Rating: 4.5 / 5
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Drama
Release Date: February 25, 2014
Publication House: Harpercollins
Number of pages: 336
Source: Physical ARC provided by publisher
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Pre-Order on AMAZON | THE BOOK DEPOSITORY
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.
You know a book has moved you so much when you’ve read it months and months ago and can still remember the story and the values it imparted. You know a book has touched your life when every time you try to write a review about it, you can’t produce any coherent words but simply tears. Usually, when I finish a book, I think about it, write a review, fangirl a bit and then move on to the next one in tow. Here, though? There’s that unmistakable dull ache, even after all this time. There’s a reason why I haven’t written a review until now – upon finishing this book, I just found it so hard to describe the way I felt. I’m not even sure I’ll be able to give it justice now.
Faking Normal follows the story of a girl named Alexi who harbors a deep, dark secret – so dark she is even afraid of it herself. One day, she befriends the “kool-aid kid next door”, Bodee, a distraught boy who witnessed the death of his mother in the hands of his father. Somehow knowing both are broken from different circumstances, they find solace and comfort in each other, gradually pushing and encouraging each other to finally face their inner demons to find peace within themselves.
This book is not easy to digest and definitely not for the faint of heart. It deals with a controversial subject that never fails to make my blood boil: rape. Every day, on the news, I always see reports of women, girls or even men raped, and every time I do, my heart cries out. It’s a horrible thing, and it leaves me terribly aghast to know it continues to occur in our modern times; you would have thought we as a civilization would have left such a primitive practice in the past where it belongs. And majority of the time, I see the women ashamed of that fact – that they were made powerless and taken advantage of. And these are only the small percent who actually cried for help.
And the rest are like Alexi – victims who have lost their ability to cry out, to say no. Victims who fear coming out, who fear that everything they know will change once word of it gets out. Its portrayal of the silent suffering victim was so real and genuine that it felt like being in her shoes, and it was such a crappy, crappy feeling. Hurting yourself to keep the pain inside, putting on a mask pretending everything’s okay to hide the truth from yourself… it made me sad and angry for her. It hit the heart so fucking hard. Nobody deserves this kind of torture, nobody. Alexi felt like the embodiment of all the pent-up feelings victims of rape must go through and it was difficult to read. It was therefore an amazing experience seeing her finally standing up and facing the truth. Her coming out and trusting the people around her with the things she kept inside for so long was so beautiful that I cried with her, with them.
Bodee, on the other hand, was also an amazing character. Despite being a man of a few words, he was vital to Alexi’s journey as she was to his. Even though he’s the kind of guy who’d tell you the things you want to know through a glance or a small gesture, his presence was strong. I loved how he was so observant, caring, and kind. I loved how he tells a lot through his silence. It was so refreshing to finally see a male lead who speaks through his actions, who, despite having been traumatized himself, still find the strength to support other people. Have you ever seen such an amazing lead? A kind of guy who’d be willing to be strong for both of you if you can’t be strong for yourself? That’s Bodee for you.
Overall, this is truly a raw and poignant book whose painful journey will rip your heart to shreds but it is also a memorable book whose ending will leave you in tears with a smile on your face.. It’s a beautiful story of a girl and boy who, in their brokenness, find themselves supporting each other; a story of the meaning of family, trust, friendship, and love – a love not only for others, but a love for oneself. It has everything you could ever ask for, and I’m telling you this is not a book to be missed.
Because I (and Rashika, too!) loved this book so much, we are giving away copies of Faking Normal by Courtney Stevens. We are giving away ONE (1) ARC copy to a resident living in the Philippines, and ONE (1) Finished Copy to a US/CAN resident courtesy of the publisher (Thanks, HC!).
* You must be 13 years or older to enter.
* Once a winner has been announced, an e-mail will be sent. No reply within 48 hours will disqualify that entry and a new winner will be announced.
* The Social Potato and HarperCollins are not responsible for any losses or damaged goods.
* No cheating allowed.
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