The Art of Being Normal

The Art of Being Normal

Book - 2016 | First edition.
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David Piper, always an outsider, forms an unlikely friendship with Leo Denton who, from the first day at his new school wants only to be invisible, but when David's deepest secret gets out, that he wants to be a girl, things get very messy for both of them.
Publisher: New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR), 2016.
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9780374302375
Branch Call Number: YA FIC WILLI
Characteristics: 344 pages ; 22 cm


From Library Staff

Reviewed by Shu Ying: David Piper has always been an outsider. His parents think he’s gay, the school bully think he’s a freak. Only his two best friends know the truth: David wants to be a girl.

Plot: 8/10
This story is rather cliché, from the wording to the characters to the feelings. However... Read More »

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Clap clap this is such a good book omg

Jun 23, 2020

i liked this book but the fact that the author herself isn’t trans doesn’t sit right with me. a lot of transphobia and deadnaming so be aware before reading

Sep 16, 2019

I sought out this book for its depiction of trans characters–such a rarity, sadly–but was disappointed by the language surrounding Kate. I understand that she was pretty far in the closet, but Leo–who, by the way, was depicted excellently, language never wavering from his true identity–referred to her as "him" and "David" even after she'd come out to him and given him her name. I guess that can happen, but I was bothered by it; it smacked of cisnormativity on the part of the author. I suppose Leo had some issues, but I'd hope after everything he'd gone thru he'd be vigilant. A nice depiction of trans youth with the exception of this sticking point.

Jul 14, 2018

This book poses the very question, what is normal? As people we tend to spend far too much time trying to be "normal", trying to fit people's expectations of what we are and should be, when is it really necessary to strive to be something you're not, just because you think it'll make others happy?

Awesome book in my opinion, a very well told story with admirable characters, romance, humor and school life.
The story is told from the alternating perspectives of David, a year nine that has difficultly in transitioning his life into the person he really wants to be and Leo, a year 10 transfer student that slowly changes David's life. Together they help each other with their problems and offer support when it is most needed. The main conflict is David trying to open up to his parents and schoolmates about who he really wants to be which is a girl. Leo struggles with his overbearing mother, tries to find his father who left him while trying to keep his fair share of secrets hidden from everyone else.

I like how this book opens up more to the LGBT+ community and I really think it is a wonderful book that really shows the struggle not only with identity but with family, school and daily life. I find the characters of David and Leo to be very interesting in how they interpret their problems and their differing opinions and perspectives tend to come together quite well. Leo is more of a logical, strong and mathematical person while David is creative, artistic and overall more emotionally sensitive. This combination of people go well together and they really make up for each other's flaws without being too unrealistic as well. I do wish that there was more focus or understanding on Leo's family in particular his mom because despite being mean and cold most of the time I really feel like she has suffered a lot. However we don't get much into her backstory. I also would have preferred Leo's "secret" to not be revealed on the book description and leave it for the readers to find themselves.
The plot was good, the story was well paced without giving away too much. It didn't feel too long and the relationship between the characters was interesting to see unfold. It was a bit stereotypical being in a high school setting of having mean popular girls, weekend parties, and some expected stereotypical teenagers. However the message of the book was good, seeing two characters trying to interpret what their identity is and what it is defined by.
i would rate this book to be very recommended.
- Review from Fleetwood Teen V.D.

Sep 30, 2016

I love this book, made me cry and made me smile. I definitely recommended it to my best friend with high praise.

Aug 18, 2016

Amazing book, definitely worth the read!

Age Suitability

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green_alligator_9902 thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

Sep 30, 2016

thatsnotright thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

Aug 18, 2016

SLai19 thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over


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