Monday, April 21, 2014

Review: Faking Normal by Courtney C. Stevens

From Goodreads: 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. 

My Rating: 4 hearts 

Thoughts on the Novel: The last book I read that involved the subject of rape was Kirsty Eagar’s Raw Blue, a novel that I gave five stars to three years ago. Although Faking Normal by Courtney C. Stevens didn’t elicit the same level of emotions in me as Raw Blue, I was still very much drawn into the story.

It took some time for me to realize what the main topic of Faking Normal would be because the synopsis doesn’t state outright what happened to Alexi. As well, Alexi has done her best to block out the incident and to pretend that everything is normal, though her trauma is manifested in other ways like compulsively scratching her neck.

Faking Normal is also about a boy having to come to terms with the fact that his father killed his mother. Known only as the Kool-Aid kid to Alexi at first, Bodee and Alexi slowly strike up a tentative friendship when Alexi realizes that Bodee has seen the scratches she so carefully hides. Over time, the two begin to rely on each other for more support because they don’t have to pretend to be normal with each other.

I loved the pacing of Faking Normal since it wasn’t rushed, and was therefore perfect for the novel. The reader slowly comes to realize what has happened to Alexi, falls in love with Bodee gradually, and learns, eventually, who raped Alexi.

A well written debut, I look forward to seeing what Stevens writes next. Faking Normal was released by HarperTeen in February 2014. 

Comments About the Cover: I think it’s plain-looking and don’t really like the transparent trees.  

In exchange for an honest review, this book was received from the publisher (HarperCollins) for free via Edelweiss.


  1. I keep thinking that's Blake Lively as the model. She really looks like her! I've read mixed reviews for this one, but you definitely made me reconsider about dropping it. I liked the subtlety of the issues and the fact that this one isn't about a love interest saving the broken heroine. Great review, Z!

  2. It always seems like you review a book I have out from the library, which is totally awesome because I can decide if I want to read it or not ;D I like how it tells two stories almost, and the pacing sounds perfect.

  3. I've heard such good things about this one Z, I'm so glad to see you enjoyed it as well. Raw Blue is the last book I read that dealt with rape too, and I couldn't have loved that one more. While Faking Normal didn't quite elicit the same level of emotion, it's clearly a really great story so I'm excited to give it a try:)

  4. Having read your review, this one definitely reminds me of The Sea of Tranquility, which I loved. Two really messed up people who come to rely on each other and fall in love. Maaaybe I could deal with this contemporary since I loved TSoT.


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