Faking Normal

Faking Normal

4.1 (7,145 ratings by Goodreads)
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An edgy, realistic debut novel praised by the New York Times bestselling author of Between Shades of Gray, Ruta Sepetys, as "a beautiful reminder that amid our broken pieces we can truly find ourselves."

Alexi Littrell hasn't told anyone what happened to her over the summer by her backyard pool. Instead, she hides in her closet, counts the slats in the air vent, and compulsively scratches the back of her neck, trying to make the outside hurt more than the inside does--and deal with the trauma.

When Bodee Lennox--"the Kool-Aid Kid"--moves in with the Littrells after a family tragedy, Alexi discovers an unlikely friend in this quiet, awkward boy who has secrets of his own. As their friendship grows, Alexi gives him the strength to deal with his past, and Bodee helps her summon the courage to find her voice and speak up about the rape that has changed the course of her life.
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Product details

  • 12-17
  • Hardback | 321 pages
  • 139 x 209 x 30mm | 410g
  • HarperCollins
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0062245384
  • 9780062245380
  • 536,207

Back cover copy

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.

At school, nobody sees the scratches or her pain. The only person she connects with is the mysterious Captain Lyric, who writes song lyrics on her fourth-period desk for her to complete. With pencil marks and music, Alexi carves out a comfortable space for herself as she and the Captain finish each other's songs--words on a desk feel safer than words spoken aloud.

But when Bodee Lennox, the quiet and awkward boy next door, comes to live with the Littrells, Alexi discovers an unlikely friend who understands her better than anyone. He has secrets of his own and knows all about suffering in silence. 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 speak up.

With her powerful, moving debut novel, author Courtney C. Stevens emerges as an extraordinary new talent to watch.
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Review quote

"Debut novelist Stevens has written a powerful and fast-paced first-person story of a young woman who finds an inner strength she never knew she possessed."--Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA)
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Rating details

7,145 ratings
4.1 out of 5 stars
5 43% (3,075)
4 33% (2,381)
3 17% (1,229)
2 4% (313)
1 2% (147)

