Title: Faking Normal
Author: Courtney Stevens
Publisher: HarperCollins Children’s Books
Publication Date: February 25, 2014
An edgy, realistic, and utterly captivating novel from an exciting new voice in teen fiction.
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.
It is not often that a book leaves me speechless or causes my jaw to drop in shock because everything I thought I knew I really didn’t. A book has to be fantastic in order for me to read it in less then twenty-four hours. This book was all of that. Once I opened the pages and started to read I was a goner. There was no putting this book down.
At the end of this book the author, Courtney Stevens, mentions that while this is not her story, she does have a story and that’s why she had to write this book. While this book is not my story either there are people who will read this who will identify with Alexi’s story. This is not something that only happens to people in books. This is truth and that’s one of the reasons why I loved this book so much.
Alexi’s story is fresh and authentic and a view on abuse that I haven’t seen before in a book. Alexi has a hard time speaking up for herself and so it makes it easier for other people to take advantage of her. She knows what she wants, but it’s just very hard for her to speak for herself. Stevens shows a few instances in the narrative where Alexi is unable to say no to things. As a reader I took this to be a constant need to always please other people first. Further along in the book I realize that this is true and it is cemented by an event that happened to her as a child.
I’ve seen other views on this book accusing Alexi of not having normal reactions. Why wouldn’t she say no? Is it rape if she doesn’t say anything? Why does she still remain silent after it happens?
Other people seem to be under the impression that because she did not speak up and voice for objection that it’s not rape and that makes me sad. This is a book meaning to show that yes, it is. If a person does not consent or is unable to consent it’s rape. Why wouldn’t she say no? There are many times when a person feels uncomfortable about something that they feel unable to speak up. When someone is shocked or is shy it is incredibly difficult for them to have a voice. Why does she remain silent after it happens? There are so many people out there, girls and guys, who feel as though they cannot speak up for various reasons. If the person is in a position of power (check for Alexi), if the person is a welcome member of their family (check for Alexi), if the person is older and therefore deemed a more mature voice (check for Alexi), if the person is afraid of what others will think of them (check for Alexi), if the person is afraid of the consequences of speaking out (check for Alexi).
This is not an inaccurate book. It is a powerful truth that I think everyone could benefit from reading.