Review: Am I Normal Yet? (Normal #1) by Holly Bourne10:00
Series: Normal #1
Author: Holly Bourne
Published August 1st 2015 by Usborne
All Evie wants is to be normal. She’s almost off her meds and at a new college where no one knows her as the girl-who-went-crazy. She’s even going to parties and making friends. There’s only one thing left to tick off her list…
But relationships are messy – especially relationships with teenage guys. They can make any girl feel like they’re going mad. And if Evie can’t even tell her new friends Amber and Lottie the truth about herself, how will she cope when she falls in love?
I know I'm a little late to the Holly Bourne party, and I'm sorry about that. After reading spectacular book, I definitely need more of her books! I definitely need to support more UKYA authors, and Holly is perfect for this.
In Am I Normal Yet?, Evie is about to start college. After just scrapping by with a few GCSEs, she feels as if now is the right time to reduce her medication for her OCD, and try to be 'normal'. She has a plan: not let anyone know she was the 'girl who went crazy', make friends, and maybe get a boyfriend? As her dosage slowly get lower and lower, she is confronted with the need to tell her friends about her history, and how to overcoming the urges and anxiety that is returning.
To me, Am I Normal Yet? covers the issue of mental health, and what being a teenager in modern Britain is like, to a T. Now, I've never had any interaction with OCD, so please correct me if I offend anyone - I really don't mean to. I just feel like the way Holly treated Evie's OCD was done perfectly. It wasn't hushed up like it was a bad thing; rather, it was explained in a clear way, and shown that while it can be painful and heartbreaking to sufferers and their families, there are various methods to deal with it. Just because you may suffer from OCD, anxiety, etc., does not mean you are crazy. There is such a stigma around the topic of mental health, and I think if more people read books like this (or like Every Last Word, which I reviewed last week) there would be a greater understanding on these topics.
Also, on the subject of stigmas, Holly is not an author to shy away from controversial subjects. I can count on one hand, if I think really hardly, the amount of books I've read that discuss periods, and I mean actually discuss, not just gloss over them, or make them into jokes about PMSing or whatnot. As someone who has periods, like half the population of the whole world, they shouldn't be hidden away and made a 'controversial' subject. To be honest, none of us would be here without periods, just saying. If you think about it like that, shouldn't more be done to make them more 'normal'.
Another thing, there is no such thing as 'normal'. 'Normal' is an ideal, and one person's normal, will not be another's. We should just get rid of this word, while we're on. Today's world wants to make everything all idealised, and perfect. Reality check, nothing is perfect. Everything and everyone has something about them that makes them unique, and that's amazing. That's what makes us, us.
Anywho, I've ranted enough. I adored the friendship between Evie, Amber, and Lottie! They're the type of friend group I wish I had grouping up (and still do, to be honest). They talked about real stuff, not just the stereotypical 'girly' gossip, etc. It was a true feminist group, and should be shown to everyone out there - old, young; male, female - to show just what feminism is.
Yeah, there were boys in the book, and a little romance, but Evie's entire world didn't just change when a lad started liking her. Her whole world didn't suddenly shift off it's axis, and now revolve around him. She stayed true to herself, and I loved that, because I loved everything about Evie!
I feel like this review has been a bit full on, sorry (not sorry). However, it needed to be said, and you need to read this book! I wish I had this book when I was a teenager (eve though it wasn't written, but whatever). This is, quite simply, perfection, even if I have qualms about that word. It's a book that transcends all ages, and should automatically be given to all teenagers as a book to show that life as a teenager isn't great, but there are ways to deal with that. I'm doing to jumping right into book 2, How Hard Can Love Be?, as soon as I get a chance.