***Before you start this review, there is a trigger warning for domestic violence, abuse, panic attacks and rape.***
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It's the kind of situation most people would dread. Starting at a new high school, in the middle of my senior year, in a new town, in a new state. I know no one. No one knows me. That's what I'm counting on.
A year ago, Aurora "Rory" Pine was just a normal teenage girl - just as sweet and naive as the fairy tale princess she was named after.
But this isn't a year ago.
Rory is broken, and now suffering from a debilitating anxiety disorder, wrought with precarious triggers, she moves across the country to escape the source of her troubles. Her plan is anonymity, but that's easier said than achieved for the new girl having a panic episode outside of calculus. The worst part? There's a witness - and a gorgeous one at that.
Sam is a walking trigger for Rory. Incredibly handsome, built like the star athlete he obviously is, and undoubtedly popular, Sam outwardly represents everything Rory despises about high school. But as the fates keep throwing them together, a connection sparks that neither ever expected, and certainly couldn't ignore.
But Sam has issues too, and Rory's past won't just stay in the damned past. When friendship evolves into something deeper, can a girl utterly destroyed by the worst kind of betrayal and a boy battling demons of his own ever have a normal relationship? Is that even what they want? Find out in NORMAL, a gritty story of trust and abuse, heartbreak and salvation, and if they're lucky - love. This is not a flowery romance - not for the faint of heart.
This book was so refreshing to read. It gave a really realistic look in to the lives of teens; I remember finding out recently that domestic violence in teenage relationships has risen dramatically and I'm glad that this book highlights the issue.
Normal introduces us to Rory. I loved Rory, and not just because she shares a name with a character on one of my favourite shows of all time, but because above everything else she's so strong. There's nothing wrong with not being strong, but in Rory's case her strength was so inspiring, both in the current day and in the past. The fact that Rory doesn't realise her own strength makes her even stronger than she could ever know.
I appreciated all the friendships shown in this book, I think a lot of the time, we forget that friendships are very important relationships to have in addition to having a boy/girlfriend. I love that it also completely ignored the "all girls are bitches" mentality.
I've kept this review short so you can all experience it properly yourselves, this story was such an emotional read that I could not put it down. I'm very excited for the next book Danielle writes.
Recommend to: fans of New Adult, teenagers, young women, old women, young men
Rating: 4 stars