My Friends Are All Strange
by Margaret Lesh
October 18th 2016
My friends are all strange.
Right now I’m living at Brookside, a place for people like me. I’ve met a kitty girl, a brooding beautiful boy, one who can’t be touched, and others. My new friends. Strange people. People like me.
I’ve always been different, but lately, more so. My hands sometimes don’t seem to be attached to the rest of me. I cut up all of my clothes. I’m hot, so hot, all of the time. If I sleep, a wizard haunts every dream. I don’t sleep. Sometimes I want to run, but where do you run to when you’re trying to escape your own mind? I don’t know if I’ll ever be the same. I’m smart. I’m nice, sometimes. I just want to be normal(ish). But, right now, my friends are all strange… Like me.
Dark, funny, snarky, seventeen-year-old Becca struggles to cope with mental illness in My Friends Are All Strange, the gripping contemporary young adult companion novel to Normalish.
YA contemporary, especially such which deals with more serious topics, usually isn't my first choice. But there was something about the blurb which made me want to take a chance on this one. I'm glad I did.
Becca is a high school girl with tons of potential, but something flicks the switch. Before she knows what's happening, her life has spun out of control, and she finds herself living with a group of kids who no longer fit into any normal social drawer. Now, she needs to figure out if she's stuck in this predicament as well or can manage to return to 'normality'.
The first chapters greet with Becca's nose dive into insanity. The world and her actions rattle past in a mumbled-jumbled spin, held together by a strange voice named Troy, the Wizard. The author does a great job of bringing across Becca's predicament through Becca's eyes with all the confusion the girl experiences and without ever spelling out exactly what is going on. It's a bit confusing and shattered, but as reality finally draws in a few chapters later, the pieces fall beautifully into place.
Becca, although out of sorts, comes across pure hearted, honest and raw. As the reasons behind her situation unfold (even to her), everything begins to make sense. Her 'strange' friends offer wonderful companionship and contrast, adding to the richness of the story without every heading off in skew directions.
It's the simplicity and, at the same time, subtle complexity of the plot which makes this a grabbing read. The truth sinks its teeth in and hits deeper issues without ever really hitting them at all. It's something teenagers will easily sympathize with and are sure to see tiny bits of themselves reflected in not only Becca but the other characters as well.
Despite the 'depth', the story flows easily, making it a quick read, which feels lighter than it is. If book two is anything like this one, it's sure to be a great read.
And here she is. . .
California native Margaret Lesh lives in a narrow canyon populated by herds of wild burro and packs of coyote. The canyon is also populated with her creative, handsome husband, her feisty mother-in-law, her not-brave-at-all Border Collie, Echo, and sometimes her son (who is away at college. And she is not quite sure how that all happened so fast).
She writes books to entertain young and not-so-young readers as well as herself. She believes tacos are magic.