Book review: The Art of Being Normal, by Lisa Williamson

Let’s just say this book was such an unexpected experience for me. I had no hopes whatsoever when I start reading it, only to get slapped and actually could not stop reading the whole entire book in one dark night as I’m coughing my lungs out (damn you, unexpected cough!). Seriously, the cover and the premise might not seem promising for some, but it’s really worth your time. Also, the plot twist though; I certainly did not see that coming.

David Piper has always been an outsider. His parents think he’s gay. The school bully thinks he’s a freak. Only his two best friends know the real truth – David wants to be a girl. On the first day at his new school Leo Denton has one goal – to be invisible. Attracting the attention of the most beautiful girl in Year 11 is definitely not part of that plan. When Leo stands up for David in a fight, an unlikely friendship forms. But things are about to get messy. Because at Eden Park School secrets have a funny habit of not staying secret for long . . .

Okay, when I mentioned there was going to be a plot twist that I seriously did not see coming, did it ignite your curiosity? I really hope it does, because every single thing in this book is seriously unpredictable. Not only were the events were not predictable (yes, there were some cliches like a bully getting out of hand on his bullying, someone punched the bully, they all get detention, some unlikely friendship is formed yadda yadda), but you know what else is unpredictable about the book? YOU SERIOUSLY DID NOT EXPECT IT TO GO SO SO SO SO DARK IN A MATTER OF A PAGE FLIP (or a screen tap in my case, because I’m reading the ebook version)! No, seriously, there was this part in the book that already gave you enough hints that something horrible had happened prior to where the book started but, I kid you freaking not, I didn’t expect it to be THAT horrible and traumatising. My heart breaks in pieces when I read that part.

Although the ending closes in a hopeful tone, I like the fact that it was a sweet ending and that it happened sometime in Christmas (which by the way, Christmas is tomorrow y’all!!!). Anyway, what I’m trying to say is that this book was such an enjoyable experience, the built up was very slow but it was very steady that when you reached halfway through the book, you’re definitely hooked and you can’t stop reading it for fear that you would lose the momentum. The characters were all very endearing (except obviously for the bully). Something that still troubles me is the bullying, I don’t know how horrible bullying is in another country or in another era than when I was in high school, but I can tell you the bullying in this book is brutal. Brutal in the sense that it really gets into your head and ruins you mentally; don’t get me wrong though, I’m not criticising the author, if anything I’m actually complimenting the way she works the horrible bullying into something that is both horrible but also get into the depths of how the bullying destroys the victim mentally. It was such a rollercoaster experience to follow through the event as the reader.

Now this was such a quick and fun, also enlightening experience. I have never read any story about transgender, so to have this as my first book on the topic felt like a good choice on my part. Seriously, I don’t know what else to say about this book except, do give this book a try. Whether or not you are interested in topics such as teenage transgender, this was such a great read. Do give this book a read, I really don’t know how to sell this book again apart from repeating the chant of “Do-read-this-book-Do-read-this-book-Do-read-this-book”. I’m going to be very annoying but please, seriously, read this book.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: The Art of Normal

Author: Lisa Williamson

Genre: Fiction, Young Adult, Contemporary, LGBT

Goodreads link




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