The Art of Being Normal is about a fourteen year old boy David who has wanted to be a girl ever since young. He gets called ‘freak’ at his school, Eden Park, and Harry, the bully, will do anything to get at him. Then a mysterious new boy, Leo, comes to Eden Park, and David finds himself drawn to him.
Goodreads synopsis: 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…
To be honest with you, I didn’t really think I would like The Art of Being Normal. But the simple cover appealed to me so I picked it up a few days ago at the local library, and to my surprise, I flew through it. I finished the book in two sittings (interrupted by a meal so technically one), which wasn’t what I was expecting from it.
The Art of Being Normal is by Lisa Williamson who worked for two years in the Gender Identity Development Service and was inspired to write this book. I’m giving this book a high recommendation for every YA reader, a must read, and 4 out of 5 stars.
I think The Art of Being Normal portrayed the difficulties of living life as ‘different’, especially when you’re still emotionally vulnerable and inexperienced, really well.
This book had one particular twist that literally shocked my socks, and I just sat there thinking everything over. Around halfway through, I think, I discovered that Leo was transgender too, and it was a complete and utter surprise to me. I don’t know if I was being particularly naive, but I wasn’t expecting it at all. Maybe the hints were there all along?
If there is one thing that I didn’t like about this book is that I didn’t really think Harry was that developed as a character. He was really childish and except when he bullies David, we don’t see much of him, but I thought he was quite important in the book. Also, Leo’s past wasn’t quite an explanation… Is that just me?
Anyway, I would recommend The Art of Being Normal to everyone who reads any kind of YA, because it was really eye-opening for me.