Published by HarperTeen
Published on February 25th 2014
Genres: Abuse, Contemporary, Family, Friendship, Realistic FIction, Romance, Young Adult
An edgy, realistic, and utterly captivating novel from an exciting new voice in teen fiction.
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.
Faking Normal is one of those books that stays with you. It’s about a girl who was violated, raped. I have read a lot of books that tackled the subject of abuse – Hopeless, From Ashes, Ruining Me, Fear of Falling (and more) – and these books always leave me with a hollow feeling in my heart. To be clear, I have never experienced any kind of abuse, and I’m grateful everyday that I grew up in a loving environment, where I have parents who nurtured us into functioning individuals in the society.
This story is of Alexi Littrell, a girl who chose to keep her abuse a secret. It was a secret that has started to eat her up inside. She chose to keep this inside of her because, from what I could take from the book, she was afraid. Afraid not only for herself, but of the consequences that her rapist will face. She didn’t want to be that girl. With that in mind, she continued to live her life as normal as she could, but when she shuts her bedroom door, she couldn’t hide any longer.
By reading her story, I began to imagine how unfathomable it must be to be in her situation. To stay quiet, even if you’re screaming inside. She resulted to doing self-harm just to stay sane when thinking about how her life has changed in one summer day. It has grown to be too much to bear.
One day, she forms an unlikely friendship with the son of her mom’s friend, Bodee Lennox. He just had tragedy of his own, and Alexi’s mom offered their bonus room to Bodee. He was the Kool-Aid Kid. Being friends with him is somewhat a social suicide. But being that he had his own secrets, and he could see past Alexi’s defenses, he was able to inch his way through her life and they became close friends. Someone she could really be normal with. A person whom she doesn’t have to lie to.
Bodee played a huge role in Alexi’s life. He helped her get through the hardest days. They both helped each other in ways that only they could understand. They needed each other. And I thank the world for having real-life Bodees out there. I know he exists with someone else’s name, helping another Alexi. The emotional turmoil that they both underwent were raw, and real, and it hurt.
While I applaud that fact, I really wished that Alexi’s strength to face her fears wasn’t because Bodee fixed her. I do believe in the power of friendship and a strong support system, but clearly, both of them needed professional help because of the issues that they went through individually.
And take note : You do not need a man/woman to save you from your pain or misery, it takes courage from within to speak up and defeat your demons. If not for your own strength, no amount of Bodees could lift you up from the hole you dug yourself into.
If this happened to you, find someone whom you trust : a parent, a teacher, an adult that is close to you – to help you. Do not be afraid. Be strong and stay strong. Rape is never your fault. Never. Your. Fault.