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The Art of Being Normal

A Novel

This book can be downloaded and read in iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.


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 his class 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 , and soon everyone knows that Leo used to be a girl.
As David prepares to come out to his family and transition into life as a girl and Leo wrestles with figuring out how to deal with people who try to define him through his history, they find in each other the friendship and support they need to navigate life as transgender teens as well as the courage to decide for themselves what normal really means.

From Publishers Weekly

Feb 15, 2016 – "I am fourteen and time is running out." David is getting taller, and everything that marks the teen as biologically male is growing. Despite having researched gender transitioning, it doesn't seem possible, and while David's two best friends know, parents are another matter. Meanwhile, working-class Leo transfers to David's very middle-class school; when Leo punches the bully who's tormenting David, they become unlikely (and, for Leo, reluctant) friends. The book alternates between Leo and David's viewpoints, but readers don't find out what they have in common until Leo's burgeoning romance gets derailed. For loner Leo, David is a chance to have a real friend; for David, Leo's an example of what's possible if you can speak your truth. Debut author Williamson does a good job of depicting British class realities and David and Leo's struggles with family, bullying, friendship, and bravery. While the book doesn't sugarcoat the difficulty of being a trans teen, it offers hope and the sense that even if you can't get everything you want, you can get what you need. Ages 14 up.

Customer Reviews


I read this last year and this book is definitely the best book I've ever read. This book does pretty much everything right. Compelling story, good characters, and it doesn't take 2 pages to describe one thing. I highly recommend this book. Reading this has been the best experience I think you can ever get with a book.

Wow just... wow!

This book was great, it explained transgender better than any description I have ever read. It's really empowering and cute. You'll be feeling secondhand embarrassment and anger throughout the book. I recommend this to anyone but people questioning and parents of trans people souls read this for more insight and a good story. <3

Maybe think twice about this book

I would advise against picking up this book, as trans readers have said it is transphobic. It tries to tackle transphobia but still includes misconceptions and is offensive to some. I'd recommend Meredith Russo's If I Was Your Girl instead, that one is written by a trans author and so is a lot more genuine and not stereotypical or offensive.

The Art of Being Normal
View in iTunes
  • $7.99
  • Level: Grades 9-13
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Fiction
  • Published: May 31, 2016
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
  • Seller: Macmillan
  • Print Length: 288 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.5 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

Customer Ratings