Faking Normal by Courtney C. Stevens Audiobook Review

faking normal

Book: Faking Normal by Courtney C. Stevens, HarperAudio, February 2014

Book Info: Audible purchase, Running time: 7 hrs, 45 minutes. Performed by: Emma Galvin. Also available in hardcover or e-book, 336 pages from HarperTeen

Faking Normal is Courtney C. Stevens’ debut novel, and it’s one I’ve had on my radar for a few months since I’m a realistic fiction fan. It’s about a girl dealing with the aftermath of a traumatic event, and how she copes, and who she can turn to in her darkest hours. The author explains it much better here:

We piece together a mystery in Faking Normal. We know that Alexi is hurting from an event that happened over the summer. We can see her hurt herself, and avoiding social events, but we don’t know why. Alexi keeps it all inside, like the title says, and can’t confide in her friends or family. Help comes from an unlikely source in the form of Bodee, a boy who is also suffering a great deal. Even though his pain is also so raw, or maybe because of that, he sees through Alexi’s façade and is able to get through to her the way that no one else can.

Though I haven’t been in Alexi’s specific situation, it felt to me that her behavior was realistic given the circumstances. We all have things we keep to ourselves, and the pain of Alexi’s secret felt very real. My heart went out to her, wanting her to reach out to someone for help, but understanding she was not physically or mentally ready to do so. She cuts as a coping mechanism, and another source of comfort are the lyrics the mysterious “Captain Lyric” leaves for Alexi on her desk at school.

Alexi’s friendship with Bodee is one of my favorite parts of the book. Sometimes people are there for you right when you need him, and Bodee is so sweet and careful with Alexi that he makes her feel truly safe.

I picked up the audiobook of Faking Normal, because I saw that one of my favorite narrators Emma Galvin performs it. Galvin does well with a variety of genres, but I think she’s particularly successful with action packed reads like Divergent. That said, Galvin connects with the characters and makes Alexi’s pain feel real. Galvin uses a Southern accent to go with the book’s setting, and makes both the male and female voices sound distinct. Lyrics play an important part in the narrative, so this book is probably just as powerful in print. Check out an audio sample:

Faking Normal is written from Alexi’s point of view, but there is a prequel novella called The Blue-Haired Boy (Bodee dyes his hair with Kool-Aid) that lets us into Bodee’s mind.the blue-haired boy

Faking Normal is a powerful, emotional read along the same vein as Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. Alexi’s story arc is satisfying even though everything is not completely tied up at the end. Looking forward to reading more by this author.


10 thoughts on “Faking Normal by Courtney C. Stevens Audiobook Review

  1. Tammy Sparks says:

    I’ve got this on my radar to read at some point. It sounds like the author has done a really good job of keeping the tension up by not revealing right away what’s happened to Alexi. And awesome spoiler free review, Lucy!

    1. Lucy says:

      It is kind of twisty turny for a contemporary read, Tammy, almost like an unreliable narrator type of situation. I know contemporary is not really your thing, but I’m curious to hear what you’d think of it.

  2. BermudaOnion says:

    It makes you wonder just how many kids are “faking normal.” This sounds outstanding!

    1. Lucy says:

      “Faking normal” is more common than we expect, I guess. Alexi’s behavior rang true to me, but at the same time her reaction was something different than we usually see in YA.

  3. Nara says:

    I really love Alexi and Bodee’s relationship too! It was so sweet 🙂
    I’ve seen a lot of people comparing this book to Speak- I really should get around to reading that book at some point…

    1. Lucy says:

      It was so sweet, wasn’t it Nara? I liked how respectful Bodee was with her. I hope you do check out Speak sometime. It is a short read that you can knock out in a couple hours, but very powerful. I think I read it for banned books week one year.

  4. This sounds fantastic, I love a good emotional read and as I don’t know if it’s getting pub’d here, I might give the audio a go 🙂

  5. I just finished this one and read it in one day. I loved Bodee! I am posting my review this week. Thanks for the letting us know about the prequel. I am definitely checking it out.

  6. I’ve heard nothing but praise and overflowing emotion for this book. I’m really looking forward to reading it, but I”m a little nervous because I’m not in the mindset for an extremely emotional read at the moment. SOON, though. It sounds fantastic.

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

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