Book Review: The Unattainable Dream of Normal by Katie Kaleski

Overall Rating: 4/5

One Sentence Sum-Up: At summer camp, a guy with Tourette’s Syndrome meets a girl who had an eating disorder, and they fall in love.

Plot and Style: I loved that this story was filled with real-life problems. The writing style, though simple, felt authentic and down to earth, like a conversation with normal people. Nothing flowy or “over-prosy.” The author made me laugh countless times with her witty humor and all the way she wasn’t afraid to use bathroom jokes about puking and farting and stinky things, which other authors usually steer away from.

Characters: I liked the alternating points of view, which helped delve fully into the characters’ thoughts and why they behaved the way they did. That both Bay and Tabitha had real issues was also interesting and fresh. They were far from perfect, and that made the story very different from YA romance novels, which are often derivative and full of fluff. I thought it was very informative in the detail explaining the characters’ disorders, and it’s meant to have readers thinking more and discussing the hardships people with these disorders often face in society.

Other Thoughts: Educational and insightful, the author was able to build a heartfelt story around two societal outcasts, who are even misunderstood by their own family. It really makes me think, as I too have a brother with autism, how sometimes I’m not as sympathetic as I should be to him.

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