A heartwarming and heartbreaking story of first love, family and autism.
So, today is my stop on the Differently Normal Blog Tour which I’ve been very excited for, especially since finishing this book as I really did love it so want to shout out about it!
Differently Normal is a dual narrative YA book from the perspectives of Maddy and Albert (Al-bear), and it tells of their different home lives and how their worlds collide in a beautiful love story. However, as the suggestion that it’s for fans of John Green and Jennifer Niven suggests, this book will break your heart and throughout you’re just waiting for something to fall apart, but you don’t quite know how! I did not expect the ending at all, even when I was nearly finished with the book!
One key aspect, and one that makes me wonder whether Tammy is writing from experience, is that of Maddy’s sister Bee’s autism, epilepsy and learning difficulties. Bee is such a loveable little girl, although her condition makes her demanding to look after – she’s got such complex needs, and, if it wasn’t for the fact that I know people with these conditions, I wouldn’t have realised just how connected the conditions are. In addition, Maddy is such a selfless character that she’s highly admirable and one who you want to aspire to be like; her love for her sister shines through and that sisterly bond she shares with Bee is an important part of the story.
I loved the story of how Maddy and Albert meet and become closer – it’s really cute, not without its difficulties, and it isn’t a case of instalove which was very refreshing! The two of them are so different yet so similar which made their relationship very believable and the timeline of the story seemed to fly by.
Overall, I would highly recommend this book for people who love a good contemporary YA book that’ll drag you into the world of the characters and who really jump off the page. I found that I was wanting to get back to reading as often as possible just to be with Maddy and Albert and find out what happened next!