Review: Searching For Normal

Six months ago Shay Mitchell’s life changed forever. Now she’s just trying to survive school bullies, drama class, and living with her Aunt Laura above the bookstore. No one, not even her new friends, knows her real story or the reason she’s living with her aunt in the first place.

When Shay learns the truth about her biological father, she jumps at the chance to meet him. This could be her chance! Maybe she’ll finally find the normal life she’s longed for―a life where she feels loved and wanted―you know, part of a real family.

This is the second book in a series that travels alongside four friends as they deal with teen life in Riverbend, Indiana. The novel inspires girls and young women to deepen their relationships with God and solve their problems in God-honoring ways.

This book had me filled with so many different emotions that I couldn’t process them all at once. I felt everything for Shay and her situation because I can’t even imagine going through what she did at her age. 

Shay is mostly a relatable character for me, in that she’s introverted and prefers to curl up with a good book rather than going out and being around people. However, she has a few friends to pull her out of herself once in a while (I did too) and that’s a good thing, especially for her. Shay’s a bit more shy and reserved, and even wary about her friendship with Tessa, Izzy, and Amelia. After all, she’s still new to Riverbend and has a bit of a past going for her, so she tries her best to hide it, all while dealing with the still-fresh loss of her adoptive dad, the possibility of meeting her biological father, and bullies.

“And it’s not like I assumed Christians were immune to mistakes. We were all on an even playing field when it came to sin, but it was different when it was your mom.

I have to say that Shay’s a pretty strong character. I did spend a lot of time going “just tell someone!” when it came to her dealing with having bullies who were threatening to spill her secret around school, but you know that’s never what happens at first, even in real life. She even struggled with her faith a bit, not in that she turned away from God or anything, but she felt like there was a wall between her and God, which made it hard for her to pray over her situation at times. I immediately related to that because I’ve been there more than once, and I think every Christian goes through those times, so it was good to see that the author portrayed that in Shay’s character. The good thing was that Shay had a group of Christian friends to pray for her when she couldn’t herself.

I’m a little upset that the injustice of a couple parts of this book weren’t brought to, well, justice and the people basically got away with what they did, but I guess that’s also realistic to how life works. What I did like was that even though Shay’s bullies got away with a few things they did, Shay learned to stand up to them and her friends were there to back her up.

As it is with any book I loved, I have so much more to say but I don’t want to give anything away. I will say there were moments I nearly cried (which involved a dog – no worries, he didn’t die), and that alone makes me love a book because if I can feel that hard for a book then you know it’s good. I also realized after reading The Me You See that I’m reading this series a bit out of order, but oh well… it happens.

Rating: 4.75/5 stars

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