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The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson

The Art of Being Normal

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January 2015 NewGen Debut of the Month.

This is a sensitive, often funny and thoroughly engaging story of teenagers coming to terms with who they are. It’s easy to think in these liberal times that anything goes, but teens will be quick to point out that growing up is as difficult as it’s ever been. It’s particularly hard for David, one of the two central characters in this assured debut. David has known since the age of eight that he wants to be a girl. Teased as a freak at school, he feels he can’t even tell his family. New boy Leo seems to have problems too and when the two become friends they discover they have more in common than they ever thought. This ultra-readable, highly entertaining story could also provide readers with some much needed reassurance that normal is as normal does. ~ Andrea Reece

Reader Reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Lovereading Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title.

  • Michelle Toy - 'A perfect, important, stunning beautifully written debut from Lisa Williamson highlighting that different can be the norm and tackling transgender sensitively and honestly.' Read full review >
  • Ayesha, age 17 - 'such a refreshing read, a completely original storyline, raising the awareness of transgenderism in today’s society...definitely a must-read for everyone!!' Read full review >
  • Destiny Maraj - 'was a great novel and I really enjoyed it.  It has real life issues which made it even better.' Read full review >
  • Georgina Rowe - 'A wonderful novel which practically forced me to carry on reading. The words jump off the page, bringing forth with them a brilliantly clear message of acceptance and respect.' Read full review >
  • Amelia White - 'Such an amazing book a really good book for older children and made me laugh at some of the things they do. Would recommend to my friends.' Read full review >
  • Phoebe Allan- 'one of the most brilliant books ever written...I commend Lisa Williamson on her ability to create such beautiful characters and weave such an incredible storyline. Love it! Thumbs Up!'  Read full review >


The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson

Two boys. Two secrets.

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 year 11 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...


A sensational, heart-warming and life-affirming debut. Lisa Williamson writes witty, charming characters you can't help but root for. - James Dawson

The Art of Being Normal is the best YA novel I've read this year. David and Leo are unforgettable characters whose story will break your heart - and then mend it again. A truly remarkable debut; I can't recommend it highly enough. Everyone - and I mean EVERYONE - should read this incredible book. - Cat Clarke

This book is anything but normal - it is extraordinary. My book of 2015. - Non Pratt

About the Author

Lisa Williamson

Lisa Williamson won the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize in 2016 with her debut novel, The Art of Being Normal which won the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize for Older Fiction 2016, and was shortlisted for the YA Book Prize and Branford Boase Award and was the bestselling YA hardback debut of 2015. Lisa was born and grew up in Nottingham. She studied drama at Middlesex University and since graduating has worked as an actor on stage and TV. Between acting jobs Lisa temped in offices across London, typing stories when no one was looking, one of which eventually became The Art of Being Normal. Lisa lives in east London.

Author photo © Dale Wightman

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Book Info

Publication date

1st January 2015


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