Genre: Contemporary, Realistic, Mental Health
Release Date: August 1st 2015
Buy The Book: Book Depository
All Evie wants is to be normal. She’s almost off her meds and at a new college where no one knows her as the girl-who-went-crazy. She’s even going to parties and making friends. There’s only one thing left to tick off her list…
But relationships are messy – especially relationships with teenage guys. They can make any girl feel like they’re going mad. And if Evie can’t even tell her new friends Amber and Lottie the truth about herself, how will she cope when she falls in love?
This is a book that I’ve been meaning to pick up for a long time, but just hadn’t managed to get around to. But this month I joined a fabulous group of ladies who formed The Book Club, and our pick for July’s read was Am I Normal Yet? So finally I was persuaded to check it out of the library and get it read. And oh boy, did I wish I’d picked it up sooner.
This book follows sixteen-year-old Evie who suffers from OCD. She’s finally making progress and is lessening her medication, and all she wants is to be normal. When she goes on a date with a cute guy from college, the night doesn’t exactly go as she’d hoped. Instead she finds herself talking to her childhood friend Lottie, and her friend Amber. The girls bond instantly and together they end up forming The Spinster Club so that they can reclaim the word ‘spinster’ and get together for feminist discussions.
I am so grateful that this book exists. I can’t thank Holly Bourne enough for writing it. And I desperately wish this book had been around when I was sixteen. The discussions that these amazing girls have are A+ and had my feminist-self cheering. Their meeting about periods especially, oh my goodness, it made me so happy to see periods openly discussed in a YA novel. Everything the girls talked about was so unbelievably on point. It’s also great way to introduce young people to feminism and what it truly means.
Evie’s struggle with OCD is such an important part of the story. It’s written openly and honestly, and doesn't shy away from the harsh realities of mental illness. This is something I’m always looking for more of in YA because unfortunately I have read books that have glamourized anxiety, and I’m thrilled that this book did everything right. Evie was a character who I could relate to in some instances, especially with her concerns over illness and disease. I was also able to learn a lot from her. One of the things this book is great at doing is explaining mental health in a way that doesn’t feel preachy.
The characters are great throughout this book and their dialogue is authentic for the YA genre. I adored watching Evie’s friendship with Amber and Lottie grow, and seeing her learn to trust them by the end of it. Like I said before, their discussions were brilliant, but I also loved their everyday scenes where we got to see them react to college and parties. Evie also has a few dating disasters throughout the story. Whilst the events with Ethan made me giggle, her experiences with Guy were a little darker. Oli was an interesting character and I was keen to get to know him better. I felt sorry for him for how Evie treated him, but I can also understand her reasoning behind her decision, even if I didn’t agree with it.