Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Normal People” as Want to Read:
Normal People
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Normal People

by
3.87  ·  Rating details ·  351,557 ratings  ·  30,874 reviews
At school Connell and Marianne pretend not to know each other. He’s popular and well-adjusted, star of the school soccer team while she is lonely, proud, and intensely private. But when Connell comes to pick his mother up from her housekeeping job at Marianne’s house, a strange and indelible connection grows between the two teenagers—one they are determined to conceal.

A ye
...more
Hardcover, 266 pages
Published August 28th 2018 by Faber & Faber
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Normal People, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Towhid Islam That's one opinion/interpretation of the ending (of the novel). I for one, couldn't ask for a better ending, because the author let each one of us, re…moreThat's one opinion/interpretation of the ending (of the novel). I for one, couldn't ask for a better ending, because the author let each one of us, readers, to imagine however we wish to believe how the story of Connell and Marianne shall continue. While such an ending presents an opportunity for a sequel for the author (after all, she needs to eat), I couldn't have asked for more. To continue on and read about these two people go their separate ways once more and get back together again, would be dull and boring.

My interpretation of the ending, is that both have matured sufficiently to recognize and accept these two people are at their best when they are together. Therefore, in my imagination, Connell would simply refuse to go to NYU without Marianne. Perhaps he would convince her to apply for a master's program at NYU as well and would only embark on his MFA, if Marianne was accepted so that they would be together. Or, if Marianne had no further interest in (higher) education, Connell would find a master's program nearby so that they could continue to be together. I remember, it is only Connell who keeps on telling Marianne that he loves her, whereas she barely says so, just once. In the last few pages the author revealed that Marianne finally realized that she is truly herself only when she is with Connell. I expect these two to grow old together.(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.87  · 
Rating details
 ·  351,557 ratings  ·  30,874 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Start your review of Normal People
Emily May
Jan 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: contemporary, 2019
No one can be independent of other people completely, so why not give up the attempt, she thought, go running in the other direction, depend on people for everything, allow them to depend on you, why not.

This is going to be a polarizing book. I mean, I think I liked it. And I say "liked it" in the sense that it made me very miserable. It is a quiet character study, almost a YA novel but not quite, and it is a profoundly lonely and depressing love story.

I didn't begin by liking it. Normal Peo
...more
Marchpane
Sep 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 19-20-19, book-club
Sally Rooney is the real deal

Normal People has been lavished with praise from critics, longlisted for the Man Booker prize and adapted for television by the BBC. And that's just in its first week of publication!

All that attention will, no doubt, attract quite a few readers who would not ordinarily touch this subject with a barge pole. Because this book:

A) Is about young people
B) Is a love story (but not a 'romance novel')
C) Contains a fair bit of sex (which is crucial to the storytelling, btw,
...more
Bernard O'Keeffe
Sep 04, 2018 rated it did not like it
On the second page of Sally Rooney’s universally acclaimed, Booker- longlisted novel is the following paragraph:

‘He puts his hands in his pockets and suppresses an irritable sigh, but suppresses it with an audible intake of breath, so that it still sounds like a sigh.’

What?

I get the hand in the pockets bit, but how the hell does the rest of it work? A sigh is an exhalation and I have no idea how any attempt to suppress a sigh by inhaling could possibly sound like one. I’ve tried hard to imagine
...more
Trudie
Sep 24, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: booker-18
I am not sure how to write this review because I seem to be so far beyond the pale on my antipathy to this book. In simplest terms I didn't connect with this work at all and I would be best to chalk this up to a "reader/writer" mismatch and move on but I will try and articulate some of my reading experience.

Some of my perplexity with Normal People is that I just couldn't relate to the twenty something, highly educated, politically aware and cynical young adults that populate this novel. I am not
...more
Justin
May 30, 2019 rated it did not like it
Whoa... guys... I just finished Normal... man, I just... I don’t know... what am I, what am I, uh, missing? This, uh, this... this wasn’t good. Not good at all. I’m so confused. This is, um, this is... this book is everywhere right now, being highly praised and all that. Websites I trust are telling me this is, this is one of the best, one of the best books of the year so far. But, guys... wow.

