Lisa Reviews: Courtney Stevens - "Faking Normal"

Stevens_faking normalAlexi Littrell can’t deal with what has happened to her, even though months have passed since the summer. She can’t sleep through a single night or go through a day without thinking about what has been done to her, or being reminded of it. She sees him everyday, and there’s nothing she can do and no one she can tell.

The story starts with Alexi and her family attending the funeral of her mum’s best friend. After being abused, she was murdered by her own husband and left behind her two sons. As Bodee walks onto the stage, getting ready to say his final words of parting, he can’t do it and runs out of the room.

Even though their moms were good friends, Alexi and Bodee were never close, but Alexi decides to sit without him outside the church on the curb. Her family then decides to let him move into the extra bedroom above their garage so that he can finish the school year.

But soon a connection begins to build when Alexi and her two best friends take a liking to Bodee and give him rides to and from school. Who knew Alexi would become so close with Kool-Aid Kid? Not Alexi, that’s for sure.

She also didn’t know that Bodee would be the only one she could tell what happened to her in the summer. She couldn’t say anything to her family, but for some reason Bodee seems safe. He becomes her rock, perhaps because he knows what pain and loss feels like.

During class Alexi gets her work done quickly so she can completely involve herself in Captain Lyrics and what he wrote on her desk each day. Alexi doesn’t actually know who he is, but she swoons and dreams of him every day. While Heather, Alexi’s best friend, wants her to finally meet him, Alexi is worried that he will be nothing like she imagines and is nervous.

So instead Heather gets Alexi to go out with Hayden, a football player.

When she finally agrees to date Hayden, Alexi learns that he isn’t anything like what Heather described him to be. He’s conceited, makes fun of Bodee, and drinks a lot! When he pulls her outside the dance and takes her to his truck, he starts kissing her and lies on top of her. Alexi doesn’t like it, and it brings back memories of the horrible experience she had in the summer. She doesn’t want this, but for some reason she can’t make herself say no, or say anything at all. She’s choked up and stuck.

Until someone pulls Hayden off her and starts punching him. Bodee.

At that moment she knows just how much Bodee means to her. At first she couldn’t believe the connection she felt, but now it’s real and truly happening. He doesn’t ask Alexi any questions, he doesn’t push her, and he doesn’t talk to her about it unless she wants to. Bodee helps Alexi find the confidence to leave Hayden in the dirt and to tell her family of what happened to her in the summer so she can finally become herself again.

Faking Normal is a story of true heartache, friendship, true love, and finding yourself all over again!

When I was asked to review this book, I was suckered in by the intriguing synopsis! I was dying to find out what happened to Alexi, who was involved, and how she was going to reveal her situation and overcome it.

I did my best to ignore the weird cover, and I’m glad I did because I ABSOLUTELY enjoyed the story inside! Faking Normal has my favorite cast of characters; there was no uber gorgeous girl, no super strong and good looking guy, and no extremely sensitive character that whined about everything little thing. Faking Normal had characters that were down to earth, real, and that I could connect with.

Alexi was brave and strong for trying to fight this battle on her own, but she was even stronger to let someone in after all. Bodee was her rock. He stood back and let Alexi have space to figure everything out. He was her hero without completely overshadowing her.

Alexi’s older sister was a bit snarky and mean, but she changed towards the end. Instead of fighting and arguing with her sister, she fought for her sister. I enjoyed seeing this change.

We do find out what happened to Alexi about halfway through the book, but we spend the rest of the time discovering and dissecting clues and hints about who did it to her, as well as who Captain Lyrics is.

Faking Normal is such a good read, with such a heartfelt ending. I loved it!

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