Thursday, January 30, 2014

5 Star Review: Faking Normal (Courtney C Stevens)

Faking NormalHardcover, 336 pages
Expected publication: February 25th 2014 by HarperCollins Children's Books
ARC Provided by Publisher for Honest Review

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. 
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Courtney C. Stevens

Courtney C. Stevens
Courtney C. Stevens grew up in Kentucky and lives in Nashville, Tennessee. She is an adjunct professor and a former youth minister. Her other skills include playing hide-and-seek, climbing trees, and being an Olympic torch bearer. Faking Normal is her first novel.

I am not sure where to start...I am just absolutely in awe at this book. There are so many words to describe how utterly amazing this book are just a few that come to mind: 
phenomenal, incredible, touching, emotional, real, stunning....perfect. 

I read the synopsis of this book after seeing lots of reviewers raving about it on goodreads and it immediately grabbed my attention. I just had this "feeling" that it was going to be great. Well great was an understatement. This is one of those books that stays with you long after you read the last page. 

"Faking normal is a skill I learned seventy-seven days ago. but tonight it's going to require everything I have."

The cover of the book portrays the main character, Alexi, perfectly. The cover model looks sullen, sad, and yet poignant. Alexi has a secret. A secret that no one knows. A secret that she has kept hidden away for a while and it is slowly eating away at her. She wakes up each day with one keep her ugly secret hidden and "fake normal." Alexi's character is so easy to love and admire. I felt so much for her with each turn of the page. She is so strong and yet so weak. Something terrible happens to her one summer night and she has told no one about it. She suffers so much each and every day because of what happened on that tragic night. She doesn't sleep, she hurts herself, and yet she gets up every morning and pretends like everything is ok. No one in her family even notices how much she is suffering and hiding deep inside. 

Ah...Bodee Lennox, the young boy whose father murdered his mother as he watched is invited into Alexi's home by her parents. They want to take him in and try to help him cope with the horrible tragedy that is his life. Bodee is an incredible character. He immediately sees in Alexi what no one else does. He knows she is hurting and they slowly develop an deep friendship that will eventually change their lives. I love how they "see" each other when no one else does. Their friendship is so beautiful and I found myself rooting for them during the entire book. 

"I've lived all but two weeks of my life without Bodee. But now, sitting with him in my fort, I know these two weeks have been God walking right into mu life like he has flesh and Kool-Aid-colored hair. The gospel according to Bodee Lennox. His safety. His protection. And love."

This is such an emotionally riveting book about truth and consequences. It touched me in so many ways. The characters and the plot were so beautifully written and I wish I could just read it all over again. was that good. Courtney Stevens has entered into the YA industry with a bang. She will have a permanent spot on my "Authors To Watch" list. 

If you love a book about truth, love, friendships, heartache, and surviving tragedy then this book is for you. this book. I promise you will not regret it. 

** Thank you to HarperTeen for providing me with this book in exchange for an honest review.**

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