This review is spoiler free.
“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, Evelyn.”
Series: The Spinster Club
Published: 2015, by Usborne Publishing.
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary. Feminism, Health, Fiction, Romance
Contains: Strong Language, Sexual Content, Sexual Assault, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Blood/Gore, Self-Harm, OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), Psychiatric Hospitals
‘Am I Normal Yet?’ follows Evie, who just wants 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 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?
This book has been on my To Be Read list for many years now, it being the first Holly Bourne book I’ve ever been introduced to. Admittedly, I wasn’t as prepared for the mental health scenes that would emerge as I thought I was, but needless to say, I enjoyed my first Holly Bourne experience.
Evie is an incredibly relatable protagonist in my eyes, being a character who represents one of my health conditions. She’s a very strong, determined character, and I deeply admired that about her. She knows that she wants to be normal, whatever that version of normal is in her head, and she’s determined to get there, regardless of the costs of her mental health. For that reason, she’s become one of my favourite characters who represents mental health as a whole.
Amber is another interesting character, who’s being punished by those her age for her height and lack of romantic experience. She doesn’t let it faze her often, fighting back and remaining true to herself.
Lottie is also a lot like Amber in many ways, she struggles when it comes to relationships, but she gets back up and tries to move on regardless of the hands she’s been dealt. The Spinster Club are iconic teenage representation; teenage years are messy, and it’s wonderful to read that being represented so well.
Bourne’s writing style is simplistic, but addictive, causing me to not want to put this book down and progressing through it quite quickly. Bourne’s characters are well-rounded, relatable and diverse, who pull you through the story from beginning to end. There’s a clear plotline with this book, which usually tends to fly past me when it comes to contemporary fiction, but this one drew me in from the start.
Overall, I loved this book, it being a well-written contemporary that managed to inspire, entertain, and warm me. I can’t wait to read more of Holly Bourne’s work in the future.