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Normal People

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3.87  ·  Rating details ·  180,672 ratings  ·  17,014 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.

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Paperback, advanced reader copy, 266 pages
Published August 28th 2018
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  • Normal People by Sally Rooney
    Normal People
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    Release date: Feb 18, 2020
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    Popular Answered Questions
    Lizzy Burton It reminded me a bit of One Day by David Nicholls…moreIt reminded me a bit of One Day by David Nicholls 😊(less)
    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,…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)
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    Community Reviews

    Showing 1-30
    Average rating 3.87  · 
    Rating details
     ·  180,672 ratings  ·  17,014 reviews


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    Emily May
    Jan 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    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
    ...more
    Bernard O'Keeffe
    Sep 04, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
    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
    Marchpane
    Sep 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    Shelves: book-club, 19-20-19
    Sally Rooney is the real deal

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

    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')
    C) Contains a fair bit of sex (which is crucial to the story, btw, and is not graphic)
    ...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
    Dem
    Nov 23, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
    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
    ...more
    Caitlin
    Oct 29, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
    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.
    Justin
    May 30, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
    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
    ...more
    Portal in the Pages
    Goddamit Sally Rooney and now I'm crying.
    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
    ...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
    ...more
    Elyse  Walters
    May 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    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*
    ...more
    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...

    While
    ...more
    Peter Boyle
    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
    ...more
    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
    ...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
    ...more
    Sam Quixote
    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 ...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 school,
    ...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
    Nilufer Ozmekik
    Jan 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    Wow! Check out the trailer of Hulu’s adaptation of Normal People for Spring 2020! It looks like 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 ( or both of them needed to die sometimes! Oh no another crying torrent coming
    ...more
    Adam Dalva
    May 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    This book is amazing, kinetic, insightful, and fun - I'm writing a long-form review for Guernica about it (examining, partially, the spectrum of reactions on this site), so I can't say too much yet, but wow, I could not put this down. It feels ferociously of the moment, yes, but it also has a timelessness all its own. Cut through the hype. 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 ...more
    Brandice
    Aug 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    I finished Normal People last night but had to think about it for a little while before writing this review, which is unusual for me. In summary: I really liked it!

    Marianne and Connell meet in high school, where Marianne is perceived by many as odd although she doesn’t care about popularity or public opinion. She’s from a wealthy family and bored by the obligations of school. Connell’s mother, Lorraine, cleans Marianne’s family’s home. Connell is popular, athletic, and well-liked. Marianne and
    ...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
    ...more
    Michelle
    I would give this 10 stars if I could. I probably just finished the best book of 2019.

    My God, what a book. So many thoughts and emotions are running through my head I don't even know where to begin. I could cry with relief that I had two people really impress upon me the need to read this book. To think! I almost let this go by and fall into the cavern that is my TBR pile. I cannot believe I almost missed out on the experience of what it was like to live with this book the past two days. I was
    ...more
    Susanne  Strong
    Oct 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    Shelves: must-read, audiobooks
    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 were so many times while reading “Normal People” by
    ...more
    Rachel
    Engrossing, complex, and emotionally honest, Normal People is an understated powerhouse of a novel. As this book ends up being so much more than the sum of its parts it's particularly difficult to summarize, but basically, it's a sort-of-love-story about Connell and Marianne, two young people growing up in small town Ireland together, who both move to Dublin for university in 2011.

    There isn't much going on in this book aside from Connell and Marianne's 'will they/won't they' relationship, but I
    ...more
    Michelle
    May 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    I'm late to the Normal People party but DAMNNNN! This book gave me all the feels. The good, the bad, and the ugly.

    This is the story of Connell and Marianne, and their relationship, as they navigate from high school and throughout college. The entire time I read this I was screaming in my head for these two just to be together and to stop screwing everything up....for me. Yes, you read that right, I felt like I had some personal stake in this relationship and that can only be attributed to Sally
    ...more
    Melanie


    Okay, I think this book is not only going to be polarizing, but most people will dislike it. But.. the writing was so hypnotic to me, I felt so much for both of these characters, and I just loved it a lot. RTC! <3

    Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Tumblr | Youtube | Twitch

    Buddy read with Romie from books & coffee with romie!
    ...more
    Christine
    Aug 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    My true rating is somewhere between 2 and 5 stars.

    Geez, this one made me sad. I don't think it's supposed to make readers sad, but with me it is what it is. If these young people are normal, then God bless everybody. I mean the writing isn't even "normal." This is a very talky book, but there is not a quotation mark to be found. It shocked me at first, but I got used to it pretty quickly. But this isn't "normal" writing. Does that mean the author isn't quite sure about what "normal" means? I'd
    ...more
    PorshaJo
    To be honest, I wasn't that interested in this one initially. I added it due to all the wonderful GR reviews I read. And I'm so glad I did. I found it difficult to put it aside, I wanted to keep hearing more.

    Normal People tells the story of two people, Connell and Marianne, who are anything but normal. Well, maybe they are and this is what many people go through. Each of them has problems. They meet when quite young, in high school. Connell's mom is the housekeeper for Marianne's family house.
    ...more
    Dolors
    Sep 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    Recommends it for: Those interested in the intricate workings of relationships
    Recommended to Dolors by: Deea
    Shelves: read-in-2019
    Appearances might deceive. This much I have learned from Sally Rooney’s latest novel. If you read its blurb you might fall under the false impression that this is just another story about first love with conventional characters: Connell, a popular boy in high school, and Marianne, a smart and introverted outcast with the added complication of different social backgrounds. Their secret connection occurs outside school when they meet at Marianne’s house when Connell’s mother finishes her shift as ...more
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    6,084 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.
    “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.” 240 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.” 161 likes
    More quotes…