Genre: Young Adult
Modern YA fiction is often a tricky genre to discuss. Many cover so many important issues that come hand in hand with adolescence. Yet many are also looked down upon for their simple language or that simplicity that we so adore at this sweet age. Something about YA books makes them so addictive and easily consumable, which brings me to this book.
Evie has OCD. Not that Tumblr-inspired-self-diagnosis-bulls***, but an actual clinical disorder. She struggles. This book captures that. It’s a truly insightful experience into the mind of somebody who – not only is she my age – but suffers from something that we throw around so casually in general conversation:
“Because now people use the phrase OCD to describe minor personality quirks. “Oooh, I like my pens in a line, I’m so OCD.”
NO YOU’RE F***ING NOT.
“Oh my God, I was so nervous about that presentation, I literally had a panic attack.”
NO YOU F***ING DIDN’T.
“I’m so hormonal today. I just feel totally bipolar.”
SHUT UP, YOU IGNORANT BUMFACE.”
No, this book allows those with limited knowledge on what some may experience to see that. Evie just wants to live a normal teenage life. I am sure many out there can relate. The story of Evie may not be the same as everybody else’s, but it is a story nonetheless.
What makes this book different is how sincere it is. The family seems so realistic, the common teenage girl woes of boys and parties etc. are so ‘normal’ that it doesn’t feel fictional. I felt like I was right there with her, every step of the way. It is that exact vibe that differentiates this book from any other run-of-the-mill teenage fiction.
“Being a woman, in this world, ultimately makes you crazy.”
As you may have guessed, I liked this book. Putting my usual snobbery of YA books aside, I can agree that this is such an important book for young people, for adults, for parents, for anyone really. It is toned down enough that it can be appropriate for its target market, but raw enough to make you think, ponder the words and thoughts on the paper. Am I Normal Yet? prompts you to consider feminism, self-acceptance, love of oneself, as well as mental health. How can you go wrong with that exactly?
Holly Bourne is a talented writer, no doubt about that. She captured the struggle of recovery in Evie so smoothly and with such ease, it’s truly lovely. To write a book about such a difficult topic aimed at teens yet still allows it to remain light-hearted? Truly lovely.
“Do you ever wonder,” he asked, “how we decide what’s mad and what isn’t? There’s so much crazy stuff in the world – everything’s a mess most of the time – but then people who can’t handle it are called mental and have films made about them… But what if they’re just reacting to the weirdness of the universe? Isn’t it more weird to just think everything’s okay, when it clearly isn’t?”
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