This book has been on my radar for ages. Everyone seems to love it. It has a crazy high rating on goodreads (4.36!) and I follow Holly Bourne on Twitter and I’ve met her at events a couple of times and she is so lovely. I couldn’t wait to read her book. I had heard it was amazing and a great book about mental heath and feminism and relationships.
I guess you can tell by now that I didn’t love this book nearly as much as I thought I would.
Am I Normal Yet? by Holly Bourne follows Eve, a 16 year old who has OCD but she’s getting off her meds, she’s starting college (last two years of high school for you American folks out there ;)) where no one will know her as the “crazy girl” and she’s going to parties and dates and making new friends. All she wants is to be “normal” and it looks like she’s basically there.
Throughout the book we see her dealing with all this, sometimes not so well and stuff happens and she’s falling in love for the wrong boy and all that good stuff. I actually enjoyed how this book dealt with life and with mental health. Eve’s voice did feel a bit too young at times, like she was a 13 year old trying to act like a 16 to impress her friends, but at some level that’s what was happening because she had missed so many of her teenage years already.
What really bothered me about this book though, was the feminism. I was hoping to love it. It was part of the reason why I was dying to read this. I am not exaggerating when I say I was a quarter into this book when feminism was mentioned for the first time! I read this on Kindle, but this is a big book. It’s 434 pages long. That’s over 100 pages of no mention of feminism when these characters were supposed to be feminists? What? Am I the only one who has a problem with this.
Eve and her two new friends decide to start this club to talk about feminism and they have weekly meetings and everything. But that’s pretty much the only time feminism is involved in the story. They don’t incorporate it into their lives. In fact, one of these friends who seems to think she’s better at being a feminist than the other two, spends most of her time being annoyed that her friends want to date boys and that they want to talk about boys. THERE’S NOTHING WRONG TO TALK ABOUT THE PERSON YOU FANCY WITH YOUR BEST FRIENDS! It’s part of life. You’re happy and you want to share with your best friends. You’re upset and you need your best friends. It’s fine. Jeez. She wants to not talk about boys but surely complaining so much about talking about boys is not that productive either?
Also, when they are talking about feminism it’s mostly one of them just going on rants for what I imagine would be at least a page (about two pages on the kindle) and the other two just saying “Yes! Go you!”. It honestly felt like reading a textbook on facts I already knew.
Had this book been just about OCD and mental illness I would have given a super high rating, Holly did that extremely well. Unfortunately, the feminism felt forced and out of place.
This book is part of a companion series I believe and the second book follows a different character – one of Eve’s best friends. I might continue on and see how that one feels as I read an excerpt of it a while back and thought it was super funny.
My rating – 6/10