Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
Two boys. Two secrets.
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 year eleven 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…
The Art Of Being Normal was the last book I read in 2016 and I was definitely not disappointed. This is the first book I read with a transgender character and I am so glad I chose to read this. Something I love about reading is that a book can teach you so incredibly much. I feel like my eyes have been opened to how a transgender person feels. And perhaps not all of them, but definitely some. It was very interesting to read about the daily struggles David has and the way he sees the world. This review is spoiler free, so you don’t have to be afraid for the book to be ruined for you.
There are two POV’s in this book: of David and Leo. David was such a great character. He was bubbly and kind, which made me feel so bad for him about what was happening at school and how much he was struggling with himself. Leo remained a mystery throughout most of the book, even when you read from his perspective, but when you do find out what the deal around him is, it blew my socks off. Something I really liked was that the writing style kind of changed for every POV, which really gave both boys their ‘own voice’ if that makes sense.
The main reason why I didn’t give this book a 5 star but a 4 star rating, is because I could always kind of guess what was going to happen next. There was really only one moment in the book where this wasn’t the case. This is often my problem with contemporary reads, which is why I don’t pick them up much. I was really hoping for this book to be different, but it wasn’t and that kinda disappointed me.
Bullying and being trans
There were some things in this book that happen in real life all the time that I just don’t understand at all. Those things are bullying and not accepting someone for being ”different”. Let’s talk about bullying first. I do not get why you would bully someone for the way they look or the way they act, it’s absolutely insane if you think about it. Take someone’s hair color for example; people with orange hair often get picked on for it. Why??? Why would you pick on someone for something they were born with?
Same goes for not accepting someone who is either gay or trans or something else that is deemed ”different” by some people. Maybe that’s just because everybody here in the Netherlands is very open-minded about everything, but I don’t see why being gay or trans or anything similar would be a problem. If you’re born in the wrong body and feel deeply unhappy because of it, it’s a beautiful thing that you can nowadays change that. If you love someone of the same sex, it’s love all the same. I just don’t see why people can’t accept that. (sorry for the rant here)
But despide the story not being overwhelmingly original to me, I still really enjoyed this book and think that everybody should read this, just because it will open your eyes to the life of a transgender person.