Book Review: “Faking Normal” by Courtney C. Stevens

***Warning: This review contains spoilers. If you wish to not know what goes on throughout this book, read the synopsis and don’t read any other part of this review.***

Synopsis:

“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.”

Characters:

Alexi: She is in a lot of pain and isn’t telling anyone. She has essentially perfecting the art of faking normal. She says she deals with it, but it is in a bad way until Bodee starts to help her.

Bodee: he wants to help Alexi deal with her pain even though he is in a lot of his own. I really love his character and his willingness to not let Alexi let the bastard get away with what he did to her.Turns out he is also Captain Lyric.

 

Hayden: he is a football player who claims to be Captain Lyric. He is interested in Alexi and nearly takes advantage of her when he was drunk. I think he’s a jerkface personally. I don’t like him at all.

Craig: he seemed really nice. I never once thought he was the asshole who hurt Alexi. It didn’t even cross my mind. He just seemed…nice. I don’t know. I still hate the prick.

Kayla: she can be a bitch, but she’ll choose her sister over anyone, which is something that I loved about her. She thought Alexi was into Craig, but when she found out what he did, she kicked him to the curb right then and there. She is a pretty good sister, I think.

*TRIGGER WARNING FOR RAPE AND SELF-HARM*

Plot:

The story starts off with Alexi getting ready for a funeral for this kid (commonly known as the “Kool-Aid Kid” because he dyes his hair a different color every day) named Bodee’s mother who was murdered by his father. It is later revealed that he watched her die. So they go to the funeral (Alexi, her older sister Kayla and her fiancé Craig, and her parents) and it comes time for Bodee and his brother to speak. Ben does, but Bodee can’t, so he runs out and Alexi follows him. She doesn’t say anything. Just sits with him until the funeral is over.

The story proceeds to Alexi getting ready for herself and telling herself that she let him do it. That it was all her fault and she scratches her neck really hard, drawing blood (she does this a lot) and resorts to counting the spaces of the air vent, trying to get to twenty-three. It never happens. It transitions to when Alexi is in class with her best friend and is feeling very uncomfortable and not wanting to talk about sex because of what she went through. Of the pain she’s in. So she brushes Heather off. And there’s these lyrics on the desk that she responds to. She calls who writes them Captain Lyric because she has no idea who writes them.

Later on in the story, since Alexi’s mom was always good friends with Bodee’s mom, she comes up with the solution that he should move in with them especially since his brother ben can’t possibly support both him and his brother.

So he does and because of that, Bodee and Alexi start to become friends. I forgot to mention that she sees him at school after the funeral and is staring at her scratched neck. And she knows that he knows something at least. She helps him unpack and she promises to keep buying him Kool-Aid and he promises to never let anyone hurt her again, not even herself (this was probably one of my very favorite scenes of the whole book).

So homecoming happens. She is talked into going with this football player named Hayden and they go. He gets really drunk and convinces her to go out to his car with him and she does. He tries to go a little too far and Brodee starts hitting him. Craig steps in and Alexi says it was all just a big misunderstanding.

So they all go home and the next day Heather, Liz, Alexi, and Brodee all head to school together. It is super quiet. Turns out Ray and Liz are done for good. Collie and Heather broke up because he told her he slept with one of her friends, but wouldn’t tell who.

So Heather decides to try to figure out who Captain Lyric is because he tells her he knows who she is. Alexi shows Brodee her treehouse that she never lets anyone come to. He tells her about how the earring he made her get (it was in his old house where she was murdered) was the last of a set. The first one she sold for a ticket to try to get away from her abusive husband. But he found out and nearly beat her to death.

Then he tells her how he witnessed his father murdering his mother and the police want him to testify. She tells him about Captain Lyric. But not about what happened to her. Alexi is given flowers by Hayden and everyone thinks that he is Captain Lyric. Then Hayden corners her in the lunchroom and “convinces” her to go out with him again (pretty much he threatens that if she doesn’t go out with him, he will give his football buddies the go ahead to kick Bodee’s ass). And she says yes. She doesn’t know how to say “No”, which I understand, but it still irritates the crap out of me.

Bodee makes Alexi stop scratching her neck and puts the cover of Hatchet by (insert author name here) over the vent so she won’t count. He stays in her room until she falls asleep. So she and the girls decide to have a sleepover at Alexi’s in her treehouse and they do. It’s fun until Collie, Hayden, Ray, and Bodee all show up. The girls come down, agree to let them stay (Collie is very drunk) and he thinks Alexi is Heather, knocks her down and starts kissing her. She pushes him off, Heather is all pissed, and Brodee leads her away while Craig gets rid of the guys.

That night, she sleeps in the tent with Brodee and she tells him everything about it except for who did it. He holds her, the next morning they kiss (HIS FIRST KISS!) and they go to school. Hayden is with her and Heather isn’t at school. They eat lunch together and she is very exhausted by the end of the day. They start walking home in the pouring rain when Craig says he will give them a ride and makes sure Brodee gets out because he needs to talk to Alexi when he gets home. He tries to convince her to be in Kayla’s wedding, but she refuses. She turns around and he sees the scratches on her neck.

She runs and Brodee follows her to the treehouse and she tells him she knows why she can’t say no. She tells him about how she walked in when she was six years old to fourteen year old Kayla and Craig having sex and they forced her to say she didn’t see anything. Craig says they are best buddies and to lie. And she reveals that Craig is the one who raped her. (I HAVE BEEN SCREAMING, “WHAT? WHAT?!” FOR LIKE FIVE MINUTES. LIKE WTF. I THOUGHT IT WAS COLLIE. I NEVER ONCE THOUGHT IT WAS CRAIG. WHAT IS LIFE.)

So the wedding is post poned (not because they know) and they go to the Halloween party (he’s there as Heather’s date) and as it turns out, Hayden is Captian Lyric (dammit; I was really pulling for Bodee) and he walks in when Hayden and Alexi are heavily making out and she runs after him, but does eventually say that she chooses Hayden.

He leaves, but long-story short: she gets the courage to write down what Craig did to her. She then decides to tell Bodee she is going to tell (and he goes with her) and Alexi shows her sister what she wrote and she cries and runs out (Bodee runs after her) and they come back and Kayla says they are done and to get the hell out of there and to resign from the school. Kayla chooses her side. Then later at the fort, Alexi and Bodee get together and he reveals that he is indeed Captain Lyric (I KNEW IT!!) and it was a relatively happy ending.

After Faking Normal:

I think in the end, her parents were shocked that she was keeping that from them, but despite their beliefs, they will press charges on that asshole. I think that Bodee and Alexi will stay together and work through both of their issues. I think she and Kayla will grow closer. Bodee will move back in with them. Everything will start to fall back into place.

My Thoughts:

I love this book. It is so powerful and enthralling. I think we need more books like this out there. It goes to say that when someone is raped, it isn’t just by a stranger or someone who stalks you or whatever. It can be anyone. You father, brother, uncle, best friend, or sister’s boyfriend. This is a powerful story that everyone should read (as long as they can; wouldn’t want to trigger anything). This story just goes to say that no matter what shit life throws at you, you will come out of the other side. If any of you guys ever need to talk, just drop a comment or email me. I would love to talk to you. I may not know about rape, but I have depression and am dealing with it every day. You can too.

9
5/5 hearts

Love You All to Luna and Back,

Allie

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2 thoughts on “Book Review: “Faking Normal” by Courtney C. Stevens

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