Thursday, 10 September 2015

Am I Normal Yet? by Holly Bourne

Synopsis (From Goodreads

Pages: 434
Publisher: Usbourne
Released: 1st of August 2015

All Evie wants is to be normal. She’s almost off her meds and at a new college where no one knows her as the girl-who-went-crazy. She’s even going to parties and making friends. There’s only one thing left to tick off her list…

But relationships are messy – especially relationships with teenage guys. They can make any girl feel like they’re going mad. And if Evie can’t even tell her new friends Amber and Lottie the truth about herself, how will she cope when she falls in love?

What I Have to Say 

The representation in this book was phenomenal. The accuracy of the descriptions of OCD were, in my experience at least, bang on. The way that Holly Bourne portrayed the choppy, frantic way that people with anxiety tend to think was very impressive. And even with all that going on, she has managed to keep the voice of the character there underneath it all. 

The only negative thing I found in this book was when Evie made the point that people with mental illness don't tell people they have mental illness. While being quite clearly the characters opinion not the author's, I felt that could send the wrong message out, because some people who do talk about their illnesses may feel invalidated by this statement. But equally as important is that people should feel comfortable to talk about their illnesses if we want a world where mental illness is seen as a socially accepted illness to have. Although I really do agree with Evie's point that people should not be using terms like bipolar and OCD to describe everyday emotions. 

I just want to add a warning here for anyone thinking of reading the book, it could be mildly triggering for some OCD / anxiety suffers. I want to encourage people to read it, but if you are suffering from these things, keep yourself safe, monitor your moods and thoughts and if you're in doubt about whether it's triggering you; put it down. This book is fantastic and very helpful, but it's more important to stay safe. 

One of the best things I found about the book is how the different types of therapy that Evie is going through are real techniques used with OCD suffers. Not only does Evie talk about things like Cognitive Behaviour Therapy and mindfulness, but she also goes through some of the techniques, which could be really useful for people with OCD or other anxiety disorders who aren't ready to face technical books or explanations but are all right facing it through fiction. 

A review of this book would not be complete without talking about feminism. I loved the spinster club and everything about them. Feminism is definitely something that should be talked about more in YA (and in general) and this was a really good way to spotlight it. I'm really glad that it's going to be a trilogy, 

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