Review: Am I Normal Yet? by Holly Bourne

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The plot

All Evie wants is to be normal. She’s almost off her meds and at a new college where no one knows her as the girl-who-went-crazy. She’s even going to parties and making friends. There’s only one thing left to tick off her list…

But relationships are messy – especially relationships with teenage guys. They can make any girl feel like they’re going mad. And if Evie can’t even tell her new friends Amber and Lottie the truth about herself, how will she cope when she falls in love?

Via Goodreads

❥ My review

I started this book for two reasons, one being that Holly Bourne will be attending YALC 2018 in London, where I am going in a few weeks, and the other being my friend Roxanne who told me to do so. And so I did.

I didn’t know anything about it, expect that this book is well loved in our community and that it talks about mental health. It’s the kind of book you see everywhere and know about without even picking it up. I was glad to start it knowing nothing, as it was a bigger surprise.

I related to our main character, Evie, immediately. I too suffer from OCDs and anxiety, and I learned somehow so much more about the two of it. I have been diagnosed with OCDs only recently so it felt good to read about it: It made me feel less alone and way more understood. And for that I’m very thankful.

Now, even though this book is important and has a great representation when it comes to OCDs and anxiety, it still has some issues and not a lot of people have been talking about it, even though I read tons of reviews before starting writing mine. That’s why I separated this review in two parts: what I loved and what bugged me off.

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What I loved

Obviously, I loved Evie. She is far from perfect but I related to her so, so much. I have been through what she’s facing in this book and I know how hard it is to accept that you are relapsing, that you are sick and that you need help, no matter how normal you want to be and try to be. No matter what, Evie was strong, nice and she inspired to keep getting better, but also to keep doing better. Thanks to her and to this book, I am starting to understand that no one is “normal”, that I’m not different in that way and that you should always be nice and care about your friends and family – they care more than you think.

In the end, none of the characters were perfect but they were perfect teenagers and made mistakes everyone does at their age. It felt so good to read about teenagers actually acting like some, and not trying to be all grown up. Holly Bourne is really good when it comes to writing through the eyes of a 16 years old, and I’m really glad for that. I’m also very happy with the anxiety and OCDs representation, which I found to be perfect and I never read a review saying the contrary. Plus, Evie talked a lot about all the stigma around mental health and all I could do was scream “HELL YES” while reading it.

This book is really important as it talks about very heavy subjects that should be discussed more in the YA literature. It was a very quick and funny read, despite it being serious. It really is a good way to talk about mental health to a younger audience.

What bugged me off

Now, as I said, this book wasn’t perfect. Before starting to point out what I noticed, I would like to say that a reader who’s mom suffers from epilepsy really disliked one of the comments made in this book about it. I can’t talk more about it as I know nothing on this subject, but I still think that it’s important to point it out.

This book is all about feminism and 16 years old cisgender girls realizing that the society isn’t that perfect for them. Most of the time, they were talking about really important subjects and were making some very good points. I already knew most of it but it’s still is necessary to discuss about it all in literature, especially in YA. However, they made some comments that made me cringe a lot. It is important to note that all the characters are white and straight. As they kept talking about feminism, it has been said a lot that only women had their periods and that it’s what makes them women. By saying that, it excludes transgender and non-binary people. Because yes, some men have their periods and they should be recognized as well. Plus, they often make each other feel bad for talking about men, as if dating one was against feminism. I really disliked that. I’m a feminist but I’m also a romantic and I love to talk about men. I would love to date one and if all I see suddenly is him, so be it. That doesn’t mean I don’t respect myself or women in general. It was really hard to agree to everything when they kept excluding people from their feminism.

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Am I Normal Yet? is a very good book and I loved it. I loved seeing myself represented and it will definitely help me when it comes to my anxiety and OCDs. However, I wish the feminism talked about in this book was intersectional and didn’t exclude anyone, nor made anyone feel bad for talking about men. Yes, women are more than just lovers, mothers or wives, but it doesn’t give anyone the right to shade someone else for liking another person or even dating. Judging is never the key, and your feminism should always include everyone in it.

Now, despite everything, I just can’t wait to pick up the sequel and I already know that I’ll binge read this series. Oops.

 Where to buy it

Love always,

Clara

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12 thoughts on “Review: Am I Normal Yet? by Holly Bourne”

  1. Lovely review, Clara! I’m so glad you overall enjoyed it and that you could relate to the main character as well. I’m sorry to hear about the issues you had, thank you so much for pointing them out, you’re so right that they shouldn’t have excluded people, that really is too bad :/
    I think I’m going to try to read this book at some point, it sounds like the kind of book I’d enjoy 😀

    Like

    1. Thank you so much, Marie! It always takes me so long to write a proper review 😅 so I’m really glad you loved it!
      The book is really good despite this view on feminism and I really hope you’ll love it as well! It’s still super cute and a very important read. 💛

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Ahhhh thank you so much for mentioning the way this book handles feminism! I’ve heard a lot of great things about this book (and the entire trilogy, of which I already read the third one because when I picked it up I didn’t know it was part of a series lol) but I’ve never heard of this.
    I’m glad that you felt represented though! 🙂 Great review! ❤

    Like

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