Am I Normal Yet? is a YA Contemporary novel about Evie, a sixteen year old girl suffering with OCD, trying to get through her first year at college, get off her medication, and lead a “normal” life. Already sounds like a great book tackling serious topics, right? Well add to that the incredible themes of feminism and friendship and you get one unbelievable story: that’s Am I Normal Yet? in a nutshell.
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With three main characters – Evie, Amber and Lottie – each having very unique and relatable traits it’s extremely difficult to NOT love them all. Despite this book being the first in a trilogy with each book focusing on each of these three fabulous individuals, this book manages to delve into enough depth so that it doesn’t feel that way at all. You really care for them! The girls are such good friends, they are so close and supportive of each other whilst retaining the right amount of secrets and small arguments to emulate a real friendship. Their mutual belief and love for feminism is so wonderful. Am I Normal Yet? acts as both a ‘Welcome Brochure’ and ‘Guide Book’ to feminism; this is probably the main reason everybody should read this fantastic book. The characters explore everything to do with feminism from sexism in the english language to the Bechdel Test! Why would you not want to read about that?!
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Holly Bourne uses structure in such a distinctive way which works brilliantly well regarding the subject of OCD. Often people are unaware of the ‘compulsions’ and so by interrupting the flow of narrative it really feels like you’re in the head of Evie, which is really powerful! Also the way the storyline breaks up every now and then in order for the reader to follow Evie’s trail of thought a bit better is effective as well as amusing – although admittedly it isn’t to everybody’s taste.
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This book encompasses so much; friendship, mental health, feminism, humour, and emotion. A whole lot of emotion! Evie’s voice is so easy to relate to and the descriptions are amazing. This book has so much to say and it says it all so well; it never feels like you’re being force-fed all of these truths. Of course it isn’t perfect, because nothing is, but this certainly comes quite close in my opinion.
“Everyone’s on the cliff edge of normal. Everyone finds life an utter nightmare sometimes, and there’s no ‘normal’ way of dealing with it… There is no normal.”
This book was the first read for my online book club UKYA in the Rain. You can watch our discussion for it here!