Review: Faking Normal by Courtney C. Stevens

Faking NormalFaking Normal
By: Courtney C. Stevens
Publisher: HarperTeen
Published: Feb. 25, 2014
Genre: YA

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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.



1thoughtsAlexi has been faking being a normal teen since she was raped over the summer. No one knows what happened to her. She’s reminded of that moment every day since her rapist is kind of a fixture of her life. He’s always around and she is always pretending like nothing ever happened. However, when Bodee comes to live with her and her family, she finds herself becoming comfortable with him. She’s able to let loose the tension that’s overtaken her body. He see’s her, the real her, and he knows that she’s dealing with something. Something so deep that causes her to harm herself. Their new friendship grows and they learn to lean on each other. Alexi helps Bodee come out of his shell and let go of his demons, and in return Bodee slowly gives Alexi the confidence to heal.

Faking Normal is a tough novel to read. Sure, it’s about rape but what really bothered me was her incapability to tell someone “no”. I understand her not speaking out about the attack. I understand her second guessing. I understand her thinking it was her fault. However, what I don’t get is how when something is presented to her that she doesn’t want, whether it’s going to the dance, having peas on her pizza, or having her date throw himself on her. Instead of just saying “no”, she says “sure” or makes non-committal noises. There was never any protest from her. She just went along with everything and anything and it really irritated me.

“I don’t understand this about myself. This invisible enemy, this inability to say no. I need answers. Isn’t there a reason why I’m so afraid to assert myself?”

I loved the slow building relationship between Alexi and Bodee. They weren’t even friends before he moved into her house. In fact, he was known as the “the Kool-Aid Kid,” a kid who the school talks about because he dies his hair a different color with Kool-Aid every day. So, when he comes to live with Alexi’s family, she’s sort of forced to be nice to him. Then they slowly become awkward housemates. Over time they became friends which became each others support for the darkness they were harboring within. Their relationship and the fact that he slowly pulls Alexi out of the shadows is what kept me reading.

My favorite part of the whole book is the author’s note to the readers. She talks about abuse and gives advice to those who may have been assaulted in some way. She reassures the readers that it’s not their fault, the pain of what you’re feeling will get better, and that it does not define you. I think her letter was very powerful and one that just about brought me to tears.


1favequote“Faking normal is a skill I learned seventy-seven days ago, but tonight it’s going to require everything I have.”



4 Thoughts on “Review: Faking Normal by Courtney C. Stevens

  1. This one sounds good for teens since that topic is something they should learn. But I’d question the not being able to refuse anything as well. Great review 🙂

  2. Great review. Been wanting to read this one for a while now. Yeah, I would get frustrated too with her inability to say no, but there are people like this who don’t assert themselves or express their true feelings. I can understand that as well, but they still don’t deserve to be raped even if they don’t say no. Seems like a really good and intense read. Glad you liked the story 🙂

  3. I think that would really irritate me as well. I’m glad you enjoyed it even with that and the tough subject matter.

  4. It’s a tough novel to read. I’d probably not be brave enough to read it myself, but I love the positive message it seems to convey. From a psychological point of view, it sounds like the victim’s reaction to abuse is pretty realistic too, which makes it an even better work but an even tougher one to read, I think.

    Loved to read your thought on Faking Normal, and big like to your fav quote too! 😀

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