Book Review: The Art of Being Normal (YA)

The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson

Goodreads Summary:
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 , and soon everyone knows that Leo used to be a girl.

As David prepares to come out to his family and transition into life as a girl and Leo wrestles with figuring out how to deal with people who try to define him through his history, they find in each other the friendship and support they need to navigate life as transgender teens as well as the courage to decide for themselves what normal really means.

My Review:
If you’re looking for a great contemporary YA book about friendship, look no further. The Art of Being Normal is the story of two high school students, their struggles with identity, and the friendship that helps them through a very rough time. David has known for a long time that he is really a girl, but he is afraid to tell his parents. His two best friends know, and many of the other students at school tease him for something he said when  they were in 3rd grade. Leo is the new kid, a seemingly popular/attractive guy, who comes to David’s aid despite his best attempts to blend into the crowd. The two develop an unlikely friendship, or so it seems at first.

This book is written in alternating chapters from David’s and Leo’s points of view. I developed an attachment to both characters right away. Their challenges were real, and I was routing for them right away. This is a really fun read. It’s a little more complex than your typical coming of age story, which made it all the more interesting. I highly recommend it.

My Rating: 4 Stars

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