Twelve Steps to Normal Review

Synopsis from Little, Brown, and Company:

James Patterson presents this emotionally resonant novel that shows that while some broken things can’t be put back exactly the way they were, they can be repaired and made even stronger.

Kira’s Twelve Steps To A Normal Life

1. Accept Grams is gone.

2. Learn to forgive Dad.

3. Steal back ex-boyfriend from best friend…

And somewhere between 1 and 12, realize that when your parent’s an alcoholic, there’s no such thing as “normal.”

When Kira’s father enters rehab, she’s forced to leave everything behind–her home, her best friends, her boyfriend…everything she loves. Now her father’s sober (again) and Kira is returning home, determined to get her life back to normal…exactly as it was before she was sent away.

But is that what Kira really wants?

Life, love, and loss come crashing together in this visceral, heartfelt story by BuzzFeed writer Farrah Penn about a girl who struggles to piece together the shards of her once-normal life before his alcoholism tore it apart.

About: Twelve Steps to Normal is a young adult fiction written by Farrah Penn. It was recently published on 3/13/18 by Jimmy Patterson Books, an imprint of Little, Brown, and Company, hardcover, 384 pages. The genres are young adult, fiction, and social themes. This book is intended for readers ages 13 and up, grades 8 to 17. This book is the author’s debut. According to the publisher’s website, “Little, Brown and Company was founded in 1837 and for close to two centuries has published fiction and nonfiction by many of America’s finest writers. Early lists featured Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, Emily Dickinson‘s poetry, and Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations, all of which are still available today.” Please see below for more information about the author and publisher.

My Experience: I started reading Twelve Steps to Normal on 6/3/18 and finished it on 6/13/18. This book is a great read! I love Kira and Alex’s math humor (teacher would make a mean pi) and Kira and her dad’s word play (we don’t have to taco ’bout it). The humor pull more than a few smiles out of me. I like the diversity in this book, not just the characters’ backgrounds but also their achievements, extracurricular activities, flaws, and talents. I like Breck’s character and humor. I like those pineapples too! I like the candy debate, pretty cute. I like Alex and how family oriented he is. Kira is not my favorite character in the beginning, but like Nonnie says, we all are just humans and humans can be selfish and humans do make mistakes.

This book is told in the first person point of view following Kira Seneca as she makes her way home to her dad in Texas from her aunt June in Portland. Her dad is being released from rehab for alcohol and is ready for Kira, a junior in high school, to come back to live with him. Kira is hesitant because she remembers how alcohol put a wedge in her life with her father. When Kira arrives at the house, she was not expecting to share her home with other recoverees that her dad met at rehab. On top of being uncomfortable in her home, she’s now uncomfortable being around her friends at school because one of her best friends is now dating her ex-boyfriend whom she still has feelings for. Kira thinks about how her dad uses the 12 steps program from his AA meetings to quit drinking and getting his life back on track that she decides to create her own 12 steps to getting her life back to normal. Kira soon realizes how easy it is to write down goals than to take the steps to achieving those goals, especially when she still has to recover a loss that rocked her and her dad’s lives.

A well written book, Twelve Steps to Normal is a fast paced read filled with teenage angst. It’s tough being in high school, especially for Lin Pham, a member of the Decathlon team aiming to win state and Raegan, a President of Leadership Council who couldn’t attend her friend’s house party because she couldn’t afford to tarnish her reputation. Most of all, it’s Kira who’s struggling with the abnormal living situation at home and deciding who her heart really wants to fall for meanwhile on the edge of failing math. Even with her 12 steps to normal, she’s still not sure if that’s what she truly wants. This book could be easily relatable to many readers and I highly recommend everyone to read it soon!

Pro: fast paced, page turner, easy to read, diversity, humor, family, friendship, forgiveness, realistic, relatable, some romance

Con: none

I rate it 5 stars!

Buy it here for free shipping: Book Depository or Little, Brown, and Company

About the Author:

Farrah Penn was born and raised in a suburb in Texas that’s far from the big city, but close enough to Whataburger. She now resides in Los Angeles, CA, with her gremlin dog and succulents. When she’s not writing books, she can be found writing things for BuzzFeed and sending texts that contain too many emojis. Twelve Steps to Normal is her first novel. (Photo and Info obtained from Little, Brown, and Company’s website).

More Information about Jimmy Patterson Books

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***Disclaimer: I won this book from a giveaway hosted by the author via Twitter. Many thanks to the author, Farrah Penn for the opportunity to read and review. Please be assured that my opinions are honest. (I’m Super Happy to Win the book with so many Goodies!)


10 thoughts on “Twelve Steps to Normal Review

  1. Jess Stranger says:

    I know this was a piece of the story, but I am not familiar on a personal level with any 12 step program. Nonetheless, since I’ve started covering a Hollywood performance that is centered around the narrative of someone going through a 12 step program, I’ve suddenly met a lot of people who say it has absolutely changed their life and outlook on it. I knew it was effective but I always thought of it as some kind of detached cultural thing for “broken” people (thats just how I think movies and pop culture conveys it, which is my only source of familiarity with it until I’ve met people who are changed from 12 step programs). To see that it is incorporated in young adult books for people who experience the burden of addiction, not by having the addiction themselves but living with it directly and indirectly as a relative to someone who has addiction, is an interesting storyline. Maybe it’s worth digging into for my better understanding .

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jasmine says:

      I do think the 12 steps should be for everyone and not just for recoverees. One of the 12 steps shared in this book is the SS: Small Success. I love the idea of celebrating small successes. We have to have small success before big success comes along.. it’s hard aiming for big success immediately because success doesn’t come easily, such as obtaining a bachelor’s degree or a doctorate degree. It takes time and hard work and years to obtain. If we can celebrate each A we get, it’s the best motivation to plow on 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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