Published by HarperCollins Australia on February 25, 2014
Source: Edelweiss, Publisher
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
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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.
Faking Normal deals with the subject of rape, but it isn’t specifically a book about rape. It’s about a girl who doesn’t know how to say the things that matter. Her behaviour has been shamed from some repressed memories in her early childhood, and therefore Alexi has learnt how to lie and keep secrets about the horrific thing that happened to her.
It’s definitely an emotional read, as Alexi hides in her closet, leaving gouges on her neck and hiding them with polo shirts afterwards. She has had trouble sleeping for ages, as she counts the airvents on the ceiling every night. Because her attacker is still a major part of her life, she has an unhealthy hero worship and Stockholm’s Syndrome and does everything she can to justify the incident.
My abuser will never hurt anyone else. He’s good and decent, and I was convenient comfort on what he thought was the worst night of his life.
A major part of the book is Bodee, the guy who dyes his hair with Kool-Aid who has undergone some horrors of his own. Because of this, Bodee spots Alexi’s fake motions of going through life from a mile away, and he’s the catalyst for her finding her own voice. Bodee is a sweet and caring guy, definitely one that is dedicated to helping Alexi. His care and protectiveness over Alexi is adorable, but it seemed like from the very start we were introduced to him that that was where the plot was leading. I did adore the powerful friendship these two had for each other, which is probably the best part about the book.
Alexi’s behaviour really bothered me. I understand she’s damaged and still dealing with emotional scars, but her inability to be able to say no when a guy’s on top of her or say no to a date she doesn’t want is appalling. Even during the rape, there was absolutely NO defiance, screaming or stop at all. Just silent tears, that do nothing to discourage someone with his eyes closed. This girl is a wet noodle that doesn’t even know how to stick up for herself or to assert herself one bit, and I found it really frustrating, like a lot of the things that she would agonise over were caused from her own behaviour. Michelle from In Libris Veritas explains why her behaviour didn’t sit with her really well too.
But essentially, that’s what the plot was about. A girl’s inability to express herself based on some horrific incidents in the past. A blossoming, beautiful friendship between a girl and a boy who just understands each other. It was predictable; I saw who the perpetrator was from a mile away and this is agonisingly dragged out until 70% of the book is over. Other than that, there really wasn’t too much else going on with the book for me to write home about.
Thank you to HarperCollins and Edelweiss for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review.
Rating: 3 out of 5
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