Book Review: The Art of Being Normal

Title: The Art of Being Normal

Author: Lisa Williamson

Publisher: David Fickling Books

Publishing date: 2015

Pages: 353

Price: £3.85

ISBN: 9781910200520


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 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…


So I read this in preparation for YALC and I am so glad I picked up this book! There’s so many more books within YA now dealing with a wide range of issues and this is the first one I’ve read that deals with transgender teens.

The blurb of this book really interested me. There’s always something about a cliffhanger in a blurb that makes me want to instantly pick up the book and read it.

I loved most of the characters in the book. Leo’s mom annoyed me a bit – I’m not sure if it was her character that annoyed me or how her character was written that annoyed me, there was just something about her. She was a very flat character, like (I don’t think) we ever learnt her name and that bothers me a bit. Obviously she wasn’t a huge part of the main narrative but at the same time, she was important to Leo’s back story.

The story as a whole was amazing – the topic was dealt with in a very positive way, it was obvious that a lot of research had gone into learning about transgender teens. What I loved was that Leo’s back story wasn’t obvious until it was told to the reader and that made the whole narrative a lot more interesting. Learning about both David and Leo was interesting, there wasn’t a part of the book that I felt bored with, it flowed smoothly and always kept me wanting to read more. It was easy to read too, no elongated chapters or difficult terms to deal with, instead it was written to be understood and to allow readers to learn more about transgender people.

Not only was this book enjoyable to read but also educational. I didn’t really know a lot about how people can feel like they’re trapped in the wrong body or how people transition so this was so much more than just a book for me.

If you enjoyed ‘All the Bright Places’ and ‘Me and Earl and the Dying Girl’ then I think you’ll really love this one!

My rating: 4.4/5

Let me know what you think of The Art of Being Normal in the comments!


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