Book Review: The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson


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Title: The Art of Being Normal
Author:  Lisa Williamson
Hardback: 275 pages
Publication Date: February 7, 2017
Genre: Contemporary, LGBTQIA+, Young Adult
Rating: star icon star icon star icon star icon star icon

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This was an amazing book representing transgender. We see through dual POV, David who has wanted to be a girl ever since he was young and Leo who is the new student at David’s school; Eden Park School – a rich, prep school – Leo just wants to be invisible and get through the school year. But, the school starts buzzing when they find out that something happened at Leo’s old school bringing him to Eden Park.

David has great friends, who know that he wants to transition but he struggles at times being the third wheel since the two are dating. David has also not told his family about wanting to transition because of fear to how they will react, especially his father.

Leo is a mystery, so I am not going to say too much on him. But, I loved his story because it was so mysterious. We get to meet his family and their past history. He’s on the hunt to find his father, who left them when he and his sister were born.

I really just loved this story and everything it had in it. Especially, the friendship that evolves between Leo and David when Leo stands up to the bully David is trying to fight off. Leo was my favorite character, but I liked David’s family and friends. They were fun and very friendly. David has a very accepting coming out to his family however, it felt realistic as the parents build up emotions toward David and they don’t understand completely. The ending was bittersweet and had me smiling for David and for Leo.

I really enjoyed this because it was different and it didn’t focus heavily on a romance. It focused more on David and Leo’s lives, personalities and their future. This is a brief review because I do not want to spoil the book!

Between 2010 and 2012, I worked as an administrator at the Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS), based at the world-famous Tavistock Centre in North London. GIDS is the NHS service for under-eighteens struggling with their gender identity. The young people who used the service inspired me to write a story from the point of view of a transgender teenager. This eventually became The Art of Being Normal.  http://www.lisawilliamsonauthor.com/about.html 
The Art of Being Normal is not an own voices book. However, the representation comes from the author, Lisa Williamson’s’ experience working as an administrator at a Gender Identity Development Service. If you’re looking for a book that features transgender, I really recommend this one. Also, if you enjoyed, IF I WAS YOUR GIRL by Meredith Russo, you’ll like this one.
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