I used to think that being ‘normal’ meant having it together, being like everybody else. But everybody has their own struggles that you don’t get to see behind the scenes and so now I think that ‘normal’ means being completely messed up but being brave enough to carry on anyway.
What message did you take away from Am I Normal Yet?
For me it drove home just how tough being a teenage girl is in a society that sends you mixed messages and impossible standards to live up to. It’s a treacherous road to navigate. I’m so happy that there is a book out there that points this out and stands up for girls providing them with feminist main characters that I hope inspire them to speak out against these messages that society sends them.
What does feminism mean to you?
Feminism to me means absolute equality between the sexes. It means busting harmful gender stereotypes that hurt both men and women. It means a movement that benefits everyone.
What other YA novels about mental health would you recommend?
Another incredible YA book I read this year about mental health was All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven. If you’re interested in reading another informative YA book about OCD in particular I’d recommend Amy and Matthew by Cammie McGovern.
And finally, what’s your go-to cheesy snack?
Wotsits. It really doesn’t get any better than Wotsits.
We’re very excited to have the brilliant Jo from Once a Upon of Bookcase join us for the second YA bloggers series feature:
What is ‘normal’? To me, there is no ‘normal’ in the sense of being ‘just like everyone else’. There are no two people who are exactly the same – not in how they look, or in who they are. Trying to fit in by being someone you’re not isn’t ‘normal’. The only way to be truly normal is to be true to yourself, to who you are – to be your own normal.
What message did you take away from Am I Normal Yet? Being honest about who you are, and not hiding away is the only way to go. Because, as Dr Seuss said, “Those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.”
Also, you don’t need to be a brain box to understand feminist ideas, and to fight for equality.
What does feminism mean to you? Equality. There are a lot of people who seem to think feminists are man-hating women who just want power for women. This isn’t the case; it’s all about equality, men and women being on an equal footing, without the sexism and double standards. It’s about women being valued just as much as men – not valued more highly than men.
What other YA novels about mental health would you recommend? There have been so many great ones I’ve read, but these are the ones that stick out.
Panther by David Owen – about living with a sister who suffers from Depression.
Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone – about a girl who has Purely Obsessional OCD, and how she finds solace in friendship and poetry.
All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven – about Finch and Violet, who meet at the top of the school tower as they both contemplate suicide.