Book Review: Am I Normal Yet? (Holly Bourne)

Publisher: Usborne

Pages: 434

Release Date: August 1st 2015

Summary (from Goodreads):

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?

Review:

This has sat on my shelf for a little while now and after a quick poll on Twitter the people spoke and decided this was what I needed to read yet.

My first thought on finishing was OMG why haven’t I read this sooner?!

There were so many times in this book when Evie said the exact thing I’ve thought before. Like the stupid blue gel on the tampon adverts or the special period Nurofen which is just the normal one in a pink packet and twice as expensive. Feminism is a hot topic at the moment and a book like this is a must read for any teen wanting to know more about the subject. While some bits were familiar to me there was a lot that it taught me too. I love the Spinster Club and can’t wait to see how it develops over the next books (I’ve already started reading the sequel!) The book didn’t read too preachy either, showing how feminism related to different situations the girls got into rather than just telling the reader about it.

Another major topic of this book is mental health issues and how Evie deals with her OCD and Generalised Anxiety Disorder. Although I feel mental health issues are more talked about now than they were when I was a teen, there’s still a long way to go. This book is a great addition to the conversation though as it bluntly debunks some myths about OCD and addresses the way we talk about mental health. I hate hearing someone say they’re ‘so OCD’ when they like cleaning or something equally trivial. Because that’s not what OCD is about. While I’ve known this, I didn’t really know much about the disorder and I feel Evie’s story is really enlightening. It doesn’t glamourise mental health issues and shows the real ugly side of the condition.

The boy issues in the book felt familiar from my dating days and while it was easier to pick out the jerks from this side of the page, I’ve been in Evie’s position before and it’s so easy to get suckered in by a pair of pretty eyes. I’m glad that Evie didn’t find herself a boyfriend and suddenly her illness was cured: I’ve read books like that before and it’s not only unrealistic but dangerous to teach teens that a relationship fixes all.

The book was really easy to read and got me out of the horrid reading slump I’ve had lately. My dad even got reading it when he visited and said he was engrossed by the first few pages. Bourne has a real talent for writing and I just want to devour all her books now.

 Copy of an art exhibit