Genre: LGBT (trans* character), YA
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
Cover: a rainbow road… well…
Trigger warnings: transphobia, body issues
Description: David Piper has always been an outsider. His parents think he’s gay. The school bully thinks he’s a freak. Only his two best friends know the real truth: David wants to be a girl.
On the first day at his new school Leo Denton has one goal: to be invisible. Attracting the attention of the most beautiful girl in his class is definitely not part of that plan. When Leo stands up for David in a fight, an unlikely friendship forms. But things are about to get messy. Because at Eden Park School secrets have a funny habit of not staying secret for long , and soon everyone knows that Leo used to be a girl.
As David prepares to come out to his family and transition into life as a girl and Leo wrestles with figuring out how to deal with people who try to define him through his history, they find in each other the friendship and support they need to navigate life as transgender teens as well as the courage to decide for themselves what normal really means.
Review: “[…] and soon everyone knows that Leo used to be a girl.” Way to spoiler this novel. It’s like this big relevation to the characters, but the reader knows it before starting to read it. Well, you could guess it while reading, too.
Apart from that I really enjoyed The art of being normal. Especially David is really well-written and you experience his struggles along with him. Him measuring his body and noting how it gets more and more masculine was heartbreaking.
I still had the feeling that this book is not about trans* characters but with them. Friendship is a really big theme and I think everyone can get behind identy issues, whether they fall into the LGBTQIA+ spectrum or not. I would have loved to analyze this book in school instead of The Confusions of Young Törless, but that’s a story for another time.
Disclaimer: I was provided with a free copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you.