“I was invincible. I had goals and dreams, and I was damn close to getting them. Until I wasn’t.”
“I used to be that girl. You know the one. I had it all. Until I didn’t.”
I received an eARC copy of this book from SOURCEBOOKS Fire on NetGalley, and I am so extremely thankful to them. This was one of the best books I’ve read in awhile. have you ever had those times when you read a really, really good book, and then can’t quite seem to find one as good, so you fall into a sort of slump? That’s what happened for me after reading Where the Road Takes Me. I read two other books after that one, however they weren’t what I was hoping. Then, I got approved for Some Kind of Normal by Juliana Stone, and the slump ended.
This book was both heartbreaking-and a massive blow to my feels-but also sweet and up-lifting. It’s told from dual POVs; Trevor is a musician recovering from a traumatic brain injury, and Everly is the pastor’s daughter who has been carrying a dark secret for dar too long. The two are complete opposites, but are forced together when Everly is hired at Trevor’s tutor for the summer. This story isn’t just about the romance though, and that’s one thing I really liked about it. It explores much deeper issues, such as coming out as gay to a southern community, and dealing with a life-changing brain injury. The romance, or rather connection, between Trevor and Everly is what gets them through these struggles. This used to annoy me, since I was a firm believer that you are the only person who can heal yourself. However, recently, I’ve been more open minded, and have begun to accept that the love of another person can have incredible healing power.
Trevor is the kind of character that comes off very brash, and initially you don’t want to like him. However, you soon begin to understand where his anger is coming from, and empathize with him. I felt his frustration, and couldn’t imagine the pain of what he was going through. Trevor was in a coma for several months after his friend drunkenly drove them into a telephone pole. As a result, he had some brain damage, and struggled with his words. Juliana Stone did a very good job of writing in a way that made it obvious he still knew how to talk, and was intelligent, yet clearly his brain was slightly scrambled. That was initially one of the reasons he didn’t get along with Everly; she was an extremely intelligent girl, and sometimes he couldn’t form a coherent sentence, and as a result he worried she would write him off as a dumb, brain damaged jock. The biggest struggle for him, however, is losing the ability to do the one thing he does best, and that’s play his guitar. He was in a band with several of his friends, which fell apart as quickly as his dream to move to New York after the accident. Everly is the preacher’s daughter, and as a result the guys in her town put her on a pedestal (you know the stereotype) while at the same time constantly trying to get with her. She is also harboring a dark secret: her perfect father, a beloved pastor, is having an affair. Her mother seems suspicious, and at one point tries to kill herself. Trevor is the one Everly finally confides in, and his tutoring sessions become a time when she can run away from the problems at home. Slowly, they bring each other out of their shells.
I really loved the characters in this story. Trevor and Everly had a depth to them that is sometimes hard to reach in a YA novel. They each had solidly written friends, Hailey and Link, which is a rarity. Even the “bad guy” in the story, Everly’s father, redeems himself at the end. His relationship with Everly is clearly on the mend by the end of the book, which was something I appreciated. This was a story that had good, solid closure for each character, which relieved me because all too often that doesn’t happen.
I really, really loved this story, and definitely give it a 5/5. I recommend it for someone looking for a romance that also has a deeper story line. It’s a story that shows we need to begin looking past the outward appearance of someone. Everyone has their secrets and burdens, no one’s life is perfect, and this book perfectly captures that.
I give the cover a 5/5, especially since it’s what first drew me into the book. The bottom is a vortex of colors that artfully draws your attention to Trevor and Hailey. I like how they have them positioned, and the font of the title is perfect. Definitely one of my favorite covers.