I first heard about this book on Epic Reads Tea Time when the ladies were discussing next year's upcoming titles. It sounded like an interesting premise from a debut author, but a book that wasn't necessarily for everyone.
Now that I've read it, I can definitely agree with both statements. Faking Normal touches on some very sensitive subjects, and will therefore not appeal to every reader. While Courtney C. Stevens does a good job of navigating the storyline, I couldn't help but compare this book to Laurie Halse Anderson's Speak, which I felt was much, much better than this book. I suppose this is a problem with any "issue" book: once you've read a book that touches on a sensitive issue in just the right way, other books will either live up to that impossibly high standard or fail to achieve the same greatness. While I won't say that this book failed, it won't secure a spot on my favourites shelf.
Some of the characters were incredibly real and interesting (like Bodee, who was my favourite) but other characters really fell flat (like Liz or Heather). I felt like I didn't really get to know some of the people that were closest to the main character, which meant that they weren't all that likeable. I also didn't really understand some characters' motivations (like Kayla, who is so ANGRY and malicious all the time, especially at her sister). Although I had sympathetic moments for the main character, Alexi, I also had moments where I really didn't understand how things unfolded as they did. Ultimately, by the end of the novel, I came to understand why things happened the way they did, but her actions definitely frustrated me at times.
Although this book deals with a heavy issue, it was a quick read for me. I'm still torn on whether I'd actually recommend it to anyone (issue books are usually hard ones for me to say, "Hey, check out this book! It's awesome!" because the topics are so sensitive). With that being said, I'll be interested to see what Courtney comes out with next.
Note: I received an e-galley of this book from Edelweiss. The fact that I received this book for review did not influence my opinion of this book in any way.