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The Art of Being Normal
by Lisa Williamson

Author: Lisa Williamson
RRP: £7.99

The Art of Being Normal is a thought provoking, sensitive novel that opens your eyes and lets you into the minds of the people, probably the same age as you, who are trapped inside the wrong body. This book certainly made me think- Williamson captured the feeling of loneliness, confusion and fear, and even though many will not be able to relate to the characters, everyone should read what David and Leo have to say, because although this is fiction, the reality is heartbreaking.

Leo and David are two characters that you won't forget easily; they leave a lasting impression on the reader. Leo seems strong, proud and fearless, but as the plot thickens, a secret you would never have expected is revealed, making the story even more memorable. In contrast, David is shy, self-kept and good natured, yet on the contrary to what his parents believe he is (homosexual), he is trapped in the opposite gender. From the beginning of the novel, we are told he has always wanted to be a girl. The story is told by the two teens, equally sharing their side of the events. Throughout the novel, both characters are faced with ignorance and humiliation as the rest of their school mates learn the truth about their true identities. The story continues in hostility for both the boys and their families, but will there be a happy ending? You'll have to read the book to find out!

The story is a phenomenal debut; Williamson, even though creating the plot from her imagination, really shows the reader what it is like for transgender teens, using amusement and humour for the audience to enjoy, as well as emotive language and heart-wrenching ideas. If anything, I have learnt that prejudice against anyone is dishonourable and will never be justified. Whatever race, gender, sexual orientation, age, social class or colour, you should not be discriminated against. Everyone deserves a voice, a chance for their story to be heard, and that is why everyone should read this outstanding, heart-pounding novel. It has made me think about subjects that are so real and ongoing, yet I would never have thought about before. It is so easy to blank out and forget about topics like transgenderism and other issues like this. The Art of Being Normal will give teenagers a better understanding of what people like David are feeling, which is, I believe, what will make the world an equal and just place to live in.

Isabelle Osborne (14) For Over 13's