lgbtqia content · young adult

REVIEW: We Are Totally Normal by Rahul Kanakia

The Official Description: Nandan’s got a plan to make his junior year perfect. He’s going to make sure all the parties are chill, he’s going to smooth things over with his ex, and he’s going to help his friend Dave get into the popular crowd—whether Dave wants to or not. The high school social scene might be complicated, but Nandan is sure he’s cracked the code.

Then, one night after a party, Dave and Nandan hook up, which was not part of the plan—especially because Nandan has never been into guys. Still, Dave’s cool, and Nandan’s willing to give it a shot, even if that means everyone starts to see him differently.

But while Dave takes to their new relationship with ease, Nandan’s completely out of his depth. And the more his anxiety grows about what his sexuality means for himself, his friends, and his social life, the more he wonders whether he can just take it all back. But is breaking up with the only person who’s ever really gotten him worth feeling “normal” again?

From Rahul Kanakia comes a raw and deeply felt story about rejecting labels, seeking connection, and finding yourself.

My thoughts bit: This is an interesting book! I’m not sure that “I liked it”, is the right description because there were times when the main character made me really angry! But! Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think that means this is a bad book at all! I love when books get me riled up! The main character, Nandan is a really interesting dude. His character reads as super authentic to me! I remember being that age and not knowing what I thought about things from one moment to the next… which is also why he made me angry.

This book is about figuring out who you are, sure, but Nandan has a frustrating way of moving through life. He’s struggling with some of his feelings, resistant to labeling himself and then gets swept up in it before he’s really been able to figure out what the hell is going on! I really felt for the guy, while at the same time finding myself frustrated because he seemed to be drawing other people into his confusion. Now, that’s what life is about. Life isn’t all cut and dried. Life can be damned messy sometimes, and we don’t always make the right decisions. When we are young, it can be really easy to get caught up in things and race ahead of ourselves.

I loved this book even if there were parts of what the character went through that I didn’t “like”. I would recommend this to anyone who reads YA… especially young humans who may be questioning their own wants, needs, desires… or anything else for that matter. There are no wrong choices. There are just choices.

OH! and what a great cover!

The warnings bit: Please be aware, I’m by no means an expert on what may or may not have the potential to disturb people. I simply list things that I think a reader might want to be aware of. In this book: healthy sexual exploration, lots of drinking, outing (unintentional without malice).

Readalikes: Other stories that are similar or give the same feel

I received an ARC of We Are Totally Normal by Rahul Kanakia from Harper Teen via NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review.

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