Thursday, May 7, 2015

Review: Some Kind of Normal by Juliana Stone


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:
What is Normal?
For Trevor normal was fast guitar licks, catching game-winning passes and partying all night. Until a car accident leaves Trevor with no band, no teammates and no chance of graduating. It's kinda hard ace your finals when you've been in a coma. The last thing he needs is stuck-up Everly Jenkins as his new tutorthose beautiful blue eyes catching every last flaw.
For Everly normal was a perfect family around the dinner table, playing piano at Sunday service and sunning by the pool. Until she discovers her whole life is a lie. Now the perfect pastor's daughter is hiding a life-changing secret, one that is slowing tearing her family apart. And spending the summer with notorious flirt Trevor Lewis means her darkest secret could be exposed.
This achingly beautiful story about two damaged teens struggling through pain and loss to redefine who they are—to their family, to themselves, and to each other—is sure to melt your heart.
Praise for Boys Like You:
"The classic miscommunications, the emotional pushing and pulling, the "will she?" and "won't he?" of the destined-to-be-in-love. Readers of Miranda Kenneally, Jenny Han, and Susane Colasanti will enjoy Stone." -VOYA
"The story handles challenging subjects like sex, drunk driving, and faith after tragedy in a sensitive and age-appropriate way...just what readers need." -School Library Journal

MY TAKE:
I started this book thinking it would be in the vein of Sarah Dessen's novels.

In Some Kind of Normal, Trevor and Everly are two teens who are going through a rough period in their lives. Trevor is still recovering from an accident, and just when he thinks he's on his way to becoming normal again, the rug gets pulled out from under him. Everly, on the other hand, is hiding a huge secret about her father that could end up destroying her family.

The book alternates between Trevor and Everly's points-of-view. Even if it didn't, though, the Sarah Dessen comparison doesn't really fit. Trevor and Everly are both going through something difficult, but the tone and the style is not like a lot of YA books I've read recently. There's something almost New Adult about them, although there were also shades of Christian fiction for me.

The problems Trevor and Everly are facing were quite interesting to me. Everly's was easier to predict, and so were her reactions, for the most part. I found Trevor's predicament more interesting. It's probably the first time I've read a character recovering from traumatic brain injury, with there being drama, but the realistic, medically sound kind.

As a whole, however, the story didn't work for me. My issue is when the flirtation between Trevor and Everly started, I wasn't emotionally invested in the characters yet. When that happens, I tend to get irritated at the characters, and that just snowballs until the end of the book. Here, while I didn't despise Everly, I never truly warmed up to her, either, especially since she cried a lot, which I wasn't a fan of. As for Trevor, I actually came to like him a little bit, especially when he was going through his mood swings. I thought it was a believable portrayal of  his condition.

This book has some positive messages, and I think there are more than a few people who will like this. However, this book was not for me.

Thanks to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Fire for the e-ARC.

THE GOOD:

  1. You really feel Trevor's frustrations.
  2. The romantic scenes are good.
  3. The rendering of the parent-child relationships are realistic. 

THE BAD:

  1.  Trevor and Everly's flirtation starts off a little too quick for me.

READ IT IF:

  1. You like bad-boy-good-girl romances.
  2. You like romances wherein both parties are damaged in some way.
  3. You like novels filled with family drama. 

RATING:
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