I’ve never felt more disconnected from a story. I couldn’t care less about either one of these charact
...more
Dem
Nov 23, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: bookclub-reads
Man booker prize long list nominee and Costa book awards nominee This is a book that has many admirers and sadly it didn't work for me and while I would love to agree with all the judges on this one I only struggled to the end because it was a bookclub read. It is difficult to go against the grain on a book that is nominated for so many awards. So as always you need to judge for yourself because books fit people differently

Quite simply this book didn't Fit Me. I really have no interest in r
...more
Caitlin
Oct 29, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-in-2018
I picked up my cup of coffee and took a large gulp, swishing the liquid around in my mouth a little before swallowing. Two stars, I think. I touched my hand to my face and rubbed my nose. I clicked the two star rating. I closed my eyes and nodded, breathing out slowly. Yes, two stars.
Anna Luce
★★✰✰✰ 2 grungy stars

If you believe that characters who dislike themselves, shrug a lot, and say "I don't know" 24/7, are very deep and realistic, well this may be the perfect read for you.
Or if you enjoy reading about "in" authors...look no further. After all, Rooney is "defining a generation".

If you are thinking about reading this novel, I suggest you listen to the following song instead, since it will take you less time and you will get the same story:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BjMwd...

W
...more
jessica
wow. one of the most frustrating, but humanising, books i have read in a long time. for sure. i feel so exhausted after reading this, but i think that may have been the authors intent. its shows that normal people living normal lives can be quite tiresome. for example:

- the writing lacks quotation marks, which makes the dialogue difficult to decipher. which could be seen as support for the idea that life is just as messy as the books formatting and communication sometimes takes effort to underst
...more
Portal in the Pages
Sep 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Goddamit Sally Rooney and now I'm crying.
Cindy Pham
The book aims to hit emotional poignancy by showing how people weave in and out of your life and exploring themes of first love, class differences, and depression; but ultimately the narrative boils down to two co-dependent people hooking up throughout the years, which doesn't really add anything new. Turn to your social circle IRL and you'll find the same story.
Chelsea (chelseadolling reads)
I genuinely have no idea how to rate this. I LOVED the first half, felt lukewarm towards the middle, and then hated the ending????? The characters had so much chemistry but they refused to communicate I just 😤

TW: sexual assault, domestic violence, depression, suicide
Elyse  Walters
May 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I had been influenced by a friend - whom I adore & respect - by her 1 star review.... way before this book started gaining momentum and hit the stores a month ago.
This book wasn’t for my friend - but it sure was for me.

I’ve own an ‘Advance Reader’s Edition’, of Sally Rooney’s paper copy for a year and a half. It sat on my shelf, unread.

Rooney’s first novel “Conversations With Friends”, was wonderful.

I admit having a thing for the type of writer Sally Rooney is:
*Addicting* thought-provoking r
...more
Danielle
Jun 22, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
What?! The.... what?! 😬😬😬😬 This book has been very publicized with the new Hulu adaptation and all. I for one, was looking forward to reading this one. Along with everyone else (judging by how long I waited in the library queue😡). Sadly, it didn’t live up to the hype for me. ☹️These characters were not likable. They both have clear issues, but I’ve read plenty of books where the characters are flawed but you still root for them in the end. And don’t even get me started on the ending. 🙄
emma
“Life offers up these moments of joy despite everything.”

The first time I read this, I rated it three stars. While this can be considered relatively high for me (don’t check my average rating, it will only bring despair to us both), it is approximately two stars lower than what I expected to rate this book.

I adore Rooney’s prior novel, Conversations with Friends, to a degree that is almost disturbing. Or possibly just disturbing.

But this one fell flat for me. In a way that was difficult, at the
...more
Meredith
Aug 24, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: overdrive
Uncomfortable and Provocative

In Normal People, Sally Rooney tells the story of two deeply damaged people who develop an intense relationship that transcends the norms.


