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We Are Totally Normal

2.71  ·  Rating details ·  1,654 ratings  ·  518 reviews
Nandan’s got a plan to make his junior year perfect. He’s going to make sure all the parties are chill, he’s going to smooth things over with his ex, and he’s going to help his friend Dave get into the popular crowd—whether Dave wants to or not. The high school social scene might be complicated, but Nandan is sure he’s cracked the code.

Then, one night after a party, Dave a
Kindle Edition, 288 pages
Published March 31st 2020 by Harper Teen
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Average rating 2.71  · 
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 ·  1,654 ratings  ·  518 reviews

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This is one of the most problematic books I've read in a while, and I'm so mad about it.

EDIT: Look, the author and a few other people have said that the MC and the love interest do end up together and that it is a queer book. I'm really not out here to spread misinformation, so I wanted to clear up how I read it. The main character in this book was so manipulative and mistreated the 'love interest' throughout the entire book. Throughout the book, he constantly says that he's actually straight an
Jun 19, 2019 marked it as to-read
Shelves: to-buy, queer
no YOU'RE crying at the sight of this cover ...more
CW (The Quiet Pond) ✨
EDIT: My full review is now up on my blog, The Quiet Pond.

Important clarification about this book: Nandan is "not straight" by the end. I have read this book, and this is completely false. Nandan is queer. (view spoiler) This is a queer book. Anyway, I'm writing a full review of this as we speak.


Wow. Wow wow wow. This book is not only one of the most unique books I've read, it's also one of the most... real books on relationships, social dynamics, and quest
Chelsea (chelseadolling reads)
Apr 14, 2020 marked it as did-not-finish  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: queer
DNF @ ~20%: Unfortunately, this one was not for me :( I didn't like the writing style and I reeaally didn't like the characters. It may work for someone else, but it just did not do so for me. ...more
✨    jamieson   ✨
Stunning cover!!! gay content !! ownvoices author !!! you love to see it !!
Jul 26, 2019 marked it as to-read
If this keeps up, imagine how magical it'll be to walk into bookstores 5 or 10 years from now and seeing homosexual couples on book covers as often as you see hetersexual ones.
Sophie Elaina
Jan 17, 2020 rated it did not like it
I’m rather disappointed. This was really not what I was expecting at all. There were some very problematic elements regarding the way the main character treats other people in addition to some very clear instances of sexism and manipulation. At times I could see the good shining through and honestly understand what the author was attempting to do. It was extremely honest, to the point of making this one of the most uncomfortable reading experiences I’ve ever had. And I did feel like that meant f ...more
anna (½ of readsrainbow)
a book by a QPOC: *exists*

book twt: ahh yes!! time to take a few lines, strip them of context & bash the whole book based on them, without ever reading it ourselves!!!
Lydia Gompper
Aug 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: contemporary
This book spoke to every socially anxious, over-analytic, self-conscious, bisexual thought high school me ever had.

It was nuanced. It didn't spell everything out for the reader, because Nandan was having trouble spelling things out for himself. He's uncertain. He's juggling intricate, fraught social dynamics. And his sexuality is something that he's equal parts confused about and constantly aware of as a piece of social currency (but that awareness, in and of itself, is something he finds shame
shri (sunandchai)
Read the full review here on my blog!

First of all, I want to thank HarperTeen for sending me a review copy in exchange for an honest review.

Second of all, I read this book in about an hour and a half. I was stuck on a flight from Philadelphia to Minneapolis and intended on sleeping for most of it because I was sleep deprived as hell after a really long week, and I completely forgot to sleep on that flight. I forgot to recline my seat. I barely heard the flight attendant ask me if I
andrea ✨
Jul 14, 2019 marked it as to-read
all these gay books with the same-ish style of beautifully drawn covers are coming out in the near-ish future and i am heRE fOR iT.
Feb 25, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: read-in-2020, arc
Thank you Edelweiss and HarperCollins for providing me a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Wow, that sucked. I have never read something more offensive and disgusting than this. Bisexuality is unheard of, internalised homophobia comes out as repulsive behavior and encouraging straight people to play with gay people's feelings just because they could. Fuck this book for pretending that gays aren't being abused and killed to this day, fuck this book for trying to objectify g
I am always here for queer South Asian MCs
Apr 04, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020, arc, reviewed
I haven’t done a bullet review in a million years, but I have quite a lot of thoughts on this one so here we go. Also, before I start this review, I want to say a few things:

1) I had no idea of the ‘controversy’ surrounding this book until the day I decided to read it. If I was aware of it, I probably would not have requested the ARC because I know I would most likely have not enjoyed this book.
2) There are a lot of reviews here saying the main character and the love interest, the two boys on th
Layla (Between the Lines)
*Please do not let my star rating dissuade you from reading this book. It simply was not my cup of tea. I am Kurdish and queer and a big mess in general, but there are QPOC who feel the complete opposite way I feel. This story might be exactly what you need to read right now.

I am so genuinely happy that others can identify with the characters in this story. Every queer story that gets published gives me a little more hope--hope that one day we will all be able to see parts of ourselves in the bo
3.5* rounding up this time

Thank you to hccfrenzy at harpercanada for providing me with an arc to review !

