Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Review: Some Kind of Normal (Stone)

AUTHOR: Juliana Stone
SERIES: none
PUBLISHER: Sourcebooks Fire
PUBLICATION DATE: May 5, 2015
ISBN: 9781402291500
PAGES: 304
SOURCE: SLJ review copy
GENRE: contemporary romance; realistic fiction
SETTING: present-day, Louisiana
GIVE IT TO: HS
SUMMARY: Told in alternating perspectives. Everly's family is perfect. At least they appear to be. As the preacher's daughter, Everly knows she has to put on a perfect face, even as her family is falling apart. Trevor used to have it all. Until a drunken car crash left him comatose for months. After missing most of his senior year, Trevor now hopes to pass his final test so he can graduate and pursue his dreams in New York City. Paired together for intensive tutoring sessions, Trevor and Everly learn to put their awkward history behind them and help each other cope as their personal lives spiral out of control.

REVIEW: Awww...this was a really sweet romance that will be popular with the legions of fans of The Fault in Our Stars and Perfect Chemistry. Right from the first few pages, I felt connected with the story and with the voices of Everly and Trevor (I couldn't believe none of their friends ever called them "Trevorly"). The characters are very real--neither of these two are perfect, and their problems don't get resolved with a neat little red bow at the end. There is some drama and an incessant stream of Everly's tears, but I didn't think it was over-the-top. And thankfully, no love triangles or insta-love.

Author Juliana Stone really took her time with the kissing parts. I loved the detail of the Trevor and Everly's first and second kisses. It wasn't just "we kissed and the earth moved"--these kisses were several paragraphs of sensations and emotions, told from both perspectives. I felt those kisses right along with Trevorly.

I also enjoyed the inclusion of Trevor's brain injury and how there are some things that he just can't help. His mixing of words, while sad and tragic, also makes him endearing and sweet. My only complaint is how he remained friends with Nate, who was driving drunk the night of the crash. Nate appears to have come out unscathed. He is happily living it up in New York, apparently with no injuries, guilt, or legal problems. And Trevor seems to be fine with all that. I find it very difficult to believe that these two could stay friends after such a traumatic event. Yes, they were both drunk that night, but Nate's getting off scot-free just seems wrong. What real human being wouldn't be incredibly angry about all that?

THE BOTTOM LINE: A sweet contemporary romance that will be popular with fans of The Fault in Our Stars and Perfect Chemistry. Traumatic Brain Injury and epilepsy isn't a topic I see very often in YA, and this story handles that with respect and sincerity.

STATUS IN MY LIBRARY: Not out yet, but I plan to order it.

READALIKES: Hundred Oaks series (Kenneally); Pushing the Limits series (McGarry)

RATING BREAKDOWN:
  • Overall: 4/5
  • Creativity: 4/5--lots of others like this
  • Characters: 4/5--Nate needs some culpability; Trevor is angry at everyone but Nate
  • Engrossing: 5/5
  • Writing: 5/5
  • Appeal to teens: 5/5
  • Appropriate length to tell the story: 5/5

CONTENT:
  • Language: medium--1 F-bomb; multiple sh**
  • Sexuality: medium--kissing (vertical and horizontal); discussion and contemplation of intercourse; Everly is a virgin, but no one else is; Trevor has a history of casual sex; references to erection; chest lust; gay parent
  • Violence: mild; vandalism
  • Drugs/Alcohol: mild; teens drink at parties, but Everly and Trevor do not partake

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