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Not Exactly Normal

3.71  ·  Rating Details ·  55 Ratings  ·  18 Reviews
Each year, the sixth graders at St Luke's Episcopal School finish winter term with their social studies reports. Wanting to make his report special, Todd decides to write about mystical experiences - something not normal. This is a book about being different and about fitting in, and about accepting the differences of others.
Paperback, 234 pages
Published August 1st 2006 by Eerdmans Books for Young Readers (first published 2005)
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Aug 03, 2013 Bryce rated it really liked it
Devin Brown, who has written some excellent studies of both C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien, takes on young spirituality in NOT EXACTLY NORMAL. Todd Farrel is a sixth grader at St. Luke’s Episcopal School somewhere in New England. It is that almost-Christmas season that has been the setting for so many books for this age group, both excellent and schmaltzy. Brown’s young character becomes intrigued by the idea of the “mystical experience,” spurred on by the combination of a good teacher who presen ...more
Jenni Frencham
Feb 24, 2012 Jenni Frencham rated it really liked it
Most of this book reads like a Gentle Fiction, where not much happens to the characters and everyone one is happy, healthy, and above average. The fact that there's no conflict in the family and no problems in the classroom makes me wonder where this perfect world is. However, there are enough entertaining and funny comments throughout the book to keep me, and your average elementary student, reading, and the crisis, when it does happen, is quite a page-turner. It's not exactly your normal book, ...more
May 28, 2012 Vicki rated it it was amazing
Shelves: tween
Todd has a great 6th gr teacher who is constantly challenging the students with "morning reflection." When the students are asked to create a report just before Christmas break, Todd decides his topic should be "mystical experiences." He has trouble writing his report until he himself has a "m.e." great
Jun 26, 2010 Terry rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya
Todd Farrell considers himself a normal, average sixth-grader and wants to change. So, he decides to do his school report on mystical experiences and to pay more attention to Leda Johnson who is the least normal of the sixth-graders at St. Luke's.
Jul 27, 2013 Mary rated it it was amazing
Shelves: christmas, school
Todd sees himself as an average sixth grader with average talents. Things change for him when he chooses an unusual topic for his last paper before the Christmas holidays. Todd decides to write about mystical experiences and proceeds to go in search for one for himself.

Devin Brown has created some wonderful characters including sixth grade teacher, Mr. Phillips, and his amazing wife, Pastor Jill. This is a heart warming story that makes the reader feel connected to the setting and characters. Th
Sep 29, 2016 Sandra rated it really liked it
Boy seeking mystical experience -- what's not to like? The frequent "instructive digressions" come on a bit thick: THIS BOOK TEACHES IMPORTANT THINGS WHILE TELLING A STORY.

But I still enjoyed this story about 6th-grader Todd, his politically correct and loving family, his sidekick (good term for a great soccer player like "Nitro"), the brilliant and eccentric outsider-girl, Leda, and his teacher, Mr. Phillips.

Good to add to the church library, which 6th-grader Natalia informs me is sorely lack
Jul 26, 2014 Jane rated it it was amazing
I don't know if the target age group (9 and up) would like Not Exactly Normal, but I thoroughly enjoyed this little gem in which nothing much happens. The narrator, Todd, talks about his sixth grade class, the other students and the teacher, having dinner with his family, and his homework assignments. Todd has a genuine and believable voice.

The story takes place in the days leading up to Christmas. Todd muses about life, being a hero, what it means to be "part of the main," religion, girls, and
Oct 08, 2015 Linda rated it it was amazing
Read this one with my 10 year old (she checked it out of her school library). I loved it. The messages in the story were spot on- so much philosophy and faith set in an environment that was geared toward a pre-teen. The story focuses on Todd, a 12 year old 6th grader and his quest to have a mystical experience. The author touches on John Donne, Mia Hamm, and a host of other noteworthy historical figures. Admittedly, some of the content was over the head of my daughter, but by reading it together ...more
Feb 19, 2010 Glenn rated it did not like it
Absolutly the worst book I have ever read I got the book sighned by the author only because he came to our middle school and I had never had a book sighned by the author and I had no interest in reading yet (that came in the 7th grade) but I wish my teacher would have let us read something with more of a moral to the story sure he saved his freind but that is realy all that happened the entire story
Leslie Godwin
Apr 12, 2014 Leslie Godwin rated it liked it
This book is endearing, and well-written. It a good, solid, heart-warming read. That being said, it was nothing immensely special. I work part-time as a receptionist, and I got through the entire book during one of my shifts. It's a cookie read. I did really enjoy its theme and commentary on the "extraordinary ordinary"...a great message.
May 13, 2008 Rachel rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
a very cohesive book, well written, enjoyable, and nothing extra included that did not add to the plot (an increasingly rare and commendable quality). A book I think anyone could enjoy.
It's also a really easy read, which makes for a great relaxing reading 'vacation' :)
Nov 10, 2008 Lindsay rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Cassi aka Snow White Haggard
Nov 19, 2010 Cassi aka Snow White Haggard rated it really liked it
So I'm baised because one of my favorite professors wrote this. Been a few years since I've read it so I can't give much of a review because after 3 years mostly remember "I liked this." Might try to re-read to add more cohesive thoughts.
Kayla Rae
I love this book!! It's about a normal teenage boy who turns out to save his best friends life.
Jun 11, 2012 Erin rated it really liked it
It was pretty good. A little slow moving, and a little predictable, but very cute. :)
Oct 01, 2008 Melons added it
I tried to read this book. Don't! it may sound good, but i had to abandon it on page 10!!! it is boring and has no point at all. at parts it is almost funny, but it ruins it. just dont read this.
Caitlin M.
Caitlin M. rated it really liked it
Jun 30, 2011
Traci Mahone
Traci Mahone rated it it was ok
Feb 22, 2013
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Jun 24, 2015
Katie Payne
Katie Payne rated it it was ok
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Tevia rated it liked it
Jul 30, 2014
Anne Marie
Anne Marie rated it it was amazing
Aug 24, 2012
Beth Mowry
Beth Mowry rated it liked it
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Sommer Toadvine
Sommer Toadvine rated it it was ok
May 16, 2017
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Jacob Duvall rated it really liked it
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Devin Brown (PhD, University of South Carolina) is a Lilly scholar and professor of English at Asbury University. A C. S. Lewis aficionado, Brown has written, taught, and lectured on Lewis extensively for more than ten years. He has written a number of books related to Lewis, including Inside Narnia and Inside Prince Caspian, and lives in Kentucky. In 2008 Brown was invited to serve as scholar-in- ...more
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