Our customer reviews

Every once in a while we come across a book that is mind-blowing-good and you love it so much that you canâ??t stop thinking about and canâ??t even talk about it for fear of incoherent rambling. Well, Faking Normal was this kinda book. Faking Normal is contemporary done right. This poignant and powerful novel stands out among the recent young adult releases and is guaranteed to make you feel. Courtney C. Stevenâ??s weaves a moving story of two teenagersâ?? journey following the aftermath of a tragedy and their discovery of the power of love, hope and healing through forgiveness. â??Me: A girl who was raped. Him: A boy whose dad killed his mom.Us: A girl and boy who survive.â?? Alexi Littrell is an ordinary teenager who looks like she has pretty much everything together. But life is anything but normal for Alexi whoâ??s dealing with aftermath of a betrayal and rape by someone she trusted. Bodee Lennox aka the Kool Aid Kid, is a survivor of domestic violence whose mother was murdered by his father. Stevenâ??s breaks free of the â??strong female protagonistâ?? mould and gives us a heroine whoâ??s utterly refreshing. Donâ??t get me wrong Alexi is strong after all, she is survivor a sexual abuse and she helped Bodee to seek closure and testify at his fatherâ??s trial. However, she was also human-She knew she needed Bodeeâ??s help in order to understand what truly happened and to forgive herself. Bodee was amazing, guys. Heâ??s unlike any other male hero in YA. His sensitivity, wisdom and kindness will have you falling irrevocably in love with him. The romance was the best kind-sweet and slow. Watching Alexi and Bodee fall for each other was simply beautiful. Faking Normal would not be same without Stevenâ??s powerful writing. The captivating prose and mystery element make Faking Normal one hell of a compelling read. Courtney C. Steven masterfully tackles the sensitive subject of rape and courageously challenges the common misconceptions in rape culture in this debut. Courtney C. Stevenâ??s heartbreaking and heart-warming debut Faking Normal will without doubt leave a mark on readers. MY FAVORITE LINE: â??There are no words to this music, and that makes me sad. Every song deserves lyrics. Deserves a story to tell.â?? AND THIS ONE: â??And more than that, Bodee left me with hope. For love. For wanting someone to touch me again and to lie with me without fear as my first response. Because Bodee slept in his sneakers, because Bodee asked for a kiss instead of just taking it, and because he kept space between us. He danced with two fingers until I asked for three or four... and his hand on my hip.I know we're both still broken. Both of us. But Bodee's got the glue to make us whole. He is love.â?? I SWEAR THIS IS THE LAST ONE: â??But today is better than yesterday. And this hurt is still a hole in me, but it's a shrinking hole."show more
by Nuzaifa Hussain
I was expecting something a little darker, maybe even moodier, when I picked up this book, and even though it was lighter than I expected, I still fell in love with Faking Normal. Alexi seems like a normal, functioning teenage girl, except she�???�??�?�¢??s not. She�???�??�?�¢??s hiding something, something that brings her to her closet nearly every night to scratch the back of her neck or to count the slashes in the vent above her bed. Faking Normal opens to a scene at a funeral for Bodee�???�??�?�¢??s mom (a friend of Alexi�???�??�?�¢??s mom), who was murdered by his father. Bodee is a student at Alexi�???�??�?�¢??s high school, and at the funeral Alexi reaches out to him, somewhat unexpectedly. With Bodee�???�??�?�¢??s help, Alexi starts to confront her problems, and even helps Bodee through his troubles as well. I adored this book, especially Bodee and Alexi�???�??�?�¢??s friendship. It was easy, natural, and it was so adorable and cute. Bodee was the sweetest guy and a great friend to Alexi. Alexi was a little bit hard to like at times, mostly because, despite having her problems, I felt like she should have been a little stronger. I understand why she wasn�???�??�?�¢??t, and how she couldn�???�??�?�¢??t say no, but it still bothered me that she didn�???�??�?�¢??t stand up for herself. Even in pretty harmless situations, she still went along with things she didn�???�??�?�¢??t want to do. For the most part, I did like her character though, especially when she was around Bodee. I wasn�???�??�?�¢??t expecting the ending, or rather the person revealed to have raped her. I thought it was someone else for half the book, and the other half, I was completely unaware. I liked the fact that it surprised me, but I also hated how normal Alexi managed to act around this person, how even though she felt so affected by what happened, yet showed no signs when around him. She was more skittish around the people who didn�???�??�?�¢??t hurt her than around the one who did. This made no sense to me, and it felt off in the end. Overall, this was a fairly light read, though it dealt with a very serious issue. I�???�??�?�¢??d recommend this book to fans of Speak by Anderson, Ellen Hopkins�???�??�?�¢?? Books, or books that deal with real issues. Faking Normal was emotional, but managed to make me laugh and smile, kept me interested till the last page.show more
by Jessica N.
I was hesitant to read this book at first. Mostly because I knew whatever Alexi's secret was it was going to hurt and be predictable. It did and it was. However, Faking Normal did three things very well 1) character building 2) plot and pace and 3) included a whole lot of real talk. I really grew to love Alexi and it's not out of pity. I was sad that she couldn't find herself lovable because she deemed herself broken, hopeful that she could believe in unseen love, and inspiring that when she found her voice. When Bodee enters her world their greatest connection is silence, literally, it's the idea that they can share the same space comfortably that builds trust. Their tragedies then unfold as the authors guides us through their pain, coping mechanisms, discovering self love and becoming survivors. Bodee's character is quirky, we never do find out what's up with the Kool-Aid, but we do know that he's the perfect person to allow our closets. The dynamics between Alexi and Bodee are organic and subtle which made me root for them to the very end. The secondary cast of friends and family members display human depth, while showcasing the complexity of family and peer relations. Above all we discover the lengths that people will go through to protect those they love despite the consequences. Faking Normal moves quickly through its 336 pages to keep the reader engaged and guessing. There are multiple likely "suspects" whom share Alexi's secret as she protects theirs. This allows for a level of suspense as we learn more about what happened that summer. With each chapter a new piece is unveiled in discovering the identities of Alexi's monster along with her lyrical pen pal who always knows the right thing to say. Each scene leads us down a new path in discovering the truth, testing each character's ability to enacting change to move on, and the ability to find hope. Real talk sums up this whole book. There are no sugar plumbs and fairies here. These are realistic characters dealing with real issues, heavy issues. The issues and lessons do not just apply to the YA genre but display a culture of shame that has been built around these topics. I really appreciate that Courtney C. Stevens did not turn this into a story filled with cultural stereotypes, but made this about one girl and one boy, and their desire to be normal.show more
by Meghann
(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss.) 16-year-old Alexi is hiding a secret, a secret about something that happened to her over the summer, one that is driving her to hurt herself and stopping her from sleeping. If she tells, sheâ??ll ruin one boys life, but the secret is ruining hers. Can Alexi really live with this secret? Will she ever find the strength to tell someone what this boy did to her? And doesnâ??t he deserve to have his life ruined after he ruined hers? I really enjoyed this book, the mystery of what had happened and who had done it was super intriguing! I liked Aleix, and I really felt for her and what she had gone through. It was easy to see why she was so upset, and why she was having such problems coming to terms with things, and I loved the way that Bodee found a way to help her. I totally got why she felt so scared, and why defending herself was so difficult, and I really wanted her to get things out in the open and begin to feel better. I really liked the storyline in this book, and the mystery aspect was done really well. I loved how we had a list of suspects, and it was really difficult to actually know who it was that had done the deed, and I was torn as to who I thought it was, and I really didnâ??t guess the culprit until the moment before it was revealed. So impressed with the mystery in this book! There was romance, but it was subtle, and it was friendship becomes love rather than anything else. I loved the way that Bodee was there for Alexi, and supported her through what she was going through, the same way that she supported him. There was also a mystery side to the romance as well though, with a mystery man who left Alexi notes in the form of song lyrics, that she would then write the next line to. I really liked this mystery too, and I really couldnâ??t wait to find out who â??Captain Lyricsâ?? was! The ending was also done really well and everything came together at just the right moment. I liked the way that things were resolved, and I loved the way the romance ended too. I really did love the mystery and romance of this book; it made this un-put-down-able! Overall; intriguing mystery and sweet romance â?? highly recommended! 8.75 out of 10show more
by Sarah Elizabeth
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