I’ve been hearing excellent things about Holly Bourne’s ‘Am I Normal Yet?’ so when it popped up in the Amazon Vine Review Programme I knew I had to give it a whirl. As ever, with books that have been sent to me for review purposes all opinions are my own.
Evie is a young woman just about to start college. She is a little nervous, due to the fact that she has been away from school for some time in the grip of OCD and anxiety which left her a prisoner of her own thoughts and behaviours. Evie is at a new sixth form and is about to attempt some kind of normal life now. Her meds are decreasing, her therapist is happy with her progress and it looks like Evie will get her wish. To be normal.
The problem is that being a teenager is rough, and stressful. Evie thinks that this is down to her mental health problems, when actually much of it is down to just growing up. Evie though, feels that she can’t really talk to any of her new friends about what she is going through, and her family simply don’t understand or know how to handle her. As the tensions within Evie build, her mental health problems start to come back and just ignoring them isn’t going to help matters.
This is a wonderful book. As someone who suffered with mental health problems of my own during my teenage years I identified with Evie a lot. I thought she was brilliantly portrayed and she was very real for me.
I particularly liked Evie’s new friends Amber and Lottie, and their tussles with what it means to be a teenage feminist, and how you reconcile it with what teenage girls feel and need and want. I thought it was a really fresh and interesting take on what could have been told as a more traditional tale of mental health and redemption.
The story ends with hope, but is also quite open, and I believe Holly Bourne’s intention is to make this the first of a trilogy following the three girls lives. I very much look forward to reading the next book when it comes out.
This is definitely a book for teens. The subject material is rather advanced for primary aged readers but I would recommend it for girls aged 12 and up.