Publisher: Harper Collins
Publication Date: February 25th 2014
Source: Edelweiss [Publisher]
Before I'd even started Faking Normal, I'd been hearing a lot of great things about it. From the second I read the synopsis, I knew I just had to read this book. It sounded like it was going to be such a powerful and emotional book, and it definitely was.
Alexi has been keeping a secret. Something happened to her over the summer, but she's ashamed to tell anyone. She hides away in her closet and scratches the back of her neck trying to make herself hurt more on the outside than the inside. And then Bodee Lennox comes to live with her family after his mother's murder. Bodee and Alexi start to become friends and help support each other. Alexi helps Bodee deal with his part and Bodee tries to help Alexi find the courage to admit what happened during summer.
Alexi was an interesting character. Something happened to her over the summer and all of her friends and family have noticed a change in her, but none of them have noticed that she's pretending to hold herself together. Right from the start I pretty much guessed what had happened to Alexi. It's not a very easy topic to read about, but Courtney Stevens did an amazing job with it. Alexi kind of suffers from OCD. She locks herself in her closet and constantly scratches the back of her neck. She also tries to count the number of vents on her air vent in the dark without blinking until she's done. She partly blames herself for what happened over summer and that really tugged at my heart. Alexi is just a young, naive girl who was scared and taken advantage of. It really upset me seeing her beat herself up over something that wasn't her fault. She was an intriguing character and I enjoyed learning about her.
Bodee was a strange character, but I really loved him. Bodee keeps to himself after what happened to his mother and has always been an outsider. Kids at school call him 'the Kool-Aid Kid' because he dyes his hair with Kool-Aid sachets. But Bodee is one of the sweetest guys ever. He realises straight away that there's something going on with Alexi and he tries his best to help her admit what happened. Bodee hasn't had the best upbringing due to his father and he's struggling with the murder of his mother. He's just so adorable and sweet. He's always there for Alexi and he starts to come out of his shell throughout the book.
I adored the romance in this book. Bodee and Alexi are friends for most of the book. It takes a while for their friendship to build and then they both start seeing different people, but it was so obvious to me that those two were made for each other. They helped each other through a lot during the book which gave them a special connection and I just thought they were adorable together.
I really enjoyed unravelling what happened to Alexi during the summer. I was pretty sure I knew who it was and I was seriously hating on this character, and then it turned out to be someone completely different. Someone that I loved because they were so sweet, and I was honestly so shocked when the truth came out. Courtney Stevens did an amazing job at throwing me off the trail. There was also the whole 'Captain Lyric' story line. I knew right away who Captain Lyric was, but then Stevens completely threw me off when a different character admitted to it. Stevens threw a lot of twists at me during this book. Alexi's sister pissed me off big time though. She was such a bitch and everything had to be about her. I kind of wanted to punch her throughout most of the book, but she was there for Alexi in the end when she needed her.
Overall, Faking Normal was an emotional read that kept me guessing right until the end. It was full of unique and interesting characters, and a really adorable romance. Faking Normal is a beautifully written debut from Courtney C. Stevens and I really loved it.