The MC does not decide he is straight in the end! Everybody truly took one reviewer’s interpretation of the book and completely ran with it, huh? It’s so, so unfair to read one white reviewer’s take on a book saying it’s problematic and in turn slander the author and say nobody should read this and give it one star before it’s even released. Please read more QPOC’s reviews of the book, inclu
lily ☁️
Sometimes, I really should actually factor a book’s average rating on Goodreads into my choice of reading material.

Blog | Twitter | Instagram | TumblrBloglovin’
Highschool experience from a South Asian main character's point of view.

Edit : I'm editing this review now because I feel like this needs to be said. Questioning is a part of LGBTQ community. Everyone interprets their questioning differently. Nandan is a great character and this is just a part of his high school and even a smaller part of his life.

Not every coming out story is clean . Some of us have it messy. Questioning everything we thought we knew is just part of growing up. And Nandan is ha
This wasn't really my thing (marketing fail big time on this one), but I can appreciate it for what it was.

So, firstly, this is NOT a romance. If you came here looking for fluff and cuteness and happily ever afters, you are not going to be pleased with what you get (I suspect this is one reason for the lower ratings; the wrong audience is finding this book, and not understanding or liking what they are finding). What this is, is a coming of age contemporary Questioning novel, capital 'Q' well-e
Apr 01, 2020 rated it did not like it
This was the WORST gay book, I have EVER read and I've read 1443356323. The writing was really bad and the way the characters talked to each other was so annoying and the main character only went to parties and got drunk which annoyed the hell out of me. I read 50% of it then skipped to the end not wasting my time on it, I really really wanted to like it but 😔✌🏻 ...more
Feb 13, 2020 marked it as read-ya
DNF at 50% if you think teenagers, especially teenage girls are superficial, manipulative, twits maybe don't write a book about them. Own voices or not to even suggest that kids might come out for social status is pretty ....something. ...more
1. I loved it.
2. It's not a romance.
3. Review in work!
kayla ♡
Mar 07, 2020 rated it it was ok
2.75 STARS

**Thanks to Edelweiss for providing me with an ARC for an honest review.**

rtc actually doing into detail about how i felt about this book but for now i just wanted to clarify why i rated this so low.

i know there’s a lot of controversy surrounding this book about how sexuality is handled but that’s not what i had a problem with. no two stories or experiences are the same so it’s kind of wrong for us to be like “oh, that doesn’t match our experience so it most be wrong” especially becaus
Tucker  (TuckerTheReader)
Aug 14, 2019 marked it as not-released-tbr
this cover gives me life

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caitlin ✶
Mar 19, 2020 rated it it was ok
i was gonna give this book 4 stars, but two things ruined it for me:

1) the protagonist, nandan, did something horrible (actually, he does a lot of horrible things, but this one was especially bad), and i would've liked AT LEAST ONE PERSON TO GET MAD AT HIM FOR IT. (view spoiler)
Apr 04, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: arc
This was some of the sloppiest representation I’ve ever read. I thought other reviews were exaggerating how bad this was, but then I read it for myself. I walked away feeling like the the message in this book was harmful for the queer community; it’s conveyed by a character who uses his identity to manipulate others and views “being gay” as gaining some sort of popularity boost. I’ve never heard of queerness being described or portrayed this way, and it felt disingenuous to me, personally, espec ...more
Jun 19, 2019 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
This cover made me cry. It's so fucking beautiful. Thank you Rahul Kanakia for existing and being a writer. ...more
- ̗̀  jess  ̖́-
Jul 20, 2020 rated it did not like it
Okay: I was vaguely aware of the controversy surrounding this book in that I knew there was controversy, so I picked it up myself to see what was going on. Spoiler: there's a lot going on in this book, much of it not good. While I wouldn't rush to immediately write We Are Totally Normal off as problematic, it was the tone-deaf borderline homophobic comments combined with the poor writing and shallow, manipulative main character that made me feel uncomfortable.

So: the main character. Nandan is a
Mar 27, 2020 rated it liked it
I was looking forward to reading this book from what I read of the blurb and the cover is lovely.

I didn’t like how the book started. It felt like we dropped right into the story which didn’t seem to develop that much in story terms.

Some of the characters I took a dislike to as them seem to be selfish and petty and couldn’t connect with them. Overall the book was ok read.

I received a ARC from Edelweiss and the publisher for an objection review.
Feb 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book is so, so good; if only for Kanakia’s vibrant, easy prose. Her main character is so real and she captures what it means to be a teenager with such clarity and precision. Highly recommend for young adult libraries—a queer Indian-American kid being raised by a widowed mom, navigating social pressures and the popular kids, and figuring out his sexuality. There is a window and a mirror for more or less everyone.
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Rahul Kanakia’s second novel, WE ARE TOTALLY NORMAL, is out in March 2020 from HarperTeen. Her first book, ENTER TITLE HERE (Disney '16) was a Junior Library Guild selection and was reviewed by the New York Times. Her stories have appeared in Clarkesworld, Lightspeed, F&SF, and others. She lives in San Francisco with her wife and daughter. ...more

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