Sunday 26 July 2020

Book Review - Am I Normal Yet?

Title: Am I Normal Yet?
Author: Holly Bourne
Series: The Spinster Club (Book 1)
Publisher: Usborne Publishing Ltd
Release Date: 1 Aug. 2015
ISBN13: 9781409590309

All Evie wants is to be normal. She’s almost off her meds and at a new college where no one knows her as the girl-who-went-crazy. She’s even going to parties and making friends. There’s only one thing left to tick off her list…
But relationships are messy – especially relationships with teenage guys. They can make any girl feel like they’re going mad. And if Evie can’t even tell her new friends Amber and Lottie the truth about herself, how will she cope when she falls in love?

My Review
I have heard a lot about Holly Bourne and know her books have been very popular but I'd never read one before. I was in my local discount bookstore last year and they had this trilogy as a set for only £5. I thought it was worth a try at that price so I bought them, but never got round to reading them. As I still have a bit more time on my hands at the moment with lockdown life and now the summer holidays, I am still working through my shelves and happened to grab this one.
I like the title, thought it was quite funny, as many a time I have wondered if I myself am normal! I wasn't overly excited by the blurb, I wasn't really sure what to expect, it sounded like it could be quite serious, but I was willing to give it a go.
We are introduced to Evie, our main protagonist who is about to start college and get her life back on track. She is desperate to fit in and appear to be like everyone else. But her last few years have been anything but normal, Evie was diagnosed with OCD - and ended up in hospital and on meds to help her control her anxieties. She has been working with a therapist and is slowly starting to lower her dosage. But how simple can it be to try and start all over again, and not let anyone know that you went crazy.
I really like Evie as a character, she is funny and witty and smart. She knows what she does isn't normal or rational, but understands that she has an illness, something makes her act this way and it's hard to control. She hates it when people misuse the term OCD or crazy, and is hurt by the stigma that comes with it all, so much so that she tries to hide it from everyone. I understand that urge to appear normal to others, but whilst you are reading you can't help but will her to tell someone, reveal it to her friends.
Evie is in a lot of ways a very normal teenager, she likes to hang out with her friends and she has crushes on boys, quite a few boys overall - she isn't really sure what she is looking for or how she should feel - again, pretty normal teen!
I found her 'friend' Jane really annoying, obsessed with the lead singer of a band and changing herself to appeal to him whilst dumping Evie continuously - but I think you are supposed to dislike her, but at the same time Evie still cares about her, and the writing is so good that a part of you looks for redeeming features within her too. Hoping she will snap out of it and help Evie.
Evie's 2 new best friends are cool, Lottie and Amber. I preferred Lottie of the two - very smart and sassy. Amber I found a bit of a whiner, always moaning about the fact she is tall and that boys don't like her - like that is the most important thing in life to focus on (i suppose for some teens it is). But I really wanted her to just accept herself and mature a little bit.
I really enjoyed Evie's style of narration, she is very funny - it reminded me a bit of Georgia Nicholson books by Louise Rennison, that sort of quick-witted, light-hearted silliness with some serious issues woven in to make you think and increase your awareness without feeling like you're being preached to.
Although this book was over 400 pages, I read it in 2 quick sittings, it is so easy to get absorbed in and the writing just flows that you will be through 100 pages before you realise what you've done.
This is a great way of introducing some more serious issues, such as the OCD and the true effect it can have on people without feeling that you are being lectured.
This book is fun and interesting and definitely worth a read. One of the better contemporary YA's I've read in a while.

My Rating

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