- “What happened to you is not your fault.
- You are not stuck in a never-ending cycle of pain.
- It is not your job to protect your abuser from the consequences.
- There are Bodees [good guys and girls] in the world.
- Grieve your losses, but remember this moment does not define you.
- Write it down.”
This is the list of truths that Courtney C. Stevens includes at the end of her debut novel about rape and sexual abuse, Faking Normal. These truths are so important for victims of abuse to learn and they can lead to healing.
In Faking Normal, Alexi Littrell struggles to heal after she is raped. She hides in her closet and scratches the back of her neck and counts the holes in the vent on her ceiling. She is silent about what happened to her, suppressing some of the memories and refusing to speak about what she does remember. But when Bodee Lennox comes to stay with her family after his mother is killed by his father, they help each other cope and share their secrets and try to find healing together.
Faking Normal is an important book that encourages girls to speak up and assures them that they have a right to say “no.” Alexi’s story is heartbreaking, but hopeful. Bodee’s is equally inspiring, and I just loved him as a character and wanted to be his friend. Most of all, I really loved this book because it showed that you can still find healing after abuse no matter how hard it seems, something I try to show in my own writing.