Tag Archives: Heartwarming

The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson


I have so many to catch up on!





Two boys. Two secrets. David Piper has always been an outsider. His parents think he’s gay. The school bully thinks he’s a freak. Only his two best friends know the real truth – David wants to be a girl. On the first day at his new school Leo Denton has one goal – to be invisible. Attracting the attention of the most beautiful girl in year 11 is definitely not part of that plan. When Leo stands up for David in a fight, an unlikely friendship forms. But things are about to get messy. Because at Eden Park School secrets have a funny habit of not staying secret for long …


This book made me cry so much.

As the blurb states, its about two boys with two big secrets.

David Piper has always known he was different. People at school call him a freak, his parents think he’s gay and his only two best friends know the truth. David longs to be a girl. He was born in the wrong body but he doesn’t know how to tell his parents this because how do you tell your parents that you want to be a girl?

Then a new boy comes into school; Leo Denton. He’s quiet and moody and would most probably beat you if you said anything to him. He wants to be invisible and just get on with school or what’s left of it and not get into trouble. But when Leo sees David being picked on, he sticks up for him and they form an unlikely friendship.

Because of that, Leo attracts the attention of the popular girl Alicia, something he didn’t want to do. Especially as he falls for her pretty fast and the pair are making out at every opportunity. But Leo has a secret himself, one that he doesn’t want to get out but lets face it, with enemies at school, its bound too.

Through all the secrets and truths that are revealed, one thing is certain. The unlikely friendship between Leo and David grows stronger and they help each other out in a lot of ways…


Not the greatest summary I know, but I really don’t want to give anything away regarding Leo’s secret. If I’m being honest I had a little inkling as to what it was but when he has his flashbacks, I suspected something different.

This is the first transgender book I’ve ever read and it will probably be the last. I don’t mean that horribly I just mean that the book was so good and so heartwarming and heart breaking at times that it’s ruined me for other transgender books (I probably will read other books on this subject though!)

Lisa Williamson has written two characters that you can really get involved with. From the first page I was caught in David and his desperate need to become a girl. I felt for him. He was alone in this, despite having told is two best friends, but no one else understood him. No one else can understand the longing to be something that your not. He was a character to really lose your emotions too.

Then there’s Leo. As I mentioned I had an inkling as to what his secret was before it was revealed, but damn he broke my heart too. Like David he was alone on everything too and had a lot more secrets than David. When they go to find Leo’s real dad and the scenes that followed, god I was in tears! I just can’t believe how cruel some parents can be. I’m glad he had David there, or Kate, as he called himself that weekend.

When everything comes out about Leo, I was heartbroken. Especially with how everyone treated him. I wanted to punch every single one of them who said the horrible things. I don’t understand how people can’t understand things and have to be horrible to others just because they are different.

As I said I got involved with this book!

I’m not transgender so I can’t imagine how bad it must be to be trapped in a body that you shouldn’t have but Lisa managed to convey it perfectly.

Everything was beautiful and heartbreaking at the same time and I don’t think I can convey how much you need to read this book. Yeah my review isn’t doing it much justice I know, but honestly its such an amazing book. One of my best reads of 2016! (yes I’m way behind on reviews!)

A definite must read

And a thank you to Adam who brought this book for me for my birthday.

5 out of 5 stars


The Year of The Rat by Clare Furniss book review




To Pearl, there’s nothing sweet about her premature half-sister, Rose. It was Rose that causes her mother’s death and Rose that turned her world upside down.

To Pearl, Rose is The Rat.

Achingly sad, yet refreshingly real, The Year of The Rat will make you laugh, cry and hold your loved ones a little bit tighter.

This book follows Pearl. A sixteen year old girl who has just lost her mother. And it was her new baby sister that caused it.

Pearl can barely even look at Rose, The Rat, as she calls her. To Pearl, The Rat has changed everything. She was the reason her mum died and the reason why her life is being turned upside down.

Her non-biological dad (whose raised her since a baby so to her he is her proper dad… and that NOT A SPOILER because you learn it in the first few pages) is putting all of his time into The Rat and it soon becomes clear to Pearl… he loves The Rat more than her because she’s his biological daughter.

Then there’s her best friend, Molly, whose friendship she’s slowly losing and then theres Granny whose come from Scotland to help with The Rat and who always hated her mother…

Through all the heartache and pain there is one small shining light, her elderly next door Neighbour Dulcie and her handsome grandson, Finn.

Oh and there’s always the fact that her mother’s ghost is coming to visit her…

Can Pearl ever forgive her sister for what she caused?

Oh holy tear ducts this book made me weep! From start to finish. Could just be the fact that I’m an emotional person anyway but nope… it was seriously that heartbreaking and heartwarming.

Pearl is losing everything. Her mum has gone, her dad is spending all of his time with The Rat and her best friend Molly would rather spend time with her new boyfriend, Ravi, than with her. Life is prettt lonely. But Pearl seems to like it that way. She likes the solitude and being alone means more time for her mum’s ghost to come ans visit her.
Pearl is lost. And throughout the book you could sense the depression that was creeping up on her. She saw things differently. Perceptions were different. She’s isolated herself from the people who care about her and she has managed to convince herself that they no longer care for her. Its heartbreaking. She hates Rose. She can’t understand why everyone is cooing over her. She killed her mother! I could see why she hated her, it would be hard to bond with someone who potentially killed your mother but it wasn’t really her fault. You could see why she blamed her though.
Her feelings towards her dad is different too. She manages to convince herself that he pushed her mum into having this baby and so she blames him too. She thinks that he wanted one who was biologically his. But she can’t see how much her dad is hurting and how much her dad loves her.

And the moment when it all comes to a head is just… oh I couldn’t see for tears.

The scenes with her mum was heartbreaking. She managed to learn the truth from her and the flashbacks that gets shown with the hospital and how she got there too late…. and when she eventually tells her best friend Molly the truth… tears again!

Finn and Dulcie were the one’s who kind of made her feel again. Dulcie was the voice of reason and Finn made her feel happy, even though she didn’t want to be.

The drinking moment was a pinnacle point because you could see that she didn’t care anymore. 

This book was brilliant from start to finish. I cried tears of sadness and tears of happiness. There wasn’t really a dry eyed moment with me.

For a first book Clare Furniss really nailed it the rawness and the heartbreak she conveyed on the page felt real. Its a topic that some people go through and it was a good one to choose for a first book.

I loved it. It definitely made me re-evalute my life. To hold on to those close to you because you never know what could happen.

5 out of 5 stars.

Oh and in the author biog it said Clare worked for the homelessness charity Shelter. I work for them too and its a brilliant charity to work for and a great cause.