Author: Holly Bourne
Genre: YA Contemporary
Release Date: August 1st, 2015
Spoilers: Some very very tiny spoilers about the side characters, but nothing that will spoil the book.
Rating: (5.0 / 5)
My dear friend Lynn has been telling me FOREVER to start reading the books of Holly Bourne. In the beginning of 2019 I did (I read It Only Happens at the Movies – realizing now I’ve never reviewed it), but never continued reading any of her books as I am very stubborn and distracted easily. But behold, I have just read another Holly Bourne book and LOVED IT!
“All Evie wants is to be normal. She’s almost off her meds and at a new college where no one knows her as the girl-who-went-crazy. She’s even going to parties and making friends. There’s only one thing left to tick off her list…
But relationships are messy – especially relationships with teenage guys. They can make any girl feel like they’re going mad. And if Evie can’t even tell her new friends Amber and Lottie the truth about herself, how will she cope when she falls in love?” [Goodreads]
Let me start by saying I loved this book and I was really sad it was over after 434 pages. It’s written very easily, very light hearted, even though the book discusses some very dark subjects. I think the fact that Holly wrote about these subjects in this way, it has been such a joy to read about it.
Mental health is a big issue in our world and I think Holly Bourne portrayed this particular issue, OCD, very well. She described it realistically, raw but also with humor, which made the main character so believable. Holly focussed on the aspect of recovery and relapse, which is a hard road to travel. I’ve been there, and I think Holly described very well how scary it is to get off your meds having to get your ‘brains and thoughts together’ all by yourself. Evie experiences this and finds it hard to admit to herself that she’s relapsing – admitting this IS the hardest thing in the world. Evie wants to be better without her meds so bad, she doesn’t seek help when she’s actually getting worse by the day.
Besides Evie, the other characters are portrayed very good as well. Even though they are side characters, you get the feeling that there’s more to them then just the story Evie is telling you. And that’s true, since both of the side characters Lottie and Amber have their own book (How Hard Can Love Be and What’s a Girl Gotta Do). They also were onto something with they’re feminism club, so I think we’re gonna get more of that in the other two books.
I was kinda surprised by the ending – I wanted to know more about Oli and what happened to him. It seems like he was going through something very dark as well, but Holly left it in the middle what it was. I only wished we could get to know more about him as a character. But maybe that’s also the strength to the story. Evie was struggling so hard herself, that she didn’t have eye for the struggles her friends and even her sister were going through, which is very realistic.
In short, Am I Normal Yet is a raw and realistic story about mental health, recovery and relapse, told from the perspective of a stubborn 16 y/o. The narrative is very humanistic and light hearted, which made this book such a joy to read. I am very touched by this story and I think Holly Bourne did a great job portraying such a hard subject.