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…
So goes the blurb for this fantastic book, set in contemporary England. Holly Bourne has gone from strength to strength with her last few books, but has topped herself here with this, the first in a series. And just as well, because the main characters in Am I Normal Yet? are among the most compelling that you could read in contemporary YA. We see the world that Evie inhabits through her own eyes, and written almost like a diary, along with personal goals and goals set by her therapist.
Evie is determined to keep her OCD secret from her new friends, Lottie and Amber, and instead enjoy being just another ‘normal’ teenager, when in fact she discovers that all around her, everyone has their own issues. Evie makes all the silly mistakes associated with being a teenager, but through the three main characters, Holly Bourne lifts the story with some of the more intriguing personalities I’ve read recently.
Her friends turn out to be brilliant feminists, trying to change perceptions left, right and centre and unapologetically so, and that is where this book excels, making it essential reading for teens, male and female. Evie learns about suffragettes and gender equality through her friends and through her own research and Bourne makes it interesting for the reader, as the girls discover their own strengths and possibilities.
By the time the tension mounts in Evie’s life over love and a quest to be ‘normal,’ Bourne has totally hooked you in and wanting to read more about these incredible characters. Holly Bourne is breaking down barriers in mental health awareness and patriarchy. No mean feat. Next book due out in spring 2016.