Steven’s contemporary and captivating story of Alexi Littrell and Bodee Lennox is a cross between a who-dunnit mystery and coming of age story.
Something terrible has happened to Alexi over the summer. She is unable to even say the word that haunts her dreams and causes her to scratch the back of neck into a bloody mess. I adore that Alexi isn’t seen as the ‘leader’ of her group of friends, she is in fact the opposite; a third to a pair that have been best friends for ages. I feel this is a more realistic side of teenage friendships. Teenage girls aren’t always worried about their boyfriends; their girlfriends matter just as much and can be lost just as easily. The story becomes more genuine and relatable.
Bodee comes with his own heartbreaking story. The wallflower, brought into Alexi’ home because his father murdered his mother. What little he can express is his hair color choice through the use of Kool-Aid. He leans on Alexi for support in ignoring the next step in his future. Together they engage on a routine of comfort and safety, but also of ignoring the resolution for their conflicts.
Alexi and Bodee need to each other to faking being normal. Their relationship is crafted in a subtle yet truthful way of how teens can become close and yet then change their minds about how they feel about someone.
Stevens weaves a web for Alexi and Bodee as the year carries on, each with a deadline, romance and conflict in order to see the light to stop hiding from their secrets. The final chapters will have you on edge, staying up late into the evening wondering who has hurt Alexi. Faking Normal is executed with a spot on message and with grace for her characters. This stand-alone is not to be missed.