Monday, 15 June 2015

The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson

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…

I have heard such amazing things about this book and let me tell you: they are all true! Told with dual perspective between the two boys, we here the stories of David and Leo. Ever since he was 6 years old, David has wanted to be a girl. It's a closely guarded secret that only his two best friends know, because he has no idea how to tell his parents. Leo is the new boy at school, determined to keep his head down and get through his last year. The two boys collide when Leo punches the school bully in the face for David. 

But this is school and nothing stays secret for long, as we discover Leo's secret and David starts to make the transition. Things are pretty brutal for a while, for both of them, as kids can be mean and take some time to get used to change. But I was incredibly proud of both of them, it can be confusing enough as a teenager, being born in the wrong body I can't even imagine!

I loved the progression of their relationship, slowly becoming more confident with each other and sharing things. They were both really sweet and had some major changes to deal with but did amazingly well with them. With alternating chapters, we saw inside both of their heads, saw the struggle but also saw the great interactions between them. And an incredibly character development, with both Leo and David becoming comfortable in their bodies and their friends and family being supportive. A beyond-great story about a very important issue. 

Published 1st January 2015 by David Fickling Books.

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