Two boys. Two secrets.

David Piper has always been an outsider. His parents think he’s gay. The school bully thinks he’s a freak. Only his two best friends know the real truth – David wants to be a girl.

On the first day at his new school Leo Denton has one goal – to be invisible. Attracting the attention of the most beautiful girl in year eleven is definitely not part of that plan.

When Leo stands up for David in a fight, an unlikely friendship forms. But things are about to get messy. Because at Eden Park School secrets have a funny habit of not staying secret for long…

This is the blurb for this book; I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking ‘that’s lazy. Normally she writes it all out but this time she’s just cut and pasted’ well, you’re right, I have. But that’s because I suspect that most of you have read this book already so there’s really no point in me going over the story line again!

Needless to say, this won the Hounslow Teen Read Award 2016 and probably will win lots of other awards as well. That’s because it’s fab. I know that there is a wealth of books about LGBT out there at the moment and this one stands out as one of the best. David is a really likable boy who is just trying to get through life and Leo is the same. But both of them have secrets that they want to keep hidden. In the case of Leo I was genuinely surprised by his secret though, the writer writes so well from a boys point of view. I suspect that there are loads of other teenagers out there struggling with exactly the same thing; maybe not as conclusively as Leo and David but varying degrees. Leo’s relationship with Alicia was really well done as well. I think that the Alicia’s reaction to what happened was probably standard but it also challenges what other teenagers would do in these circumstances.

Mainstream YA books that tackle this extremely emotional and difficult subject are to be applauded and there should be more like them so that young people can feel more comfortable about making these kinds of choices. In an age where it is more acceptable then ever to be whatever you want, and at a time in your life when you are already struggling with growing up and all the feelings associated with it, more should be done to explain and assimilate.

What I get from this book is that everyone is trying to get on and doesn’t need any hassle from anyone just because they may not fit in to your perception of normal. It also reminded me that school is a pretty hellish place and that if we aren’t kind to each other then what the heck are we all doing?

It’s a great book that will get you really thinking about how other people feel and what they are going through. The author writes really well on the subject and I can’t wait for her next book. I was also interested to find from my fellow librarians that this was a popular book with boys as well.

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2 thoughts on “The Art of Being Normal – Lisa Williamson

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