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Review: Faking Normal by Courtney C. Stevens

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Faking Normal
by Courtney C. Stevens

Genre: YA Contemporary
Hardback: 336 Pages
Publication: February 25, 2014
by Harper Collins Children's Books


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.

◆ A copy was provided by Harper Collins for review ◆

Only the self-inflicted scars on Alexi’s neck give away the sign that someone close to her did something terrible to her. Now Alexi is faking normal and trying to keep the event in the past. And now Bodee’s abusive father has murdered his mother, and the teenage boy is invited to stay at Alexi’s house. Alexi and Bodee become friends and help each other to deal with their traumas together.

Alexi’s secret is killing her on the inside. In order to cope with the internal pain, she engages in various rituals, including self harm, and she still gets up every morning and pretends like everything is fine. No one in her family notices how much she is suffering every day. I cry for Alexi’s strength. Even with all the anxiety building up inside her, she still can keep her family and friends in the dark. The author does a good job keeping Alexi real and relatable with her reactions to the incident as she wonders why she couldn’t say the word no, whether crime actually occurred, and how her family will react.

Bodee is a boy with kool-aid hair. When he moves in with Alexi's family, he discover the scars on her neck, the ones she inflicts on herself and always tries to hide it. He understands the hurt that Alexi is going through, having witnessed his abusive father kill his mother. He tries to help Alexi to get rid of her habit of self harm while Alexi tries to help him feel safe and get rid of the guilt he feels so that he doesn’t need to engage in coping rituals either.

Together, Alexi and Bodee distract each other from the pain that they feel inside, and the two of them are drawn to each other. They don’t try to fix each other, instead they are just be there to support and care for each other. Their relationship slowly blooms while they find strength in each other. Together, they help each other to heal and become stronger.

Faking Normal deals with the sexual assault, self-injury, and spousal abuse. It is a story about being honest with yourself and finding courage. It also about understanding that you are never alone, no matter how lonely you feel. This is one of the books that I couldn't put it down. The story kept me turning the pages. It’s heartbreaking, touching, and sweet in every way. I look forward to reading more of Stevens's books in the future.

Additional Information
  • N/A

Similar Books
  • Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

  • Kissing
  • Self-harm
  • Sexual assault (not explicit)

6 comments on "Review: Faking Normal by Courtney C. Stevens"
  1. Wow, Alice, this looks like a really cool book
    The cover looks almost paranormal or dystopian to me, but now i know that it's not and I am intrigued
    GREAT review
    Your reader

  2. I fell so hard for Bodee, he is amazing.

    1. Yes. Bodee is amazing. It is a blessing to have a friend like Bodee.

  3. I wasn't sure what to expect with this book but, like you, I was blown away. It was so good and definitely an impactful emotional favorite read of the year.

  4. Totally agree with you. It’s heartbreaking, touching, and sweet.


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