Friday, 8 April 2016

Book Review: The Art of Being Normal | Lisa Williamson

Winner of the Waterstones Best Older Fiction Children's Book Prize

Shortlisted for the YA Book Prize

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 11 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 am a fan of Young Adult books but normally I tend to gravitate towards books that have a fantasy or science fiction element to them. This book however is a contemporary YA novel and I must say one of the best books I have read in a long time. I think it is incredibly brave and inspiring of the author to write something that tackles issues that are only really just being brought to the attention of the masses.

What this book does is highlight these issues in such a wonderful way that the story in my opinion isn’t immediately or directly about transgender issues, it is about 2 boys and their friendship and there just happens to be the added dynamic of gender identity.

The subject is tackled wonderful and with sensitivity, and what this book has been doing and will continue to do is to allow teens to feel ok in who they are and who they want to be. I myself am not transgender but what this book gave me was a faith in my own identity and this idea that your life should be lived as your most authentic self.

The writing and the story is just wonderful and it is evocative in its realism and portrayal of the world today. The characters of Leo and David are wonderfully heart-warming and endearing and seeing how their friendship progresses is simply wonderful.

A triumph of a book, and hopefully it will inspire many more like it. 

Buy it Here:

I also had the pleasure of meeting Lisa at an event recently in Waterstones Liverpool, where I was lucky enough to get a signed copy of the book and have a lovely little chat with the lady herself. She is lovely.

About The Author:

Lisa Williamson was born and grew up in Nottingham. She studied drama at Middlesex University and since graduating has worked as an actor on stage and TV. Between acting jobs Lisa temped in offices across London, typing stories when no one was looking, one of which eventually became The Art of Being Normal.

Lisa now lives in North London with her boyfriend.

Find Lisa Here: