by Courtney C. Stevens
Published By: Harper Teen
Release Date: 02/25/14
Narrator: Emma Galvin
Length: 7 hrs and 45 mins
Genres: Contemporary, YA
Source: Audiobook Received for Review
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.
Oh how this story was so determined to break my ‘no crying rule!’ I knew as soon as I read the summary of this book that this would be brutal and emotional. Since I hate to cry and I’m a big baby about issue books like this, I kept putting this book off even though I really wanted to read it. When the opportunity came by to review the audiobook, I jumped at the chance. Because I love audiobooks and also because Emma Galvin narrates this, who I really like. It doesn’t matter if I read the book or heard the audiobook because I felt all the emotions all the same!
We meet Alexi in the beginning of the story and she is an emotional and psychological mess. She’s struggling to understand and heal with what happened to her over the Summer. Rape books in general are such a touchy subject which is why I usually tend to stay away from them. But something about Faking Normal stood out among the rest. Among trying to block out what happened to her and pretend she’s normal, Alexi is struggling with feeling of guilt and doubt. Was this rape? Even if she didn’t specifically say no? Does this (or anything else) make this her fault? It’s so sad that Alexi felt like this and even sadder that this really happens in real life more often than not. Among everything else, Alexi’s parent shave taken in Bodee into their house after his dad killed his mom. Bodee is also known as the kool-aid kid (for his crazy and ever changing colored hair) and is a loner. He also knows that Alexi is hurting and he seems to understand her better than anyone else. I absolutely loved seeing Alexi and Bodee’s friendship slowly grow and seeing how Alexi could trust him with her secret a little bit more each day. The moments between them were so heartwarming and hopeful.
Oh wow, I am blown away by how emotional this was! I was expecting it to be but it still blew me away. Seeing how Alexi would cope with her situation would break my heart a little bit more each time. I loved how Bodee helped her deal with everything. Throughout the book, we don’t know who the person is who raped Alexi. Even though the person that did it was one of my two suspects, it was still a shock when it was revealed and it was another emotional blow. What I loved the most about this book was that for every sad and tragic thing that happens, there is a sweet Bodee moment to tip the scales back into the ‘hopeful’ zone. The writing is what really stood out for me. I wanted to highlight almost everything in the book. Even the sad parts because the way that they were written was just beautiful. While this didn’t bring on the full on waterworks, (I’m pretty much a robot) it did make my eyes very watery and even though I wasn’t reading the physical book, I still had to stop the audio a few times. I’m looking forward to reading Bodee’s novella as well as anything else by this author. Faking Normal was a brilliant and emotional debut novel!
Audiobook Comments: One of the main reasons I decided to go with the audiobook for this book is because I’ve already heard two books by Emma Galvin (Divergent and Insurgent) and I really liked her ability to bring stories to life. It was a little bit weird at first, maybe because I heard those books not too long ago, but I couldn’t help thinking ‘hey it’s Tris’ at the beginning of the book. That quickly changed once Emma got further into the story and was able to bring these certain characters and story to life. She really captivated the sad but beautiful and hopeful element of the story. The narration was a little bit on the slow side but I’ve found that I prefer to listen to audiobooks at 1.25x speed so once I changed it to that, the story really flowed so much better. Another narrator to add to my ‘must listen’ list!
Listen to a sample of Faking Normal below:
Some of my favorite non-spoiler quotes from Faking Normal:
Right now we’re both yard sales of emotions. A penny for pain. A dime for bitterness. A quarter for grief. A dollar for silence. It binds us together, but I don’t want him to pay the price for the parts of me that are used and broken.
If he were to put his heart in my hand, he might never find it again. And I’m not cruel enough to let him break while he tries to heal the impossible.
There are no words to this music, and that makes me sad. Every song deserves lyrics. Deserves a story to tell.
The power of Bodee is in the way he reads me, sees through me, and then understands the truth behind the facade. He’s the guy who can walk straight through the House of Mirrors on the first try. It’s almost annoying. No one should ride tragedy like a pro surfer while I drown.
I know we’re still broken. Both of us. But Bodee’s got the glue to make us whole.