Monday, March 12, 2018

Twelve Steps to Normal by Farrah Penn

Title: Twelve Steps to Normal
Author: Farrah Penn
Publisher: JIMMY Patterson Presents
Publication date: March 13, 2018
Pages: 384
Source/format: Publisher provided finished copy

Rating: ☆☆☆

Synopsis (from

James Patterson presents this emotionally resonant novel that shows that while some broken things can't be put back exactly the way they were, they can be repaired and made even stronger.

Kira's Twelve Steps To A Normal Life

1. Accept Grams is gone.
2. Learn to forgive Dad.
3. Steal back ex-boyfriend from best friend...

And somewhere between 1 and 12, realize that when your parent's an alcoholic, there's no such thing as "normal."
When Kira's father enters rehab, she's forced to leave everything behind--her home, her best friends, her boyfriend...everything she loves. Now her father's sober (again) and Kira is returning home, determined to get her life back to normal...exactly as it was before she was sent away.

But is that what Kira really wants?

M Y  T H O U G H T S

"Sometimes you have to take a step back. Let someone else help out." "You always have to forgive your own mistakes. Otherwise they'll eat you alive."- Twelve Steps to Normal by Farrah Penn

Kira Seneca moved from Cedarville, TX to Portland, OR to live with her Aunt June when her father was at the Sober Living Alcohol and Drug Rehabilitation Center. However, her father is being released from the rehab center and her aunt thinks it's best to return back home. Kira didn't expect her father to invite three of his recovering alcoholic friends to stay with them until they got back on their feet.

Kira has had a complex life ever since she was born. Her parents had her during or after senior year of college. Her mother served jail time for selling drugs and wasn't in Kira's life. However, Kira had her father and her Grams in her life until Grams passed away. Kira didn't expect her father to let Nonnie, Peach and Saylor to live with them after being released from rehab and it took awhile for Kira to accept her dad's friends in her life. I guess it's because Kira wanted everything to return to normal. 

Farrah Penn tackles difficult situations that some teens have to deal with on a daily basis from mourning the loss of a love one to a parent battling alcoholism to a friend dating their ex to even rekindling a friendship. Kira copes with her life by creating Kira's 12 Steps to a Normal Life list. Each step involves a certain significant person in Kira's life. The character growth in this novel is fantastic considering that Penn doesn't focus on the character growth only for the main character, Kira. Penn expands the character growth exponentially for many of the characters in Twelve Steps to Normal. I am one for character growth and how each character learns to grow and becomes a better person because of the positive influences of each other.

Whitney, Raegan and Lin are Kira's best friends. At first Kira was super excited to see them again but she noticed Lin acting a bit strange. This is when Kira finds out that one of her best friends is now dating her ex-boyfriend, Jay. The friendships have been different with each lady but they are unique in their own way. What I loved was when Kira rekindles her friendship with Alex. That alone throughout the book was something that Kira can find solace in when she was dealing with what life has to throw at her. From nostalgic starburst wrapper notes to sharing slurpees at the 7 Eleven, Kira and Alex need each other. Even though Kira didn't know it at first, she slowly falls for Alex. The romance isn't overdone and it doesn't overpower the main premise of the plot.

Twelve Steps to Normal is a multi-layered novel with authentic, flawed and relatable characters. Kira's emotional yet significant journey is a journey where she grows, learns to forgive and learns to become a better person.

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