~ Book Review & Author Spotlight: Faking Normal by Courtney C. Stevens ~

Title: Faking Normal
Author: Courtney C. Stevens
Publisher: HarperCollins
Release Date: February 25th, 2014
Pages: 336
Format: ARC
Source: Good Choice Reading
Age Group: Young Adult
Genre: Contemporary

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.
When Bodee Lennox, the quiet and awkward boy next door, comes to live with the Littrells, Alexi discovers an unlikely friend in "the Kool-Aid Kid," who has secrets of his own. 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 face the truth.
A searing, poignant book, Faking Normal is the extraordinary debut novel from an exciting new author-Courtney C. Stevens.

Normally I stay away of books like this just because I know that at the end I’m going to be a mess of emotions. And I was right, it ripped my heart out of my chest and shattered into little pieces. It left me broken and without any words to express my emotions. The book was painfully beautiful and I have been having a really hard time trying to put my thoughts together to write a review that would do justice to the book. Hands downs to the author for creating such a powerful story of suffering and overcoming real life issues. 

Alexi is broken, she won't talk about what happened to her. She won't share her nightmare with anyone and is consuming her, slowly breaking her more. Hiding in her closet, the only way she finds to cope with what happened to her is scratching her neck and counting the spaces in the air condition vent. But when outcast boy Bodee, with a terrible story of his own, comes to the picture everything turns upside down. Together they try to find a better way to deal with the tragedies that struck them so early in life. 

I love Alexi, her story is devastating. I felt really bad for the whole situation but at the same time I wanted to make her speak, stand up for herself and talk to someone. What happened to her is not really revealed to the readers until later on the book but you know, you have that nagging feeling. Bodee, I just love him. There is nothing out of this world about him but his presence is calming to me. He is protective and a good friend. 

While I try to stay away from books with issues so strong, I couldn't put this one down. I just wanted to know how everything happened, the who and more important if Alexi was able to overcome her fears and speak up. This story is about friendship and how you could find it when the least you are expecting it. I love that they were able to find the inner peace to put the pieces of their lives back together. 

Overall, the story is really good, strong subject and lots of feels. The plot is well developed, the details, the memories, everything is in place to create a beautiful mess of emotions. I do wish the ending had involve Alexi’s family a little bit more, the whole situation could had been handled differently, with repercussions ( I have to be vague, do not want to give any spoilers). I am glad I gave this book a chance. Grab a copy and read it, you will not be disappointed. 

Courtney C. Stevens grew up in Kentucky and lives in Nashville, Tennessee. She is an adjunct professor and a former youth minister. Her other skills include playing hide-and-seek, climbing trees, and being an Olympic torch bearer. Her debut novel, FAKING NORMAL (HarperTeen), will be released on February 25th, 2014.


1. If you were to live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
I can’t imagine leaving Nashville. My community here is beautiful, and inspiring, and I know how lucky I am to spend time in the company of people who love me. However, if I were a lonely vagabond, I would move to Prince Edward Island and never leave Anne’s Land.
2. What’s your favorite guilty pleasure?
I don’t have very many because I work three jobs, but … I love laser tag. I have a yearly membership, which means, I have my own codename. It is … (I’ll never tell.)
3.  Do you have a favorite author or book?
I have two. Andrew Smith- Winger and Markus Zusak- I am the Messenger. 
4. If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your novel or getting it published that you would change?
I wrote Faking Normal for me. So while it is not perfect, (and I’m certainly glad that it has an audience larger than one), I wrote what I needed to hear. That makes it hard to want to change things now that they have a spine. I am also attached to the idea that I did my best, and then a team of wonderful professionals did their best, and that’s enough for me, even though I know it won’t be enough for every reader. 
5. What project are you working on now? 
I am currently revising book two, which is untitled. It is about the power of truth in friendship; a Dawson’s Creek meets Friday Night Lights. (Hopefully. This one has been a doozy to write.)
6. What inspired you to write your first book?
This is going to sound very Twilight of me, but I had a dream. I don’t often remember my dreams and I woke up with a scene in my head. It was so compelling that I wrote it down, and then I needed to know what happened before … and after. That became my first book. (Which no one but my mother will ever champion.)
7. Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Faking Normal is fiction, but everyone secrets. People often answer the question, “How is your day?” with “Fine,” even if it’s been rotten.  Covering up shame is a human compulsion, so it would be hard to say that no part of Faking Normal is real. So, yes, I've Faked my share of Normal in life, and I've also had a wonderful Bodee-like friend.
8. Tell us about a unique or quirky habit of yours.
I pretty much only cry in sports movies. The Notebook: I didn't shed a tear. Rudy: I bawled like a baby.
9. How did you come up with your characters? 
I really don’t know. They weren't, and then they were.

Quick-fire questions:

Beach or Mountains? Beach
Coffee or tea? Neither if they are hot. (Tea.)
Chocolate or Candy? Both, but probably a slight tip toward chocolate.
e-reader or book? Book
Morning or night? Morning
Alexi or Bodee? Bodee


  1. I don't like reading sad books but I've been looking forward to Faking Normal for such a LONG time! I've heard so many great reviews and I'm glad you enjoyed it. Great review :)

    -Kimi at Geeky Chiquitas


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