Thursday, 21 April 2016

Review - 'Am I Normal Yet' by Holly Bourne

Usborne Publishing

Synopsis (From Waterstones) - All Evie wants is to be normal. And now that she’s almost off her meds and at a new college where no one knows her as the-girl-who-went-nuts, there’s only one thing to tick off her list… But relationships can mess with anyone’s head – something Evie’s new friends Amber and Lottie know only too well. The trouble is, if Evie won’t tell them her secrets, how can they stop her making a huge mistake?

My Review - I am not going to lie; I was a little bit apprehensive about reviewing this book. The protagonist has OCD, a condition I do not suffer from, so I did not feel like I would able to talk about book and do it justice. However, I really enjoyed this book and wanted to talk about it.

I have never read such an honest YA novel. There was no pretence or sugar coating. Evie’s struggles are very realistic. Bourne’s portrayal of OCD, to me, is nothing short of remarkable. I have known people who suffer the way Evie does and it is very true to life. What I particularly liked was the way Evie wasn’t written as a complete victim. Don’t get me wrong, I loved her, but she isn’t perfect. Evie herself admits that her illness can have a negative impact, not just on her, but those around her. It was also awesome to read a YA novel where the main character feels isolated and different, but doesn’t fall into the ‘I’m so different from everyone’ trope. You know the one, where the main character has an aversion for conventionally ‘girly girls.’ I have seen this too many times and it needs to stop, okay?

Now, let’s talk about the other ladies in the book. Lottie and Amber are wonderful. They were far more than throwaway side characters. I loved the conversations the three friends had about feminism. It reminded me a lot of the sort of talks I used to have with my friends at that age. I enjoyed the reference to the Bechdel test, something I have given a lot of thought about in recent years. In keeping with the subversive themes, the romantic plotline in the story is far from clichéd. Throughout the novel Guy, the object of Evie’s affections, is standoffish and distant one minute and the complete opposite the next. I am sure a lot of younger girls have encountered a guy like this before, (at least I know I did as a teenager!). I just loved the way the book subverted the classic brooding, good looking male love interest plotline.

I would highly recommend to this to anyone who wants a realistic look at mental illness as well as a more accurate depiction of being a teenage girl.

(Images not mine)

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