Book Review: Faking Normal by Courtney C. Stevens

15726915Faking Normal by Courtney C. Stevens

Publisher: HarperTeen

Genre: Contemporary and Young Adult

Release Date: February 25, 2014

Pages: 336 (Hardcover)

good good

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.

First of all, I would like to thank the publisher, HarperTeen for giving me an ARC of this book to review. Thank you so much! Really appreciate it! All right, now for my review.

opinion

Alexi’s story is so moving and I think that everyone can relate to it. Her personality and denial about things that happened not only can be related to sexual assault victims but victims of pretty much any type of abuse. I felt for Alexi and Bodee and although their relationship at some times are…out there, I really enjoyed this.

Faking Normal actually starts off pretty boring. It took some time for me to actually get into the story and even more so the characters. Alexi and I have a bit of a ‘love hate relationship’ because although I loved her story, I didn’t really like her. I felt that she’s really stiff at times, especially when people wanted to help her. The romance itself is really typical and I didn’t like it, it’s the same broken girl meets broken boy and they heal together type of thing and it got old for me really fast. The way that Bodee knows things annoyed me more than anything. Another thing I didn’t like is how the flashbacks or story is told surrounding the rape. The same thing is told over and over again without any new information. This is one of my pet peeves–when someone tells me something over and over again with nothing new to add to it. Whenever Alexi brought up how it happened I found myself skimming it and moving on to the next thing.

Like I mentioned before, I really did like this story. It’s awkward and I wasn’t really suspecting it to turn out the way it did. The journey and her pain is so raw and relatable, I felt as if her struggles were my struggles too. For the most part, I liked most of the characters because they’re very realistic and complex. They had me guessing about their actions and emotions and I liked reading about them.

Faking Normal is quite the story. It’s not bad but it does have a few flaws and a dash of stiffness. Nonetheless, Stevens has created a lovely début and I recommend this to anyone looking for something serious to read and don’t mind the main character. I really hope that she keeps writing serious topic novels because there aren’t many of them out there that are well done or are even mediocre and I can’t wait to see what she comes out with next.

3 Clouds
3 Clouds
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4.7/5-It took me over a month to finish this book not because it was slow, boring, or uncreative, but because I couldn’t bring myself to finish the last few chapters I had left. I honestly didn’t want this book to end. The book made me so angry at times, yet still made me laugh a lot and cry too.

(Summary from Goodreads)

Sixteen-Year-Old Jace Witherspoon arrives at the doorstep of his estranged brother Christian with a re-landscaped face (courtesy of his father’s fist), $3.84, and a secret. He tries to move on, going for new friends, a new school, and a new job, but all his changes can’t make him forget what he left behind—his mother, who is still trapped with his dad, and his ex-girlfriend, who is keeping his secret. At least so far.

Worst of all, Jace realizes that if he really wants to move forward, he may first have to do what scares him most: He may have to go back. First-time novelist Swati Avasthi has created a riveting and remarkably nuanced portrait of what happens after. After you’ve said enough, after you’ve run, after you’ve made the split—how do you begin to live again?

(My Opinion)

This book was amazing, most of the characters flew off of the pages because they were so  funny and creative. Well-written without too much description or explanation in the first few chapters that it was a quick and easy read. A very moving tale about abuse where we learn the different sides to his family. The idea for this novel was executed almost perfectly with a good amount of flashbacks and touching moments.

Almost perfect in my eyes. There are a lot of books that I wished were tweaked a bit better or were a bit clearer on some parts so that I could put it up in my “Forever love and cherish” book pile. Swati Avasthi’s Debut novel could have been clearer on a few of the secondary characters. I wished she made Jace’s ex-girlfriend clearer and more history about his best friend.

Such an emotional book! I just couldn’t bring myself to finish it for the longest time because I didn’t want Jace’s adventure to end. I loved how his brother, Christian acted towards Jace near the ending because it surprised me, I thought Christian would have reacted differently. Also, the flashbacks about Jace;s old life and what he liked about it and what he despised because most of them were about his father. In this book, I loved how the relationships between Jace’s brother and his new friends weren’t too fast and they were very unpredictable while the slowly blooming romance was in fact that. Slowly blooming. Holy crap, the writing style was what I loved from authors. It was so easy to read that, the words flew off the page and I couldn’t remember if the book was past or present tense because I was so caught up in the story of Jace.

An amazing novel about getting over the past and fighting to not become the monster you’ve known all your life. A total must read for everyone. Swati Avasthi’s next novel will probably be a smash hit if its anything similar to Split.

Split By Swati Avasthi

4.7/5-It took me over a month to finish this book not because it was slow, boring, or uncreative, but because I couldn’t bring myself to finish the last few chapters I had left. I honestly didn’t want this book to end. The book made me so angry at times, yet still made me laugh a lot and cry too.

(Summary from Goodreads)

Sixteen-Year-Old Jace Witherspoon arrives at the doorstep of his estranged brother Christian with a re-landscaped face (courtesy of his father’s fist), $3.84, and a secret. He tries to move on, going for new friends, a new school, and a new job, but all his changes can’t make him forget what he left behind—his mother, who is still trapped with his dad, and his ex-girlfriend, who is keeping his secret. At least so far.

