I’m making a really good dent in my ebook haul at the minute and the last book that I finished was Am I Normal Yet? by Holly Bourne. I thought it’d be nice to share my thoughts and feelings about the books that I shared on my haul post, incase you were wondering what they were like or how I am finding them.
Am I Normal Yet? is the first book in The Spinster Club series and was published by Usbourne Publishing Ltd in August 2015. It comes under the Young Adult Fiction , contemporary fiction categories of genre and touches upon themes of mental health and feminism. In 2016 it was a nominee for the YA Book Prize. I will pop the synopsis below:
All Evie wants is to be normal. She’s almost off her meds and at a new college where no one knows her as the girl-who-went-crazy. She’s even going to parties and making friends. There’s only one thing left to tick off her list…
But relationships are messy – especially relationships with teenage guys. They can make any girl feel like they’re going mad. And if Evie can’t even tell her new friends Amber and Lottie the truth about herself, how will she cope when she falls in love?
Am I Normal Yet? tells us the story of Evie, a young girl who has suffered by the hands of OCD. Now she’s making a really good recovery, things are looking up for Evie. She’s slowly coming off of her medication, she’s at a new college where she can leave the past behind her, and she’s actually making new friends. Throughout the book we see Evie struggle with, what most people would see as trivial things. Things we take for granted like dating, going to the cinema and having sleepovers. We see Evie flourish and fall, learn and make mistakes, but will she find the love she so desperately seeks?
I am going to start off saying this book could be quite triggering if you suffer from mental illness, OCD or similar. I did find myself struggling at points with my own head at certain points of the book. So please do read with caution and take breaks if you start to struggle. But this book isn’t a story of sadness within mental health. Although there are scenes that really do hurt your heart. It’s honest and open about the struggles of recovering normality after having a serious mental health diagnosis. It shows us how precarious life can be even when things start to get better. But on top of that it teaches us about the importance of loving family and friends, about trust and honesty.
I feel like the reason that I may have been triggered a little bit by this book is because of how I see similarities between Evie’s situation and the things that I went through in school. This book though was a very honest and important way to show what mental illness is really like for the sufferer and how it massively impacts your life. All the way through I was praying for Evie to come out on top. I was happy when she made new friends and started to find herself and things that she loved. How empowering the book was not just about mental health but also feminism also.
Another massively important thing this book showed us was what OCD actually is. I hate it when the words OCD are used to describe someone who likes things a certain way or are just a tidy/organised person. OCD isn’t as trivial as that. It is awful. It takes over your life. Yes it can be ritualistic behaviour centred around cleanliness but it’s also compulsive bad thoughts, it’s the belief that if you don’t do your rituals bad things will happen, as bad as death. It’s not eating food because your mind convinces you that you could die from eating, the food is poisoned. I think that, that is something that people need to realise and accept. It can be so damaging to hear someone refer to your illness as something trivial when it takes over every aspect of your life.
Overall, I loved this book. It has a beautiful storyline and the characters are so endearing and I wish I had friends like Evie’s when I was at school, it would’ve probably made the whole experience so much more fun. It also packs many important lessons about mental health, friendship and life in general. I would definitely recommend this book. It’s so, so important. And so well done. I cannot wait to read more of The Spinster Club series.
Star Rating /5