Quick review for a quick, wonderful read. Man, this novella makes me wish I’d been able to see more of Bodee’s life and perspective in “Faking Normal”, because this was a great, brief view. Courtney C. Stevens makes this narrative pop with tight writing and an intimacy that made the story and interactions work for what it offered. I loved his character, even through the brief interactions we see him with Gerry, a girl who gets off a bus and encounters Bodee as he contemplates leaving at the station. The two of them take a trip together and share insights on their lives and relationships here, knowing they’re not going to see each other again – but they share common ground.

I loved Gerry’s personality and thought it was a nice match to Bodee’s calmer, quiet one. Gerry laments losing her girlfriend and confesses to taking a trip of escape of her own, while Bodee confesses to the abuse that he and his mother suffer from his father. They each have secrets, but they’re expanded upon in some measure with a refreshing degree of honesty, albeit brief. This also shows how Bodee becomes the “Kool-Aid” kid as Gerry – with some degrees of hilarity – dyes his hair Berry Blue (“I look like a Smurf.”) 😄

This kind of slice of life portrait – with attention to tough details and character interaction – and intimacy is the kind of thing I love reading in YA contemporaries, and I would name it as one of my favorite novellas/short stories in the vein.

Overall: 5/5 stars

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