Reader Reviewed The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson

The Art of Being Normal

Written by Lisa Williamson

13+ readers   Branford Boase Award   All Shortlists and Winners   YA readers   
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The Lovereading4Kids comment

Shortlisted for The Branford Boase Award 2016. Winner of the Older Fiction category of The Waterstones Children's Book Prize 2016.

This is a sensitive, often funny and thoroughly engaging story of teenagers coming to terms with who they are. It’s easy to think in these liberal times that anything goes, but teens will be quick to point out that growing up is as difficult as it’s ever been. It’s particularly hard for David, one of the two central characters in this assured debut. David has known since the age of eight that he wants to be a girl. Teased as a freak at school, he feels he can’t even tell his family. New boy Leo seems to have problems too and when the two become friends they discover they have more in common than they ever thought. This ultra-readable, highly entertaining story could also provide readers with some much needed reassurance that normal is as normal does. ~ Andrea Reece

Reader Reviews

Teens love to read and so in addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Lovereading4kids Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title. You can read their full reviews by clicking here.

  • Michelle Toy - 'A perfect, important, stunning beautifully written debut from Lisa Williamson highlighting that different can be the norm and tackling transgender sensitively and honestly.'
  • Ayesha, age 17 - 'such a refreshing read, a completely original storyline, raising the awareness of transgenderism in today’s society...definitely a must-read for everyone!!'
  • Destiny Maraj - 'was a great novel and I really enjoyed it.  It has real life issues which made it even better.'
  • Georgina Rowe - 'A wonderful novel which practically forced me to carry on reading. The words jump off the page, bringing forth with them a brilliantly clear message of acceptance and respect.' 
  • Amelia White - 'Such an amazing book a really good book for older children and made me laugh at some of the things they do. Would recommend to my friends.'
  • Phoebe Allan, age 14 - 'one of the most brilliant books ever written...I commend Lisa Williamson on her ability to create such beautiful characters and weave such an incredible storyline. Love it! Thumbs Up!'
  • Melanie Chadwick - 'The story shows how important good friends are.  '
  • Cathy McLaughlin - 'This book is not only a great read for the 16 age group but for adults also.'
  • Millie, age 15 - 'The Art of Being Normal is a very thought  provoking book and really helps you understand what others are going through and helps LGBTQ young people know they are not alone.'
  • Alice D'Angelo, age 16 - 'With its fast pace and compelling storyline, this is a book that I read as quickly as I could.'
  • Kynthia Ravikumar, age 14 - 'One of my favorite books of all time, anyone who reads this will learn to accept everyone for who they are. I have learnt so much from this book as it has inspired me to become a better person.'
  • Edel Waugh - 'This is a beautifully written book for all those who feel like they don't fit in or for those who know and celebrate how awesome being different really is.'


The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson

Two boys. Two secrets. David Piper has always been an outsider. His parents think he's gay. The school bully thinks he's a freak. Only his two best friends know the real truth - David wants to be a girl. On the first day at his new school Leo Denton has one goal - to be invisible. Attracting the attention of the most beautiful girl in year 11 is definitely not part of that plan. When Leo stands up for David in a fight, an unlikely friendship forms. But things are about to get messy. Because at Eden Park School secrets have a funny habit of not staying secret for long ...

Hear Lisa Williamson reading from her novel.


'A sensational, heart-warming and life-affirming debut. Lisa Williamson writes witty, charming characters you can't help but root for' - James Dawson

'The Art of Being Normal is the best YA novel I've read this year. David and Leo are unforgettable characters whose story will break your heart - and then mend it again. A truly remarkable debut; I can't recommend it highly enough. Everyone - and I mean EVERYONE - should read this incredible book' - Cat Clarke

This book is anything but normal - it is extraordinary. My book of 2015. - Non Pratt

About the Author

Lisa Williamson

Lisa Williamson won the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize in 2016 with her debut novel, THE ART OF BEING NORMAL. The book is also shortlisted for The Bookseller YA Book Prize and the Branford Boase Award and was the bestselling YA hardback debut of 2015. Lisa was born and grew up in Nottingham. She studied drama at Middlesex University and since graduating has worked as an actor on stage and TV. Between acting jobs Lisa temped in offices across London, typing stories when no one was looking, one of which eventually became The Art of Being Normal. Lisa lives in London.

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Book Info


360 pages


Lisa Williamson
More books by Lisa Williamson

Author's Website


David Fickling Books

Publication date

7th January 2016




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