Normal/Okay (Danielle Pearl)

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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.

This series was a debut from Danielle Pearl and these books hit so hard at home with me. I read these two books almost a year ago. These books meant so much to me that I personally felt the need to actually reach out to this author and let her know how brave and how beautiful this story was and how much my heart was touched. Danielle didn’t sugar coat this story. In fact, there is not a single part that makes abuse look pretty. And thats why I loved it so damn much. In fact, I did not sleep until I read all of this book. Then went on to the next as soon as it released.

“My outfit was chosen with care for one single purpose. Not to be in, not to fit in, or to impress the in crowd. I don’t want to be “in” anything except invisible. And it appears that I am.”

Abuse isn’t pretty. The person that you turn into after going through events so traumatic is not pretty. And I can say that first hand, I have been through it. That’s why Rory was a very special character to me. Danielle made sure that she made Rory at her lowest and at her highest. The struggle is real and hard when you come out of situations that turn your whole world upside down. It’s not a subject that can so easily be put into words. It’s not easy to let people know how you feel and how you have dramatically changed during a short period of time. Other people don’t even realize why you are so jumpy or why you ask for permission. And although cliche, in situations like this 99% another boy can turn your whole world upside down and right all of the wrong you have ever experienced. All Rory wants to feel is NORMAL. And all Sam wants to do is make her feel more.

“The marks on my skin tell a different story, and though they’ve faded a bit since Friday, they still still speak volumes”

I get tired of reading about the same ole haunted and damaged pasts of girls who need that strong alpha male in her life to rebuild all she has ever known but JESUS CHRIST it worked out so freaking well in this story. Matter of fact, I have read a lot of books but I have NEVER connected with a single character so well.

“He is a walking trigger for me. Gorgeous. My God is he gorgeous. And gorgeous guys in high school are assholes. Especially jocks. And judging by his physique, that’s exactly what he is. He’s tall. Built. Six plus feet of lean muscle… athletic. Something I’d have found incredibly attractive a year ago. Now all I can think is how easy it would be for him to overpower me”

The flashbacks in this book are heartbreaking…unnerving. Having been in the same situation as Rory I feel so much for her. She continues to see herself as someone who is broken but as the reader, you can only see her as a true survivor and a girl of fierce determination.

“But I know from experience that some wounds, they’re permanent-that even if they heal, they scar so profoundly that you are never, ever okay again.”

Basically this book gutted me and then picked my pieces back up and then HELLO! CLIFFHANGER!! But don’t worry because the series is complete and you should just go ahead and dive right in!

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