All Evie wants is to be normal. And now that she’s almost off her meds and at a new college where no one knows her as ‘the girl who went nuts’, there’s only one thing left to tick off her list…a boyfriend. But relationships can mess with anyone’s head – something Evie’s new friends, Amber and Lottie, know only too well. The trouble is, if Evie won’t tell them her secrets, how can they stop her making a huge mistake?
In anticipation of Holly Bourne’s new book ‘What’s a Girl Gotta Do?’ I thought that today I would talk about my favourite piece of teen fiction, ‘Am I Normal Yet?’ I have a huge amount of passion for teen fiction and love that in recent years they’ve started tackling the grittier topics. This book focuses on the character Evie, a sixteen year old girl beginning her first year at sixth form college whilst struggling through everything life as a teenager throws at you, as well as trying to deal with her OCD. Let me clarify, when I say OCD I don’t mean “oh I can’t stand my pens not being in a straight line, I’m so OCD” she had been hospitalised, medicated and through countless therapy sessions. What I love about Bourne’s writing is she doesn’t brush over this, as a reader you are pulled right into Evie’s mind, witnessing the way her anxieties seep into her everyday life. In spite of this she isn’t just the character with mental health issues, she’s a real teenage girl. She wants all the same things other girls do, friends, to pass her course and obviously, a boyfriend.
We watch as her anxieties twist themselves around her everyday desires and it’s evident that Holly Bourne did serious amounts of research when writing this character. As we follow Evie through her relapse, watching boys mess with her head and her friends Lottie and Amber support her through it we’re given an insight into the struggles of mental health. How it isn’t everything a person is, but it finds a way to perpetrate every thought with it’s anxieties and negative effects.
This book tackles relationships with a refreshing honesty, especially in comparison to a lot of other young adult books. Relationships, romantic or platonic, are hard. This book doesn’t hide from that. One of my favourite moments in this book is when Evie nervously removes her top and the boy she is with says “you’re tits are great.” It was the complete opposite of romantic but lets be honest, it’s relatable.
‘Am I Normal Yet?’ addresses so many important topics, mental health, friendship, romance and even feminism. Whenever someone has asked me to recommend a teen book I have basically thrown this at them (not literally of course, that would be rude.)
If you’ve read and enjoyed this book make sure to check out the next in the series ‘How Hard Can Love Be?’ which focuses on Evie’s friend Amber and join me in the anticipation for the third, ‘What’s a Girl Gotta Do?’ focusing on Lottie. Seriously guys, I’m so excited for this!