodee make such a beautiful couple. They were truly beautiful characters.
So you probably get that I loved this idea. I don't know how, but Stevens managed to get readers to cry and scream and laugh and fangirl with the characters of this book. It was perfect, and gorgeous.
The story was amazing. This isn't a depressing story until the late middle where we find out the truth about everything. At first, I actually was wondering what would be the main point of this book because it was so secretive and vaguely was mentioned in the synopsis. But it came and it left us crying and wanting more. That's the stunning thing about these type of books. They leave you with emotion.
The romance was also amazing. We were surprised, and we were predicting things that actually went the whole other way around. But in the end, Bodee and Alexi made the best couple. They actually understood each other and loved each other the way a lot of couples don't. The surrounding characters couldn't even understand the love that the two had for each other because it was just so special and secretive. And that's the kind of love we all want. It was true love from the beginning, not a booty-call.
Unlike other books, I felt for this book, so dearly. For these types of things, we need to spread the word. After reading this book, it becomes so easy to understand how horrible some people in the world are. They do things to people who want to be loved for real. I recommend this book 110% and beyond. Instead of blabbing about the precise storyline and all, I talked about my feelings, because they went crazy during this book into levels that they've never went to.
Please, I'm begging you, pick up this book. It's for everyone. And it's for the people who want to be loved, because I feel like this book sure loved me. :)
"I realize I'm holding my breath as I wait for him to finish his sentence." "I won't let anyone hurt you." If a heart can smile, mine does.