BookDragon Books for the Diverse Reader

The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson [in Shelf Awareness]

Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson on BookDragon via Shelf AwarenessWhile his 8-year-old classmates wrote about wanting to be an actress, prime minister or even Harry Potter, David Piper had a six-word wish for his future: “I want to be a girl.” At 14, David’s wish has only become more fervent, as his traitorous body races toward manhood: “…time is running out.” He’s managed to confide in his two BFFs, but his parents think he’s gay, his younger sister prefers to ignore him, and his fellow students call him “Freak Show.”

On David’s first day back to school, rumors swirl around a new kid: “‘Apparently he went nuts during wood shop and chopped off the teacher’s index finger with a junior hacksaw.’” Leo Denton is a transfer from Cloverdale School – only a few miles away but a striking socioeconomic contrast to posh Eden Park. Home for Leo is defined by deprivation and dysfunction. At school, Leo’s only objective is to keep to himself, survive the year, and escape his tumultuous past. But when he sees David being bullied, Leo’s anger overrides self-preservation. Post-fight, both boys land in detention, leading to the fortuitous start of a most unlikely friendship, further forged by math tutoring, an abandoned pool, a seaside journey, a pink limo, and a spectacular Alternative Christmas Ball.

Directly inspired by her work with British teens at the Gender Identity Development Service department of England’s National Health Service, debut author Lisa Williamson crafts an affecting, entertaining story told in the two voices of David and Leo. Already a bestseller in the UK, The Art of Being Normal arrives Stateside with perfect timing.

Discover: David wants to be a girl, Leo wants to be unnoticed, and an unlikely friendship is born in this illuminating and appealing YA British import.

Review: “Children’s & Young Adult,” Shelf Awareness for Readers, June 3, 2016

Readers: Young Adult

Published: 2016


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