Connell and Marianne start a secret romantic relationship while in high school. Connell is the popular jock who secretly cares what everyone thinks about him. Marianne is the school pariah--the girl who people create myths about. While they both feel alone and misunderstood, together they understand not only one another, but a
...more
Nilufer Ozmekik
Jan 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow! Check out Hulu’s marvelous adaptation! They did amazing job by adapting this lyrical, poignant, sad and realistic story with remarkable, heartfelt performances! It is a real soul crusher, heartbreaker! Get ready to set your ugly cries free!!!!

This really reminded me of those tear jerkers, Oh God I cannot breathe, all my happiness swept away by emotional vampires vacuum cleaners inc., come on, that’s kind of nerve bending story that one of the protagonist has to die from a deadly disease ( o
...more
Adam Dalva
May 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is amazing, kinetic, insightful, and fun. It feels ferociously of the moment, yes, but it also has a timelessness all its own. Cut through the hype - cut through the show. Rooney's time management is stellar (every new chapter is a time jump ahead), both perspectives are great (every chapter alternates between our two leads, with the attendant misunderstandings of a really good rom-com), and the characters behave like real humans. Excellent supporting cast too, which is a rare treat. T ...more
Ali Abdaal
Apr 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Started reading at 11pm while on an evening shift at work. Drove home at midnight, arrived at 00:40. Got into bed and kept reading, finished at 04:15. I’m kicking myself for ruining the next day but do I regret it? Absolutely not.
Peter Boyle
Sep 16, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: irish, booker-nominee
I wanted to like this book more than I did. How thrilling that the author hailed as "Salinger for the Snapchat generation" is Irish, and from my own province of Connacht at that. There are moments in this novel that would certainly back up such a bold claim. But I believe that she is a writer still honing her craft. Not quite the finished article just yet, but with all the potential to become a literary heavyweight.

In the beginning we meet Connell and Marianne, two young people growing up the we
...more
Paul Bryant
Nov 16, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
I thought I’d do the Goodreads Summer Reading Challenge, even though it’s just about winter here in Sherwood. But I think I’ll get away with it, you never see any police around here from one year to the next. Anyway, standards really aren’t what they were, I don’t even think anyone would care. In the old days if you did a summer reading challenge in winter you’d be out the door so fast your feet wouldn’t touch the ground. But these days people have neck tattoos and name their children after bran ...more
Britta Böhler
I have to admit I wasn't taken with Rooney's debut Conversations with Friends but I tried to read her second book with an open mind. The writing was good and some of the themes were interesting but I was rather bored by the selfabsorbed, cliché-characters: women who just want to 'get the man' and who always question their self-worth after a break-up, and men who are behaving as if they come straight out of a 'boys-will-be-boys'-movie. So 1950ies. And the ending is just plain cheesy.

2.5* (mainly
...more
Sam Quixote
Sep 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Oooof. Alright - a disclaimer before I start. Normal People by Sally Rooney is superb. I’m gonna gush about this one (warning to those in the splash zone!) and I honestly feel that the less you know about it, the better the experience will be for you. So, to those of you who’re thinking of reading it, don’t bother with any reviews about the book - just read it. It’s a contemporary story about a boy and a girl who fall in love. That’s all you need to know. And when you’re done, come back and we c ...more
Melissa
It's not like this with other people, she says. Yeah, he says. I know.


I wanted to love this book but, truth be told, my feelings landed somewhere closer to like. The numerous accolades and glowing reviews this novel received from multiple outlets led me to believe I was destined to adore this awkward tale of first love. And on some level, I did. Yet, part of me feels underwhelmed. Mostly with the storyline arc or lack-thereof, which translated to a frustrating conclusion.

