Title: The Art of Being Normal
Author: Lisa Williamson
Genre & Age Group: Contemporary, romance, LGBTQ+, young adult
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 his class 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…
Source: Public library
How I Found Out About It: Netgalley
A while ago, I found The Art of Being Normal for the first time on Netgalley. It had such an interesting concept and I hadn’t yet read too much about LGBTQ+ themes, so I requested it, but being the tiny blogger I was back then, I was denied. In spite of the denial, though, I added the book to my TBR, crossed my fingers, and hoped to find it elsewhere.
Luckily, I was able to get my hands on it at the library, and I am so thankful to have been able to. Just as I’d expected, this was such a great book with diverse themes and I think way more people should be hyped up about it.
Basically, this story follows the dual-POVs of teens David and Leo. David has a desire to be a girl, but he has kept it a secret from most people for his entire life. Leo, on the other hand, is new to his school, and when he stands up for David when he gets bullied, the two bond very quickly over their troubles. But Leo has a secret- one that could destroy his whole reputation.
David was an honest, sweet guy, and I felt as if I was able to relate to him very well, even though we haven’t experienced the same things. Though I liked David, I have much more to say about Leo’s character, whom I enjoyed reading about as well. He was so strong and fierce; never feeling afraid to say what was on his mind and stand up for his beliefs, which was evident throughout the entire story. He did sometimes feel the need to go and hide because of his feelings, but I saw lots of growth in him by the end of the book, as well as in David. Woo-hoo for character development!🎉
Many books of this type have little to no plot, but boy, was this one riveting! I found it so hard to put down- once I opened the book, I could barely close it as there were twists and turns in every corner. I also have to say that this book’s storyline ran rather fast for a contemporary, as well.
At first, I found myself not really feeling the chopped up, somewhat young-sounding writing style, but then again, David is fifteen, whereas most YA protagonists are in their late teens. Despite the fact that I wasn’t in love with the writing at the start of the book, as I got to know the characters and the plot, the writing improved with them.👌
All in all, The Art of Being Normal was a fascinating, important book that I believe many people will benefit from reading. It was a very uplifting, diverse story about self-pride and being able to freely express who you are. Honestly, I think that everyone deserves a shot at reading this fantastic novel- there needs to be many more stories like this in YA.