Searching for Normal

Focus On the Family. (Riverbend Friends: Bk. 2). Apr. 2021. 256p. pap. $14.99. ISBN 9781589977051.
Gr 7 Up–Fifteen-year-old introvert Shay lost her mother at a young age and her adoptive father just months ago. She never knew her biological father so she moved in with her adoptive grandparents until they couldn’t handle her anymore. Now she’s living with her mom’s sister. Shay has been bullied most of her life; she doesn’t feel like she fits in anywhere due to her family situation, and she doesn’t know how it feels to have true friends. After being placed in drama class, Shay reluctantly develops friendships with three other girls. Shay is torn when she learns her biological father is the horse trainer she idolizes, but her aunt doesn’t speak highly of him. She gets the chance to decide for herself when he has a show in town and she observes his behavior with the horses. When two girls at Shay’s new school learn about what Shay did to have to live with her aunt, they blackmail her. When Shay retaliates, she wonders if she is truly a bad person who will never be able to change. Darlington realistically portrays how bullying affects children into their teens and how anger can become a dangerous and controlling demon. Through the patience and love of her aunt, the love from her friends, and a rescue dog named Stanley, Shay, who is coded as white, learns that everyone has something they are dealing with and everyone is in some way “searching for normal.”
VERDICT Recommended for Christian fiction fans.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing