Barnes and Noble
Rating: 5/5 Stars
Synopsis:Connell Waldron is one of the most popular boys in his small-town high school–he is a star of the football team and an excellent student, and he is never wanting for attention from girls. The one thing he doesn’t have is money. Marianne Sheridan, a classmate of Connell’s, has the opposite problem. Marianne is plain-looking, odd, and stubborn, and while her family is quite well off, she has no friends to speak of. There is, however, a deep and undeniable connection between the two teenagers, one that develops into a secret relationship.
Everything changes when both Connell and Marianne are accepted to Trinity College. Suddenly Marianne is well liked and elegant, holding court with her intellectual friends, while Connell hangs at the sidelines, not quite as fluent in the language of the elite. Throughout their years at university, Marianne and Connell circle each other, falling in and out of romance but never straying far from where they started. And as Marianne experiments with an increasingly dangerous string of boyfriends, Connell must decide how far he is willing to go to save his oldest friend.
Sally Rooney brings her brilliant psychological acuity and perfectly spare prose to a novel that explores the subtleties of class, the electricity of first love, and the inescapable challenges of family and friendships. Normal People is a book that you will read in one sitting, and then immediately jump up to share with your friends.
Review: It has been just about a week since I read this book and I am realizing that this may be the hardest review I have ever had to write. With everything in the world in shambles currently, I was struggling to read my typical fantasy. I found myself too distracted and not able to pay attention enough to learn a new complex world. I had placed an ebook hold with my library for Normal People back when the show was first announced, and if I am being honest, I completely forgot about it. I woke up one Tuesday morning and found this book waiting for me. I read the first page, fully expecting to get distracted and put it down like all the rest of the books I have been reading recently. Boy was I wrong.
Normal People hooked me from the very first pages. I was instantly in love with these two damaged main characters and within the first few pages I found myself obsessed with their relationship and pulling for them. This book grabbed me by the throat and wouldn’t let go until I had seen it through. I devoured Connell and Marianne’s story in one sitting.
In this story you are thrust into these characters lives as they establish this “casual hookup” relationship in high school. We then continue to follow Connell and Marianne through many years of their lives and seeing them come together and fall apart time and time again. At the core this is a beautiful look into our young adult lives and how our lives intertwine and change. It is a look at how people come in and out of our lives and the affect that has on the bigger picture of our life. There is such a realistic look at flawed characters that feel so real. They make bad decisions, but they are all a part of learning and growing.
The only real way I can describe my feelings after reading this books is that my heart was ripped from my chest in the most beautiful way possible. This book got under my skin and made me feel such strong emotions. I cried real tears more than once. It is one that will sit with me for the rest of my life.
All of this being said, I DO NOT think that this book will be for everyone. The passion I have for absolutely loving this book, I could absolutely justify someone hating it with just as much passion. The tone in this book is not going to work for everyone, and the ending is definitely for a very specific audience. My advice is to give it a shot and see where you fall. It is a relatively short read, however it is a very heavy read. If you have read this book I would LOVE to know your thoughts and chat about it in the comments or over on my Instagram.