Review: Faking Normal – Courtney Stevens

Review: Faking Normal – Courtney StevensFaking Normal by Courtney C. Stevens
Published by HarperCollins
Published: February 25th 2014
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four-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.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

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First thing first, Faking Normal far exceeded my expectations. I obviously knew I wanted to read it as the description sounds emotional and deep and a pretty great concept of a book, and I wouldn’t have requested an advanced copy if I wasn’t interested, but even starting the book I didn’t let myself expect much. I was just rolling with it, even when the unexpected God theme popped up. But I have to tell you Stevens really did a remarkable job with telling this story of hurt and healing and I’m really excited that I read it.

Faking Normal is about Alexi, a high school junior that was completely changed over the summer and is hiding it from everyone. Something happened to her and she won’t talk about it. Instead she hides in her closet and takes control by hurting herself and counting compulsively. On the outside she seems normal to everyone, well almost everyone. Bodee, Lex’s neighbor dealing with this own tragedy, can see the truth. And when Bodee unexpectedly moves in with Alexi and her family she finds herself not only having someone to confide in, but a shoulder to cry on, a hand to hold, and someone she can trust. What starts out as two broken teens trying to putting back together the pieces of their shattered lives may just be the story of two people helping each other heal and survive.

It’s hard to put into words what I really loved about this book. I don’t want to get too deeply into the plot as there is some stuff that the reader needs to discover on their own. There are some twists and turns and a degree of unknowing that is involved in what happened to Alexi and with some of the ways she is coping. What I can say is that Alexi was a great character. There was something about her that was just likable. She was broken, no denying that, and she had trouble standing on her own, but it was understandable. And I really liked that she didn’t care what people thought when it came to Bodee. She brought him into her fold without really even thinking about it much. And through all of this you could still see and feel her pain and your heart went out to her as a reader.

However, as much as I liked Alexi, Bodee stole the show for me. Much like Corey Livingston in Colleen Clayton’s book What Happens Next, Bodee was exactly the right person for Lex at the exact right time. He had been in her life, on the peripheral, since they were small, but became a huge piece of her and her him, right when they both needed it most. I know to some it may seem fast how quickly they came to trust and rely on each other, but I actually found that to be a nice touch. Sometimes it’s possible to have someone always be there that you never noticed before and for them to be your best friend. Bodee helped Alexi heal in some way and they both showed each other goodness in the world. I seriously just loved Bodee and when you read it you will too.

Basically this book was a story of strength and loss and healing and faith(religious and in people in general). There were sweet moments mixed in with some painful situations and they all balanced each other out. The end felt a little rushed, but that aside, this book should be a definite must read. I know I’m glad I did it. I look forward to what the author has I store for us next.

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5 Comments

    1. I really enjoyed this one. Some had mixed feelings but I liked the story and what it meant.

      I love a good YA contemporary Emily so anytime you are looking for one feel free to ask. I read them a lot.

  1. Well, as you are my go-to for all things contemporary, I’m going to take your word for it and read this one for sure. I’ve been going back and forth, but if you say it’s good, then I’m sure I’ll love it!

  2. I’ve seen some pretty mixed reviews for this one; seems like you either love it because you connect with Alexi or you hate it because you don’t. I think I would struggle with the names, which would pull me out of the story, but I’ve also heard that it’s quite thought-provoking, which makes me want to try it!

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