By: Biffy James
Genre: YFB - General fiction (Children's / Teenage)
Published by: Hardie Grant Children's Publishing
Published: 6 Jul 2022
ISBN: 9781760508746


Love has rules. So does grief. And Stella Wilde’s about to break them all.

Stella Wilde is secretly in love with the hottest guy in school, Isaac Calder. He seems to love her back, but there’s a problem – he already has a girlfriend, the gorgeous Grace Reyes. 

When Isaac is killed in a car accident, the entire school is turned upside down with grief. And while Grace can mourn publicly, Stella has to hide her feelings to stop people from finding out about her and Isaac being more than friends.  

But how long can Stella keep lying – to herself and everyone else? And when the truth finally comes out, how will it affect her newfound friendship with Grace?

Shortlisted for the Ampersand Prize, Completely Normal (and other lies) is a gripping contemporary YA novel that’s as witty and sarcastic as it is tender and moving. With its insightful explorations of love, grief, mental health and friendship, it’s perfect for fans of John Green, Krystal Sutherland and Sally Rooney.

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Our main protagonist is sixteen-year-old Stella Wilde. Stella’s father has moved to Hong Kong with his new pregnant wife, leaving Stella behind. Her Mum insists that she needs therapy, although Stella doesn’t think so.

She has a toxic friendship group that she knows are not really her friends. But Stella’s life takes a turn for the better when, upon walking out of therapy, she bumps into the hottest guy in school, Isaac Calder.

They walk together to the train station and this becomes a weekly ritual. The problem is Isaac is in a two year relationship with the incredible Grace Reyes.

Their relationship escalates to texting and they develop a real connection, which culminates in kissing on the night that Isaac dies in a car accident.

With nobody knowing about her relationship with Isaac, Stella can’t show grief or expect comfort. And her situation only becomes more complicated when she becomes friends with Grace...

This is a terrific novel about love, grief, mental health, the diversity of family lives and friendships, that will be best suited to readers aged 15 and above.

Reviewed by Rob