Author: Courtney C. Stevens
Publication: HarperTeen (February 25, 2014)
Description: An edgy, realistic debut novel praised by the New York Times bestselling author of Between Shades of Gray, Ruta Sepetys, as "a beautiful reminder that amid our broken pieces we can truly find ourselves."
Alexi Littrell hasn't told anyone what happened to her over the summer by her backyard pool. Instead, she hides in her closet, counts the slats in the air vent, and compulsively scratches the back of her neck, trying to make the outside hurt more than the inside does.
When Bodee Lennox—"the Kool-Aid Kid"—moves in with the Littrells after a family tragedy, Alexi discovers an unlikely friend in this quiet, awkward boy who has secrets of his own. As their friendship grows, Alexi gives him the strength to deal with his past, and Bodee helps her summon the courage to find her voice and speak up.
My Thoughts: FAKING NORMAL was an excellent, heart-wrenching contemporary about two kids who have terrible things happen to them and who have to find a way to heal and move on. Alexi Littrell hasn't been the same since the pool party at the end of the summer before her junior year in high school. She has taken to hiding in her closet, scratching her neck raw, and obsessively counting the slats in the vent in her room. However, she has been successfully hiding her pain from her parents and her older sister and her sister's boyfriend.
Bodee Lennox can't really hide the fact that his father killed his mother after years of abusing both her and Bodee. But Bodee would still like to be the loner at school who hides behind his Kool-Aid dyed hair and doesn't talk to anyone. Hiding doesn't mean that he isn't observant though. He recognizes that Alexi is in some kind of pain.
When Alexi's parents take Bodee into their home, he and Alexi begin to form a friendship. Each finds in the other someone who understands and someone who gives them the courage to do the hard things that they have to do to move on.
This story packs an amazing amount of pain around Friday Night Football games, Homecoming Dances, Halloween parties and other high school events. The daily drama of high school life plays against the major trauma Alexi has faced. The one solace that Alexi has is that someone she is calling Captain Lyric is writing song lyrics on her desk in Fourth Period Psych class. Each of them writes a lyric that means something to them and the other completes the lyric. Alexi feels that she finally has someone who understands her and she feels safe because because there is no messy human interaction.
I couldn't put this one down. I can't wait to share this story with my high school readers.
My honesty with the girls surprises me. But Bodee's right where I love him. IN the room down the hall and up the stairs from mine. Dinner instead of a dinner date. A hand to hold instead of lips to kiss. He's my fort, my sanctuary. And I won't do anything to jeopardize this.
I got this ARC through Amazon Vine. You can buy your copy here.