December 20 2020
Peta Lyre’s rating normal
I’ve had this sitting on my shelf for a while now, and finally started it last week. Straight to the top 10 best books I’ve read this year (which I think currently contains about 16 books – I’m an English teacher, not a maths one). Peta Lyre rates her life, based on how successfully she thinks she manages the complex social interactions around her via the rules she’s developed as part of her therapy to help her develop more “normal” behaviours. When Peta falls for the new girl at school, she needs to decide which rules matter, and if she can be normal without them.
I loved the queer romance in this book. I love the complexity and diversity of the characters. I loved the references to Frankenstein woven throughout, as Peta navigates her own thoughts on finding a way to belong, to fit in, to figure out how to do typical. I love the way that Anna Whateley frames the challenges that Peta faces as a neurodivergent character without reducing her to a stereotype – a result in equal parts due to her talent as an author as well as being a reflection of her innate understanding of neurodivergence through her own experiences.
This is a YA novel full of heart, with a number of characters finding their way to live their own normal. Highly recommended.