Monday, June 12, 2017

NEW REVIEW! NORMAL (Something More #1) by Danielle Pearl:

"...this book was fantastic. It was hard to read because it was so full of tragedy and sensitive circumstances, but that’s also what made it so great." - Craves the Angst

TITLE: Normal
SERIES: Something More #1
AUTHOR: Danielle Pearl
AGE GROUP: Young Adult
GENRE: Romance
RELEASE DATE: August 11, 2014
PUBLISHER: Danielle Pearl
PAGES: Approx. 390

RATING: 4 Stars!

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.

4 “wow!” Stars!
My. Heart. Is. Broken! 

The Review: 
Amazing! This book was powerful, emotional and affecting on so many levels. From the moment it opens up, you understand that the heroine, Rory, has been through something awful and whatever it is, has changed her, her outlook on life and her instincts. She openly admits she’s been betrayed and abandoned and we can clearly see that. To be honest, I wasn’t sure I was going to like her. She had no confidence at all and was really down on herself. After all she’d been through, she was very much the victim and her self loathing was front and center. However, after reading all the events that shaped her into the person she is now, I get it. I totally understand how loving herself could fade into the background of questioning herself and her worth. And it was utterly heartbreaking.

Sam was amazing, in every way, as he supported her. Gah! He was just the perfect hero. He was gentle, kind, understanding and he truly wanted to help. He felt an instant connection the moment he sees her. He also has a dark past and maybe that’s why he could see through her and he recognized a broken soul. But he really wanted to get to know her and he really shined in the “hero” department. I loved his character.

I experienced a tumultuous sea of emotions while reading this book and the story itself was poignant and dramatic. There’s so much that happens in this book and I thought the author did an amazing job switching between time lines. It almost felt like we got two different stories in one and it was never confusing. I loved the supporting characters, especially Cam! Cam ..... *sigh*

However, as much as I enjoyed this book, I wanted to hint on a couple of things I didn’t like...
The overuse of the word “fucking” was a bit extreme. ALL the characters said it and said it often. I’m not sensitive to the word. Not at all. In fact, I probably say it in real life as much as these characters did. I curse like a trucker most of the time, but reading it over and over can be a bit much. It looses it’s dramatic effect. Both Rory and Sam said it in almost Every. Single. Sentence! Sometimes multiple times in a sentence. Next, I enjoyed the internal monologuing Rory gave us. There was a lot to absorb, but there was also TOO MUCH in overly long paragraphs that I think could have been culled down for a more dramatic effect. You don’t need to hammer the points home to the reader. We get it and we can appreciate it. We don’t need scenes or points of the story rehashed in multiple places. This story was so well laid out, we didn’t need all that excess. And lastly, the dialogue was sometimes a bit overdone, but that was easily overlooked because I also found myself smiling hard at some of the banter between Rory and Sam.

All in all, this book was fantastic. It was hard to read because it was so full of tragedy and sensitive circumstances, but that’s also what made it so great. The author really took you along for the ride, pulled you into the scenes and kept you there in all their gritty, painful moments. I think this was the author's debut novel and if that’s the case, she did a remarkable job right out of the gate! I can’t wait to see how this story progresses.

As for the characters, I hate the way it ended, but I’m really looking forward to book two. I also hope in the next book or at least by the end of her story, Rory no longer sees herself as a victim but rather the strong survivor she actually is. I want to see her be able to stand up for what she wants and believe she deserves it.

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