Saturday, May 2, 2015

Get Rec'd: Faking Normal

I created this feature back in March, and I'm so excited to be continuing it! So if you missed that first post, I'll sum it up for you: Get Rec'd is basically where YOU MAKE me read a book, but you'll never know when it happens or if I'll ever post about it. It's all so very mysterious. ;)

And this new Get Rec'd is thanks to Kaitlin (Reading is My Treasure). She wanted me to read Faking Normal, and so I did. :D



*I don't really know if a disclaimer is needed, because what happened to the MC over the summer is unveiled in the first few chapters (and not really hard to figure out). But if you want to go in completely blind, skip the An Important Message paragraph.

This book is important. It is needed. And let me tell you why.

A GIRL WHO JUST WANTS TO FEEL NORMAL

Lexi is hurting, but no one sees. She doesn't let anyone see it. She keeps herself closed off, hiding in closets and counting vents and escaping into the woods. She's gotten so good at faking normal that no one can tell that anything is wrong. No one sees her smile and realizes it's unfeeling, or at least they don't ask. No one believes that she is anything but a girl who just doesn't want to date guys. Lexi's POV is sort of tough to read sometimes, especially given how much she kept closing everyone off. But I totally understood why she retreated, why she chose a closet over her parents, why she chose to shut off her heart. I loved her voice, and I am so happy that she found it. That she spoke up. Because until then, she wouldn't have been able to start healing. It made her journey all the more beautiful. I cheered for her. I cried for her. And I just wanted her to find peace she so desperately needed and deserved.

A LONELY BOY WHO ASKS

Why aren't there more Bodees in the world? Seriously. We need them! I loved this boy so much. <3 He is sweet and kind and lonely and good and wonderful. He's grieving, after his life fell completely apart. So he and Lexi have an understanding, a bond that starts off as friendship but becomes so much more. Bodee gave her space, stayed by her side, didn't push her to tell him the truth. He just quietly supported her, giving her strength and lending an ear to listen. Listen to what no one else figured out. That Lexi was quietly screaming inside and letting herself be destroyed by a secret he's not even sure he wants to know. Because it could change everything. But he is so good. He listened. He asked. He was just there for Lexi, in the only way he knew how to be. And in the way she didn't know she needed. He helped her find the courage to let her secret out, and she chased away his loneliness. And just stayed by his side when everyone else left it. When no one cared enough to see if he was okay after what he went through. They made each other better, and stronger.

A SECRET THAT COULD TEAR EVERYTHING APART

This secret is tearing Alexi up inside, drowning her, taunting her. It's a constant nightmare, one that keeps her awake at night, one that leads her to dangerous activities. One that she won't let anyone know, so she fakes it. Fakes normal. She hides behind half-smiles and pretty words. She's gotten good at lying, at telling everyone she's fine. She's gotten good at making excuses for what happened. But this secret is destroying her, little by little. And it could tear her whole life apart, which scares and intimidates her. Understandably so, but it was only serving to hurt Lexi even more. She needed to tell her secret; she just didn't know if that was the right choice for a long time.

AN IMPORTANT MESSAGE

Rape is a taboo subject in our world. We ignore it, we like to think it doesn't happen. That it couldn't ever happen. And too many times, voices don't speak up. Voices stay quiet. Voices say, "I deserved it," "I let it happen," I didn't say no," "No one will believe me." We have created this world in which a woman would rather let it quietly break her inside than nail the bastard who did it to her. Than embarrass family and friends. Than say it wasn't okay and that it shouldn't be ignored. Victims of rape often take the blame, especially the women. Because of our society and how we've normalized these incredibly harmful attitudes toward females and their sexuality. "She asked for it." We tell girls not to provoke boys by what they wear, we teach them to be soft-spoken and nice. We make excuses for males and their behavior. We have created an unsafe environment in which a fifteen year old convinces herself that it was okay that it happened because she didn't say no, didn't speak up, didn't try to stop him. This book made me ragey, but in the best way possible. This book is important; this message is important. What happened to Lexi is important, and I loved how the rape and the aftereffects were portrayed. Books are gateways to exploring society and life and humanity. And if we keep teaching silence, then we're not only doing a disservice to ourselves but to the victims. They deserve so much more than that. Alexi deserved so much more than this.