My introduction to
...more
Ariel
Mar 28, 2020 added it
There were lines that swept me away, the way the timeline was structured moved the story forward in such a powerful and exceptional way, reading the story felt like the way we tell our lives to ourselves, highlighting the moments we've decided are pivotal, but all together I felt depressed and frustrated with the characters and their repetition and their decisions. But I will definitely try Rooney again!
Thomas
Let it be known that I found this book both exhilarating and almost unbearably frustrating. About halfway through the book I literally lied down on my couch and screamed to my empty apartment, “Connell, you are such an incompetent communicator, I swear to God herself if you don’t help yourself I’m going to loathe every person named Connell I ever encounter for the rest of my life.” Even though I’m giving this book 2 stars, it’s more out of how invested I felt in the characters and how little I f ...more
Paula
May 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Literary fiction fans
Recommended to Paula by: Booker
Irish author, Sally Rooney’s second novel came to my attention when nominated for the Booker in 2018. Since then Normal People has won the Costa Book Award, An Post Irish Award, and nominated for many others. Quite a distinction for a wonderfully talented young author.

Normal People is about Marianne and Connell, their secret friendship, and their on and off again relationship. They are two young people drawn to each other who drift apart at times, but always end up coming back to each other thro
...more
Larry H
Jan 12, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
3.5 stars.

Sally Rooney's upcoming novel Normal People almost felt like a puzzle, in that you didn't really know what you were truly getting until all of the pieces came together. Beautifully written although a little slow in its pacing, it's a novel full of deep emotions, which made it difficult to read at times.

Connell and Marianne know each other from high school, although they pretend not to, plus his mother works as a cleaner for her family. Marianne is a bit of a laughing stock in schoo
...more
JanB
How do two damaged people, who long for nothing more than to be “normal”, navigate the intricacies of a relationship? This book tore my heart out and stomped on it, and I mean that in the best possible way.

Marianne and Connell become acquainted when his mother is the housekeeper for her family. Marianne’s family is wealthy, but she is the smart, nerdy, unattractive girl who is an outcast at school while Connell, also smart, is the popular jock. They enter into a relationship that he wants to kee
...more
Susanne  Strong
Oct 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: must-read, audiobooks
**TV Series Now on Hulu!** (Closely Adapted to Book!)

4 Emotional Heartrending Stars.

Connell and Marianne. Two teens who are misfits, if you will. Drawn to each other in a way neither can explain. Throughout the years their forge a friendship, then a relationship of sorts, feeling the push and pull, which always remains the same. Neither satisfied, or ever getting what they want, yet both inexplicably drawn to the other. Always. Both complete the other in a way that no one else ever will.

There w
...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Normal People-SPOILERS 2 92 Aug 04, 2020 07:17AM  
Book Snails Book ...: * BOTM: August 2020: Normal People by Sally Rooney 11 12 Aug 02, 2020 05:50AM  
YA Buddy Readers'...: Normal People by Sally Rooney - Starting July 7th 2020 14 104 Jul 07, 2020 01:15AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Such a Fun Age
  • Girl, Woman, Other
  • Queenie
  • Three Women
  • Everything I Know About Love
  • Daisy Jones & The Six
  • Ask Again, Yes
  • The Vanishing Half
  • The Dutch House
  • The Flatshare
  • My Sister, the Serial Killer
  • In Five Years
  • My Dark Vanessa
  • On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous
  • Fleishman Is in Trouble
  • City of Girls
  • Untamed
  • The Testaments (The Handmaid's Tale, #2)
See similar books…
10,151 followers
Sally Rooney was born in 1991 and lives in Dublin, where she graduated from Trinity College. Her work has appeared in Granta, The Dublin Review, The White Review, The Stinging Fly, and the Winter Pages anthology.

Articles featuring this book

We all want to spend more time lost in the pages of great books. That's the idea behind our annual Goodreads Reading Challenge! It's simpl...
260 likes · 158 comments
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »
“It was culture as class performance, literature fetishised for its ability to take educated people on false emotional journeys, so that they might afterwards feel superior to the uneducated people whose emotional journeys they liked to read about.” 467 likes
“No one can be independent of other people completely, so why not give up the attempt, she thought, go running in the other direction, depend on people for everything, allow them to depend on you, why not.” 352 likes
More quotes…