Danielle Pearl's Normal is captivating, spellbinding and heart-rending all rolled into one. It's a delicate written novel that deals with issues of abuse. It's dark, abrasive and intense, so be aware that this book does contain violence and may not be suitable for everyone.
Normal is also a story of suspense, love and hope and is revealed through Aurora's (Rory) POV. The story takes place in the present with flashbacks from the past. It was a little irksome in the beginning, but then I was grateful for the flashbacks, because they made us aware and gave us an understanding of Rory's frame of mind and why she is so despondent and dispirited.
Aurora Pine has moved from a small town in Florida to a new larger town in the state of New York to get a fresh start. She will attend a new high school right in the middle of her senior year where she is hoping to just blend in. But little did she know that she would capture the eye of the hot football star and most sought-after man on campus...Sam Caplan. "Cap"
Sam is complete perfection. He's sexy, patient, loyal, loving, affectionate and kind...and Rory takes notice. Her intentions are not to make friends, but to stay well under the radar...but now it's too late. Their connection is undeniable, and as bad as Rory wants to fight it, their chemistry is too magnetic.
Sam and Rory start out as friends. Neither one are looking for a relationship and they both share painful pasts. Rory has triggers originating back from one year ago where she went through an abusive relationship with her then boyfriend, Robin, the town hero and the Mayor's son.
For some reason, Sam is able to connect with Rory like no one else ever has...except for maybe her childhood friend, Cam, that she loved and adored. This connection is calming for her and is a stepping stone for Rory and Sam's friendship, which in turn, jump starts the healing process for Rory. For the first time in over a year, she is actually starting to feel some normalcy. Thanks to her good friend, Sam.
"I got you, Pine."
This newfound friendship and connection with Sam has allowed Rory to open up her heart and finally FEEL. She's feeling emotions that she has never experienced before with anyone. She has fallen and fallen hard.
"I'm in love with Sam, and somehow, in the short time I’ve known him, he has become the center of my universe-my anchor to it. I’m no longer just surviving, as he said, I’m living."
But what happens when Rory's past comes back to the present and threatens her? Will she fight back or will she cave and give in to her past demons?
This novel truly did captivate me. I just happened to discover this book and I'm so impressed with this author. She had me from start to finish. Yes, the book was long, but I see now that it was necessary in order to experience Sam and Rory's heartbreaking and uplifting story. There was no insta-love and we get to follow right along with them on their roller coaster ride of life. We get to travel back in time, and relive right along with Rory, her horrific past and her struggle to find her NORMAL.
It's practically impossible for me to continue reviewing this book without giving key parts away. I definitely recommend NORMAL and I do believe that every teenage girl should read this emotional heart-wrenching story. It's an epiphany for abusive relationships.
I give NORMAL 5 Crazie Stars!!! ~Kim