Thursday, June 11, 2015

BOOK REVIEW + GIVEAWAY: The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson

This is a book review for The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson.

Two boys. Two secrets. 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 eleven 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.

Why, oh why, is this book not getting more love?? This book was AMAZING. The subject of transgendered people is such a tough one and I think this author handled it so well. The book goes back and forth between David and Leo's POV. David is struggling so hard with his feelings that he was born in the wrong body. It's so incredibly heartbreaking. Even though his parents have made it clear they would accept his sexuality if he were gay, he is still terrified of telling his parents the truth. He even has a letter written to his parents explaining his feelings, but keeps losing his nerve about giving it to them. He records his height, foot size and other changes associated with puberty in a notebook. Each time he grows or notices body hair, he hates his body even more. One day, David's notebook is found by a school bully and Leo stands up for him. This is the beginning of a wonderful friendship. 

There are times when a multiple person POV does not work because all the characters sound the same. That is not the case here. Each boy has his own unique voice. David is longing to fit in and be himself, while Leo is so distrusting of everyone. Leo has secrets of his own and eventually the two confide in each other. I don't want to give away any spoilers as to what Leo's secret was, but it definitely made for an interesting twist that I did not see it coming. This book is not just about transgendered people. It's also about bullying and what it means to be "normal" and it's about family and class and so many other things. This is such an important book to read. The character development in the book was so great. The only negative I noticed was that David's POV got lost in the shuffle a bit when Leo's secret was revealed. The author could have done a better job with letting David's story progress at the same pace as Leo's. Other than that, this was a great book. 

And now for the giveaway!! One lucky reader will receive a hardcover copy of The Art of Being Normal. The giveaway will run until 12:00am (Eastern time) on June 16. This giveaway is an international one so all entries are welcome. I will announce the winner on Wednesday, June 17. Good luck! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

28 comments :

  1. I haven't seen this one around but it sounds awesome. I haven't ready any books with the topic of transgender characters but this also seems like much more. Will definitely check this out - Great review!

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    1. Thanks Grace! Good luck with the giveaway!

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  2. This sounds terrific! Absolutely must read it... and enter the giveaway!

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    1. Yes, you really must! Good luck. :)

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    1. It really is. Good luck with the giveaway!

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  4. Wonderful review, and until now I had never heard of this one Cynthia. Thanks for putting it on my radar.

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    1. No problem Kimba! Good luck with the giveaway!

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  5. I do want to read this so much! The subject matter is the main pull, but I also heard wonderful things about the writing, which you just confirmed :) Yay! Excited :)

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    1. Good luck with the giveaway Ramona! It is such an awesome book. :)

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  6. The premise to this sounds really interesting!

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    1. It really is! Good luck with the giveaway!

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  7. I enjoyed your review. I might not have given this book a second glance. Now I'm curious:)

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    1. Thanks Laura. Good luck on the giveaway!

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  8. This one sounds like such an important book, with the transgender personalities that sound so realistic you know? Love the sound of it! Thanks for the giveaway.

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    1. Thanks Jeann! Good luck on the giveaway!

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  9. AWK. I want. I haven't ever read a book on transgenders before and I this sounds epically written. *nods* Plus love that minimalism cover.

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    1. Yes Cait, this was my first ever book written on transponders as well! It was so great.

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  10. Wow, this sounds really powerful. I agree with you, why isn't it getting more attention!? It sounds rather heart wrenching too, I cannot even imagine what he must go through. (I know he is fictional, but still!) Thanks so much for the giveaway, I am really curious about this one now!

    Shannon @ It Starts At Midnight

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    1. Thanks Shannon! It was so hard to read about what he was going through. I know he is a fictional character, but I can imagine real transgendered people going through the same things.

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  11. Ooh this one sounds amazing! Me wants it!! I think this is a very powerful book and I haven't read a book about transgender before - very curious.

    Nice review, Cynthia <33

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    1. Thanks Melanie! This was my first book about a transgender character as well. Good luck on the giveaway!

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  12. OMG I can’t wait to read this one–it sounds so good! Thanks for the great giveaway :D

    Rabiah (name on Rafflecopter)

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  13. I'm trying to complete a challenge this year which involves reading more diverse books! This one is at the top of my TBR!

    Carolina M on rafflecopter

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    1. Oh yes, this would be perfect! Good luck on the giveaway!

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  14. It looks like a really interesting read!

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    1. It really is Ann. Good luck on the giveaway!

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