Saturday, July 26, 2014

Faking Normal

Rating: 3 Stars
Author: Courtney C. Stevens
Version: Hardcover

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.

I enjoyed reading Faking Normal, but I was very, very frustrated with the main character, Alexi. Throughout the whole of the book she was constantly berating herself for not saying “NO” when she was statutorily raped. Yet, throughout the whole of the book "Lex" is constantly refusing to stop any sort of contact or situation that her mind tells her to. So, what you have is a girl who’s mutalating herself for keeping silent and regretting her past decisions, while also continuing to make those same decisions in the present. Maybe this is what people who’ve gone through a situation like Lex’s experience, but as a reader I was extremely frustrated. 

A large part of Lex’s struggle is that she cannot determine why she’s so passive and lacks voice. This mystery is a good 2/3’s portion of the book and the underlying reasons are extremely week in my opinion. For instance, she’s plagued by a memory of seeing a naked boy, who was at the time the same age as she was… ~6 years old. I’m sorry, but children see each other naked when they’re little, they are innocently indifferent, and it’s not something that should haunt her for 10+ years. There were just so many instances in the book that made me want to turn against the victim and I had to almost constantly remind myself not to do so. 

All in all, the book sends out a very good message to those applicable, which is to find your voice, don’t blame yourself, and speak up. Yet, the build up and foundation of the story is extremely weak and very predictable at times. However, the author’s letter, as well as her video on Amazon, clearly express how passionate she is about getting her message out. For that, she’s earned my respect. 


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