Worst of all, Jace realizes that if he really wants to move forward, he may first have to do what scares him most: He may have to go back. First-time novelist Swati Avasthi has created a riveting and remarkably nuanced portrait of what happens after. After you’ve said enough, after you’ve run, after you’ve made the split—how do you begin to live again?

(My Opinion)

This book was amazing, most of the characters flew off of the pages because they were so  funny and creative. Well-written without too much description or explanation in the first few chapters that it was a quick and easy read. A very moving tale about abuse where we learn the different sides to his family. The idea for this novel was executed almost perfectly with a good amount of flashbacks and touching moments.

Almost perfect in my eyes. There are a lot of books that I wished were tweaked a bit better or were a bit clearer on some parts so that I could put it up in my “Forever love and cherish” book pile. Swati Avasthi’s Debut novel could have been clearer on a few of the secondary characters. I wished she made Jace’s ex-girlfriend clearer and more history about his best friend.

Such an emotional book! I just couldn’t bring myself to finish it for the longest time because I didn’t want Jace’s adventure to end. I loved how his brother, Christian acted towards Jace near the ending because it surprised me, I thought Christian would have reacted differently. Also, the flashbacks about Jace;s old life and what he liked about it and what he despised because most of them were about his father. In this book, I loved how the relationships between Jace’s brother and his new friends weren’t too fast and they were very unpredictable while the slowly blooming romance was in fact that. Slowly blooming. Holy crap, the writing style was what I loved from authors. It was so easy to read that, the words flew off the page and I couldn’t remember if the book was past or present tense because I was so caught up in the story of Jace.

An amazing novel about getting over the past and fighting to not become the monster you’ve known all your life. A total must read for everyone. Swati Avasthi’s next novel will probably be a smash hit if its anything similar to Split.

The Rules Of Survival By Nancy Werlin

4.6/5-I never knew how interesting reading a story told like a letter could be until I read this book.

(Summary)

When, amazingly, Murdoch begins dating Matt’s mother, it seems as if life may become peaceful for the first time. Matt and his sisters have never before known a moment of peace in a household ruled by their unpredictable, vicious mother. And so, after Murdoch inevitably breaks up with her and the short period of family calm is over, Matt sees that he needs to take action. He refuses to let his family remain at risk. Can he call upon his hero, Murdoch? And if not, what might his desperation lead him to do?

 

(My Opinion)

There wasn’t a time when I thought this book was boring. It was fast paced and original. The chapters were very short and easy to read. A great book for reluctant readers.  The Rules Of Survival was written as if it were a letter that was in a book format. The book follows Matt, the life he’s forced to live with his abusive, insane mother. Even though he hates living with her, he has to protect his sister. This means that he’s willing to take the blame whenever his mother is in a furious mood. The characters in the book were beautifully written and the relationship between the three siblings is very strong and protective. Nancy Werlin truly did take her time and made sure that these characters were perfect and well thought out.

 The bad thing about fast paced books are that sometimes they are a bit too fast. The Rules Of Survival was like that. There were some parts in the book where I felt like Nancy Werlin was just skimming through it without really explaining what happened. I wished she hadn’t done that.

 Most books that are about abuse only show one side of the abuser. This book showed many sides of Nikki as a good mother and as the monster her children were scared of. I loved that I got to read the different sides she had as well as the way the children reacted to her constantly changing moods. The writing style for this book was amazing, I loved how she could write a scene in the book and make me feel like I was actually right there with the characters.  This is a great book for anyone in a situation just like Mat and his little sisters while still being short enough for reluctant readers to read.

 

The Rules Of Survival By Nancy Werlin

4.6/5-I never knew how interesting reading a story told like a letter could be until I read this book.

(Summary)

When, amazingly, Murdoch begins dating Matt’s mother, it seems as if life may become peaceful for the first time. Matt and his sisters have never before known a moment of peace in a household ruled by their unpredictable, vicious mother. And so, after Murdoch inevitably breaks up with her and the short period of family calm is over, Matt sees that he needs to take action. He refuses to let his family remain at risk. Can he call upon his hero, Murdoch? And if not, what might his desperation lead him to do?

(My Opinion)

There wasn’t a time when I thought this book was boring. It was fast paced and original. The chapters were very short and easy to read. A great book for reluctant readers.  The Rules Of Survival was written as if it were a letter that was in a book format. The book follows Matt, the life he’s forced to live with his abusive, insane mother. Even though he hates living with her, he has to protect his sister. This means that he’s willing to take the blame whenever his mother is in a furious mood. The characters in the book were beautifully written and the relationship between the three siblings is very strong and protective. Nancy Werlin truly did take her time and made sure that these characters were perfect and well thought out.

The bad thing about fast paced books are that sometimes they are a bit too fast. The Rules Of Survival was like that. There were some parts in the book where I felt like Nancy Werlin was just skimming through it without really explaining what happened. I wished she hadn’t done that.

Most books that are about abuse only show one side of the abuser. This book showed many sides of Nikki as a good mother and as the monster her children were scared of. I loved that I got to read the different sides she had as well as the way the children reacted to her constantly changing moods. The writing style for this book was amazing, I loved how she could write a scene in the book and make me feel like I was actually right there with the characters.  This is a great book for anyone in a situation just like Mat and his little sisters while still being short enough for reluctant readers to read.