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Jan 15, 2013

Book Review: Normalish by Margaret Lesh

NormalishTitle: Normalish
Author: Margaret Lesh
Publisher: Musa Publishing
Release date: October 5, 2012

Find Margaret Lesh online: Website | Facebook | Twitter
Fifteen-year-old Stacy questions the strange world of high school, love, her role in a harsh universe, and life, in Normalish.

People tell you high school's so great and wonderful, but they're lying. It's mostly horrible and full of disappointment. It sucks. Your best friend abandons you. The jerk you're in love with pretends to be into you, and then the big dump. The boy you've really clicked with as a friend decides to go all crushy over you, so you break his heart just like yours was -- smashed into little pieces. Your sister goes mental, and you get involved with a guy who’s even crazier than she is (who you know is a very bad idea, but you do it anyway). Math only adds another stink of failure to the whole thing.

High school blows. Just ask freshman Stacy. She’d want you to know.
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My $0.02

Normalish was such a sweet, fun, and relatable read. I loved Lesh’s depiction of high school and I especially loved Stacey’s sarcastic attitude—there were many times where I found myself smiling like a dork because I just got Stacey and what she was saying; sarcasm is heavy in my day to day verbiage so I more than appreciated that. Normalish took “normal,” stuck it under a microscope, analyzed it, prodded at it, and made you realize that in a way, normal is whatever you made it to be and that it is way overrated.

Stacey, our female protagonist, had such a witty and sarcastic sense of humor that it made reading Normalish entertaining and kept me turning the pages. She had such a voice and was such a character that I couldn’t wait to see her reaction to the things life kept throwing at her. I understood completely how Stacey felt as she stepped foot into the big world of high school, how everything seemed to change yet all at once, everything was still the same. At times, she got a bit under my skin when she was “getting her heart stomped on” because she seemed to go overboard and overreact every single time so it made it a bit unbelievable for me. But despite all the horrible things that were being thrown at her, Stacey kept an optimistic outlook on life. She learned that things sometimes just happened and that no matter how you wished events would turn out another way, sometimes life had its own course to run.

Normalish had a great supporting group of characters who all had their own story that all came together like puzzle pieces that made the picture complete. I especially enjoyed Stacey’s sisters, her mom, and Chad—although, he was quite an odd one to figure out. One thing I mentioned earlier that I loved was Lesh’s portrayal of high school. To me, she nailed it down to a tee; it wasn’t exaggerated and it seemed believable and I just enjoyed how she wrote about it. Another thing I loved about Normalish was how it was written in sort of like diary entries except… not exactly; it was different and it was another thing that kept me turning the pages real quick.

Throughout Normalish, Stacey questioned a lot of things that not too long ago, I questioned as well; I love that “why?” was never too far from her. I think at one point in life, you kind of just start to wonder about these things and even after you find an answer, you still come back with, “Why?” Normalish is a story about loss, love, friends, family, and one girl’s look at what it means to be normal—how at times, you wish more than anything that life could just go your own way. But you soon realize that “life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass, it's about learning how to dance in the rain.”

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