Published by HarperTeen on February 25, 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Mystery, Romance, Young Adult
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.
So my dive into contemporary YA novels continues with Faking Normal by Courtney C. Stevens. Only this time it is with a book that has a much darker and at most times emotional story line. The story is about Alexi, a girl struggling with a dark secret. The book opens on a funeral, and the day Alexi decides to befriend Bodee at this mom’s funeral. Alexi and Bodee connect because they both have stories to share. Stories that will change not only their lives, but the lives of those around them. These stories and secrets are so life changing that some people could get hurt if they ever come out. After Bodee’s mom dies it is no secret that Bodee’s dad is the one that murdered her. Bodee is the only witness to the crime, so he must decide if he is going to testify or hide because he is afraid of his father. Alexi hides in her closet because her secret is too big to deal with, and she would rather runaway and pretend than deal with it.
One day Bodee comes to live with Alexi’s family because his brother is only nineteen and too overwhelmed to take care of his teenage little brother. So the friendship between Alexi and Bodee grows as they discover that they are stronger when they each have somebody they can lean on.
The twitter hashtag for this book is find your brave. I love that because that is what this book is all about. It is a story about being brave enough to heal and take your life back after the unthinkable happens. I really liked how Alexi is able to realize that what happened to her is not her fault and finally “find her brave”. It comes out that Alexi is raped. She never outright says no but she doesn’t say yes. The person who rapes is older so it is by law statutory rape. This is what Alexi has to do deal with. How do you accuse someone of rape when you didn’t say no. Alexi hides in a closet, scratching herself, and trying to pretend this awful thing didn’t happen. I liked one part in the book when she tells Bodee that he needs to testify and telling will help him heal. I liked that Bodee calls her out and doesn’t let her hide because he says if I tell then you have to tell as well.
I think that is what I liked most about Bodee, he is the one person he can see through the act and calls Alexi out. Because being brave is not just about how tough one is in dangerous situations. Being brave is about having the strength to come out of hiding, make the hard accusations that could ruin someone’s life, and take your life back.
I highly recommend this book because they story is thought provoking and powerful. I liked the story of bravery and I cheered Bodee and Alexi as they took those steps and took back their lives. I found Faking Normal so engrossing that I would read it at home and listen to it at work and in the car. This story was one that I could not put down and had a shocking revelation that I never saw coming. Go read this book, I give Faking Normal four stars because even though the subject was dark and gritty, the ending left me on a nice cloud of happiness and hope.