Title: Define "Normal"
Author: Julie Anne Peters
Release Date: May 7th 2003 (first published April 2000)
Published By: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Page Amount: 196 pages, Paperback
Antonia is eager to participate in the new peer counseling program at school—until she learns the person she's supposed to counsel is Jasmine Luther. "Jazz" is anything but Antonia's peer. She's a punker, a druggie, a gang hanger. As their peer counseling sessions progress, Antonia and Jazz discover they have more in common than they could ever have imagined. Can a "normal" person like Antonia trust a psycho freaky whacked-out punker like Jazz? Does she dare?
My Semi-Quick Review:
I read this book in my 8th grade English class. That was about ten years ago now so the details have blurred for me. Therefore, this review may actually be quick.
Even though I don't remember many details, this book has stuck with me since I read it in 8th grade. The message of the book, that is. Which, to me, was that there is no such thing as "normal". Just because someone is different from you doesn't mean that they are not normal. Another message to me was that most everyone can be helped if they need it; they just have to try.
However, the main message to me was this "normal" business. What is normal? Like the book says, define "normal". Go ahead, define it for me right now. Give it a go in the comments if you like. For people there is no one normal. Do you know what I mean? This is something that I myself have also had to deal with but in a different way than the characters in this book. Coming to terms with the fact that there is not one "normal" was something I had to do a bit earlier in life than most people. I think it is important that we realize this and be accepting of one another. In this day and age, you would think that we would be. But there is still racism and sexism and discrimination in the world. This stuff doesn't just go on in schools. It is all over the "real world" as well. It's all over the news. Just look around. And listen to the things that are being said.
I know that this is a middle grade book, but in my opinion many people of all ages need to read this. Just maybe, then they will realize that there is no definition of "normal". 4 stars.
<3 Amanda Leigh