A JOURNEY OF HEALING

Alexi deserved to heal, to find peace. The secrets and lies and saving face were tearing her up inside. But she kept telling herself that she couldn't speak up, that it would ruin everything, that the guy didn't deserve that. It takes her a long time, and with the help of Bodee, to come to terms with what happened. To say it out loud. There was a scene in the book, a really poignant one that made me bawl my eyes out. It was heartbreaking and sad and beautiful and amazing. It was one girl using her voice and finally telling the truth. It was a girl screaming it aloud to a guy who gave her the courage to do it. Bodee couldn't tell her what to do though, just show his support and love. Lexi had to come to these realizations on her own: that it wasn't her, that it was wrong, that the guy didn't deserve the silence. It wasn't about revenge or ruining his life; it was about healing. In order to move on, you first have to let go.

My only gripe was Bodee's character development. This was written in Lexi's POV, so I understand why it was more about her story, her journey. And I loved how, through Lexi's healing, Bodee finds the strength to do the same. But I still would have liked a *bit* more from him. Not exactly development, but just backstory. JUST ALWAYS MORE BODEE, OKAY. Oh, and I just remembered my other gripe: the "mystery" surrounding what had happened. I did not like how that was unraveled, because the author was taking it one way, and then BAM! you're wrong. That felt more like it had happened that way for shock value only. 

Faking Normal was so, so good! It had wonderful characters, a beautiful journey, and a strong message about speaking up and finding your voice.

*****

As you can see, Kaitlin picked a winner! And hey, wanna make me read a book? I have Goodreads shelves you can choose from (because I am on a book-buying ban right now so it'd have to be either something I own or one I can get from the library). But these may or may not have been updated recently...
Just leave me a comment with the name of it! BUT YOU WILL NEVER KNOW WHEN I'M READING IT! *cue evil laugh*

7 comments:

  1. This book sounds soo good! I really like the message of this book and the characters sound awesome too. I'll have to read it one of these days but like yours, my TBR is ENORMOUS, I'll never get around reading half of the books on it. You HAVE TO read Something Real by Heather Demetrios and Wait for You by J. Lynn. I couldn't choose just one to recommend. #sorrynotsorry

    ReplyDelete
  2. YAYAYAYAYA. I'm glad you really liked Faking Normal. I still need to read it soon. But that message though. I think I would get SOO PISSED OFF while reading this book, because of the topic of rape and victim blaming. I completely understand your feelings. MAN THIS BOOK STILL SOUNDS GOOD THOUGH. I will hold in my rage long enough to finish it.

    Also, just pretend this is not Val for a second, and a random blogger posting on your blog:

    THE BOOK THIEF THE BOOK THIEF GO GET IT/REQUEST IT FROM THE LIBRARY OMG WHY ARE YOU WAITING UNTIL THE LAST MINUTE YOU BIG POOP

    ReplyDelete
  3. I'm so incredibly glad that you loved this one!! And you're right. The message is SO important. That was one of my favorite parts of the book. Reading this post actually made me want to reread it and experience the story all over again.

    Now...what to rec.... YOU HAVEN'T READ A CORA CARMACK BOOK. WHAT. You need to read All Lined Up!! Her couples have fantastic chemistry.

    I have to add that I fully support Val's rec. The Book Thief is AMAZING. Please get to that one soon (whether it's for this feature or not).

    ReplyDelete
  4. I really enjoyed this one myself. It definitely packed a punch right in the feels!!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I absolutely adored this book. I remember reading it a year ago and feeling all the fuzzies in my veins and the tears my eyes shed for these two lonely people who found solace and friendship and security in each other. The self-healing aspect was really well done here, and mainly the reason why I gave it 5 stars or close to it anyway (I don't remember!). It really touched something in me :D

    Faye at The Social Potato

    ReplyDelete
  6. Damn you and Kaitlin, now I have ANOTHER book to read. And since your recommendations have been solid.... I guess I have to trust you on this!

    Shannon @ It Starts At Midnight

    ReplyDelete
  7. I'm happy you were pushed to read this book! It's such a powerful story, and like you said, has an awesome message that deserves to be heard. I freaking *love* Bodee - such a unique love interest, IMO.
    Great thoughts! <3

    ReplyDelete

Comments always make me smile. :) Seriously. Even if you comment on the post weeks or months later, it makes my day! So don't hesitate to leave your thoughts even if it's been a long time since the post was published. I'll try to reply to you, especially if you ask a question, but sometimes life happens. But I do read and appreciate every single one of them because I know how hard it can be to find the time or energy to comment. So a heartfelt THANK YOU for brightening my day when you do. <3