Review: The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson

the-art-of-being-normalTitle: The Art of Being Normal

Author: Lisa Williamson

Pages: 353 Pages

Publisher: David Fickling Books

The Blurb

David Piper has always been an outsider. His parents think he’s gay. The school bully thinks he’s a freak. Only his two best friends know the real truth – David wants to be a girl. On the first day at his new school Leo Denton has one goal – to be invisible. Attracting the attention of the most beautiful girl in Year 11 is definitely not part of that plan. When Leo stands up for David in a fight, an unlikely friendship forms. But things are about to get messy. Because at Eden Park School secrets have a funny habit of not staying secret for long . .


The Review

For the past few years I have had a growing fascination with the transgender community. Not in a weird, creepy, voyeuristic way but more in a sympathetic, can’t even begin to imagine how it must feel to be trapped in the wrong body way. I think people who openly identify with a gender that conflicts with the one that they are born into are so very brave. I find the whole subject rather heartbreaking.

Equally, I am a huge fan of Young Adult literature because writers of this genre are tackling subjects way beyond subjects that I read about in my teens. Never has there been more literature that opens up the world to diversity and the fact that it is targeted at future adults gives me hope for a more (and I hate this word but I can’t think of a better one) tolerant society.

The Art of Being Normal is a book about the LGBTQIA community, friendship and is also a coming of age tale of self discovery and acceptance. It centres on the friendship between David and Leo: two outsiders that form an unlikely friendship. They meet in high school and whilst David is battling with his gender identity, Leo is struggling with being the new kid and dealing with a bad reputation that has followed him to his new school.

I don’t want to say anything more about this book. I just want to give you the bare bones because it is rather wonderful and you should be allowed to discover it yourselves. What I will say is that Williamson deals with the topic of identity in a sensitive but honest way. She isn’t patronising or clichéd nor does she treat the subject as a novelty. Her writing is warm and rich and she has created a story that is rich and intoxicating from the very first page.

The Art of Being Normal was a pleasure to read.

The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson is available now.

For more information regarding Lisa Williamson (@lisa_letters) please visit

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