Wow. Just, wow. This is one of those rare stories that kicks you in the feels and makes you smile all while making you wish you had your very own Kool-Aid Kid! ;)
Most YA Contemps deal with teenagers and their issues, many of which are so over the top they're nearly impossible to believe or relate to. Not so with FAKING NORMAL.
Courtney C. Stevens has given us a compelling story about two teens, Alexi and Bodee, both of whom are struggling with pretty heavy stuff in their lives, like death, self-mutilation and sexual assault. Alexi and Bodee are doing the best they can to just to survive even if that means pretending everything is okay. But things begin to slowly unravel for both of them and while it would be very easy for Stevens to drag her characters through the muck and leave them there, she doesn't. Instead, she gives them a chance to be brave, to speak up and she gives them each other.
Does this turn into a mushy "fix you" teen romance? No, which is another reason this story sets itself apart. While the relationship that develops between Alexi and Bodee is heart-achingly tender and sweet, Stevens writes them with enough maturity to know that they need to figure out their own issues first before they can "jump ahead" into a full-on romance. Together they make each other stronger and help each other start to heal.
What I loved most about this book was the hope it offers. Hope that, despite the bad things we experience, we are the ones who choose whether or not we allow bad things to define us or to make us brave.
Read this book and then go channel your brave!