Normalish is a story about a young girl, Stacy, starting her freshman year of high school. Friendships fall apart, and then get rebuilt, just to fall apart and get rebuilt all over again. The same is true with Stacy’s love life, even if she sometimes thinks she doesn’t have one. She loves and loses, just to love and lose all over again. But in the middle of all the love and loss is something that, even as a guy, we can all relate to. Life is weird. Life is hard. Normalish doesn’t have an original premise, but it does have an original voice. It captures teenage lingo, angst and awkwardness so precisely that it’s almost as if you’re reading someone’s journal. Some parts actually made me laugh out loud. Which is rare for me, unless your Douglas Adams or A. Lee Martinez. But there were moments where accuracy, brevity, and truthfulness combined to create little moments of hilarity. Those moments of levity only served to make the sad times more sobering than if it was just a series of sad events. This reflects real life I think; happy, sad, happy, sad, over and over ad nauseam. I’d recently read ‘The Fault in Our Stars’, it would be easy to compare this book to that, although ‘The Fault in Our Stars’ was way more depressing and not nearly as funny. Normalish doesn’t have a story arc, which is not to say it doesn’t have a point. The point is Stacy, and life, and how being happy then sad then happy = life. The book ends with Stacy gaining more life experience, making her a little more mature and a little wiser. The same is true of her friends and her family, although they’ve all taken different paths, they’ve all grown together. Stacy is not fighting zombies, or saving the world, or struggling against some incurable disease. She’s just trying to get through her freshman year. Spoiler alert; she does.
Pages: 175 pages