I'm so excited to have another awesome book to recommend this week! I'd been hearing amazing things about Courtney C. Stevens' debut Faking Normal, and it definitely did not disappoint. In fact, I read it in a day, even going a bit late to an evening appointment so I could finish the last few pages. I didn't want to put it down, and I couldn't get the characters out of my head after the last page. A perfect candidate for Friday Reads on my blog! Faking Normal is about Alexi, who is fighting to recover from something that happened to her over the summer. She's barely sleeping, has to hide in her closet occasionally to get through the day, and can't stop scratching her neck as a way to cope with everything that's eating her up inside. Enter Bodee, a schoolmate whose mom was just killed by his abusive father and who comes to live with Alexi and her family. Bodee is the only person Alexi knows who seems to be hurting the way she's hurting, and they're able to find solace in each other. Thanks to Bodee and Captain Lyric—a mystery boy with whom she's been exchanging snippets of songs on her desk in fourth period—Alexi is muddling through. But her secret can't stay secret forever. At some point she's going to have to confront what happened to her in order to move on…
Alexi's story captivated me. Her voice was real and heartbreaking—and surprisingly funny at times. Her fledgling trust in Bodee, and his in her, was absolutely beautiful. I loved seeing these two broken people find sanctuary and courage together. And how everything resolves itself—without spoiling anything, I'll just say that it ended exactly as I hoped it would, on all counts.
I was lucky to meet Courtney in person at one of the NYC Teen Author Festival events a few weeks ago. I happened to be browsing the Teen Fiction aisle at Barnes & Noble when I overheard Courtney and her friend, Victoria Schwab, chatting about book covers a few feet away. I asked if they were authors, and we introduced ourselves, and then Victoria and Courtney proceeded to each hand-sell me the other's book. (Yay for author friends!) (Second parenthetical: Victoria's book The Archived is coming up soon on my TBR list! I can't wait.) Long story short, Courtney and Victoria were lovely, and I'm so glad I read Faking Normal a lot sooner than I might have if I hadn't encountered these two in a bit of bookstore serendipity!
As always, now's the time where I ask what you've been reading recently. Any recommendations?