Here it is! My first ARC (Advanced Readers Copy) from FirstLookTeen arrived yesterday, and since I haven’t been feeling too well, I did a bunch of reading. I’m very impressed with Leslie Connor, as this is her first Children’s book.

Addie loves her new home, but her mother doesn’t like it. To her mother, it’s not a home. It’s a prison, a locked up trailer across from a “fat lady’s” store, according to Mommers.

Mommers is the problem. She’s a good Mom, according to Addie, but sometimes… not so good. She leaves Addison alone at home for days at a time, with only the sickly Soula across the street to watch for her. And then there’s Dwight- the ex-stepfather Addie misses and loves. Addison tells her friends that everything is okay, but inside it isn’t “okay”.

Addison is waiting for a normal that never comes.

WOW. How on earth do I summarize this book? Amazon does a very crisp job, but leaves a bit out.

Addie is waiting for normal.

But Addie’s mom has an all-or-nothing approach to life: a food fiesta or an empty pantry, jubilation or gloom, her way or no way.

All or nothing never adds up to normal.

All or nothing can’t bring you all to home, which is exactly where Addie longs to be, with her half sisters, every day.

In spite of life’s twists and turns, Addie remains optimistic. Someday, maybe, she’ll find normal.

Addison is such a deep character, that I thoroughly enjoyed. Connor does a lovely job with her first middle grade novel, and second YA. I think that this could also be recommended to mature preteens, with a caution about child “abuse”, sort of. Addie isn’t abused in the normal ways, more abandoned. This book tugs at my heart, I want to cry out to Addie the entire novel, and tell her, “You have the Love of Learning! Don’t listen to your Mom. You’re just dyslexic!”

I did find a few parts missing, which I won’t say because I don’t want to spoil it.

Waiting for Normal is a top notch book. I think it might even be a contender for a 2009 Newbery Award or Honor. I can’t wait to read more by Leslie Connor.