February 28, 2017

Is Normal all that Great Anyway? | Fifteen Seconds of Normal by Alex Marestaing

Fifteen Seconds of Normal
By Alex Marestaing
Published on October 11, 2016
Fifteen Seconds of Normal
294 Pages
Young Adult, Diverse

This book was provided to me from YA Bound Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. I swear on my bookshelf that this has not affected my opinion of the book.

Step 1: Transfer High Schools. Step 2: Hide your Tourette’s. Step 3: Find your fifteen seconds of normal. 
Kaeya Garay has a plan. And it seems to be working. But when a curious interruption named Thatcher Kelly stumbles upon her “safe” place in the school’s abandoned art gallery, her grand plans for normalcy are suddenly derailed. 
Set over the course of three weeks, Fifteen Seconds of Normal is the quirky saga of a literature obsessed teen on the edge of a meltdown and the hope driven heroine who begins to pull him back.

In case you haven't noticed, normal is pretty overrated nowadays. All the cool people are hipsters who break the mold and those who are brave enough to go outside of society's expectations. But, my heart still went out to Kaeya and Thatcher as they strived for their own version of normal.

Their journeys to "normal" have two different origins. Kaeya has Tourette's syndrome, which causes her to have involuntary movements and vocalizations. For the first time I have read from the perspective of a character with Tourette's, I believe that Marestaing did a fair job. I do not have experience with Tourette's in my everyday life, but to my untrained eye, the representation was good. The novel follows Kaeya's journey to make peace with who she is, regardless of the Tourette's.

On the other side of the romance, Thatcher's family is in rambles. His father has abandoned the home, leaving Thatcher to pick up the pieces for his mother and younger sister. The only thing that could bring him peace is literature, and maybe the cheerful new girl who always seems to be disappearing.

Sometimes, I was a fan of the romance, just as excited as Kaeya. But other times, it seemed too easy and stereotypical. At times, the everything was just too cheesy. I could see exactly where it was going. From the moment I saw the first page, I knew how it was going to end. There was no question of what will happen, or really when it would happen. The novel was ordinary, nothing out of the normal. There is no real thought involved while reading this book, which might not be a bad thing if you are just looking for a fluffy read.

To give a fair warning, there is a love triangle. Even though I have been known to hate all kinds of love geometry, I made an exception for this one because it was never really a triangle, more of a line with another point trying (and failing) to intersect.

From a literary nerd's point of view, Thatcher has to be my favorite character. The poor guy has the worst day of his life, which is documented on the Internet for all of the world to see. But, he uses powerful quotes and the promise of new love to dig himself out of the situation. There were times when I was screaming like a fangirl (inside my head, of course) over the quotes that Thatcher chose to spotlight. I mean, there is nothing more attractive than a boy who knows his literature, am I right?

In the end, the plot was simple and extremely predictable for any well-read romance fan. The characters strived for normalcy so much that the story started to mirror their desires. But, despite the lack of originality, the perspective on Tourette's was interesting and worth checking out.

Have you ever read a novel whose main character had Tourette's? Do you sometimes need to cleanse your mind with a fluffy, cheesy book? Would you rather have 15 seconds of normalcy or 15 seconds of fame?

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