Title: Define Normal
Author: Julie Anne Peters
Owned by CCLS? Yes.
The ultimate tale of "appearances can be deceiving," so "don't judge a book by its cover."
Antonia and Jazz, who appear to be complete opposites, are paired up by the school counselor Dr. Dileo as peer counselors. Antonia is an A student who dresses, well, like an A student. Her style is nondescript and simple. On the other hand, Jazz is a rebel rouser. She has piercings, tattoos, wears leather jackets, black lipstick and her hair changes color like the weather. Jazz is the epitome of punk rock and Antonia is more of a, well, nerd. Antonia seems like she's the stable one of the group and even thinks she's there just to try and help the mess that is Jazz, but perhaps two people who appear to be so different can not only help each other, but may also have similar problems.
M's Verdict: I love Julie Anne Peters! If you've never read any of her books, you don't know what you're missing! I highly recommend starting with Luna or Between Mom and Jo.
Who can't relate to being judged based solely on your appearance? What you look like is one of the first things someone notices the first time you meet, that's why people dress up for interviews; to make a good impression. Even though the setting is a middle school, as I read, I definitely pictured that the characters were in high school. It's a story for all ages and at 196 pages, this is the perfect quick read.
Although I loved the believable characters, the great plot, and the drama, there was one thing that just didn't gel. As Antonia and Jazz go through the peer counseling process and begin to learn a few things abut one another, the reader quickly learns that Antonia's mother is suffering from debilitating depression. The depression is so bad that Antonia is essentially running the house and caring for herself and her two younger brothers. Without spoiling the ending, let me just say that I feel that the way that Antonia's story wraps up is just a bit too tidy for me. I'll leave you with this, read it and see what you think...