Book Review: Faking Normal

Faking Normal

Faking Normal – Courtney C. Stevens – HarperTeen – Published 25 February 2014



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.

My thoughts

After reading The Lies About Truth I knew I had to read Faking Normal. Courtney C. Steven’s debut is just as earth-shatteringly powerful as her second book. I’m not sure I can adequately convey how devastating Faking Normal was. How incredibly well written it is. How it mixes fear and pain and love and hope. The suspense, the agony of not knowing who the perpetrator was, and of wanting so much for Bodee and Alexi. 
Alexi never told anyone what happened to her. But the silence is eating at her. She doesn’t sleep, instead she hides in her closet and carves her fingernails into her neck. But she does know what it’s like to feel pain, so when Bodee’s mother is murdered, Alexi is supportive when her parents suggest he move in with them. Soon Bodee and Alexi connect over their shared pain and learn to support and challenge each other as they face their pasts.

This really was a beautifully written book, and so completely … well, I just don’t have words. Challenging and heartbreaking, yet every minute of Faking Normal is so enjoyable.

More information

Category: Young adult fiction.

Genre: Contemporary.

Themes: Sexual abuse, family, romance, grief.

Reading age guide: Ages 14 and up.

Advisory: Infrequent coarse language, f***, s***.  Sexual references and discussions, discussion of sexual assault.

Published: 25 February 2014 by HarperTeen

Format: Hardcover, paperback, ebook, audiobook. 336 pages.

Find it on Goodreads


  1. The Galaxial Word

    I feel like I’ve heard about this book before, but I can’t remember… I guess I’ll have to read and see 🙂 ! Great review!

    The Galaxial Word

    • Madison's Library

      Thanks! It’s over a year old now, so you may well have heard of it before. When I read The Lies About Truth I knew I had to read Courtney’s other books. It certainly didn’t disappoint.

  2. rachjessk

    This sounds a little like Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, in that the narrator has a sexual abuse-related secret that she keeps. I quite enjoyed that book, so I’ll have to check out Faking Normal!

    • Madison's Library

      Yeah, there are a number of great books that tackle the difficult topic of sexual abuse/assault. I loved how in Faking Normal the details of Alexi’s secret are gradually revealed to the reader. It had me guessing right up to the big reveal at the end. Great book.

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