Step 1: Transfer high schools.
Step 2: Hide your Tourette’s.
Step 3: Find your Fifteen Seconds of Normal.
Kaeya Garay has a plan. And it seems to be working.But when a curious interruption named Thatcher Kelly stumbles upon her “safe” place in the school’s abandoned art gallery, her grand plans for normalcy are suddenly derailed.
Set over the course of three weeks, Fifteen Seconds of Normal is the quirky saga of a literature obsessed teen on the edge of a meltdown and the hope driven heroine who begins to pull him back. Fans of Eleanor and Park be warned. You won’t be able to put this one down.
A “Breakfast Club” for a new generation from EPIC Award finalist Alex Marestaing, author of I’m Nobody: The Lost Pages.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 seconds of Normal is a cute romance between a girl who has tourette’s and a boy who was turned into a meme. I have some issues with it, but if you’re looking for a typical YA romance that’s more inclusive, it’s a great pick but not perfect. ➜I loved the mental health representation for tourettes and Kaeya’s anxiety and stress about it. ➜Did NOT appreciate the BS about chronic panic attacks ➜Did not like the typical dying kid teaching them a lesson ➜Cute romance ➜Could actually see that picture becoming a meme ➜Pretentious literary kids of course, but not on John Green’s level ➜Liked Thatcher’s instagram posts ➜The sanctuary & teacher are of the “yeah, right” improbable level. When first introduced, I eye rolled but it’s easy to accept it and roll right along. ➜Don’t remember what was the teacher’s deal was with her husband ➜Loved the writing and formatting ➜YAY for Thatcher and his mom. Good, healthy relationships between sons and mothers seems so damn rare in this way. Them eating ice cream together is my favorite scene, hands down. ➜YAY for Kaeya and her dad. He’s supportive, involved, and there but not the overbearing, sexist a-hole most proclaim as a “good father” type. I liked how Thatcher professed his feelings for her before the end, so it wasn’t a last minute hail mary pass. I liked how Kaeya acknowledge his feelings and reacted. While she does have calming moments with Thatcher and less ticks at times, a relationship isn’t a cure. Love is understanding, not a cure. Good job, 15 Seconds of Normal. But... The thing is, love shouldn’t be a requirement for understanding either. It’s not difficult to not be a donkey. Which is why I wish Dream Dude acted differently. Plus, it’d give Kaeya the opportunity to realize certain things without getting crushed. Make it a “I got what I wanted and it wasn’t what I needed” type thing instead being crushed. I think this is especially important for girls considering how on point Kaeya’s perception, and feelings, wrapped around Dream Dude. Dream Dudes don’t have to be an a-hole to not be right for you. Dream Dudes can be nice and sweet and STILL not what you really want, after realizing Dream Dudes are built of your own making. Dying Kid Gimmicks and Other BS. I think it’d be less gimmicky and predictable if they knew from the beginning about Sam’s condition. More understanding and helpful as a physical disability alongside mental ones. Instead, we get “Sam’s got chronic panic attacks but seems so chill and tells us he’s faking it to work on his screenplay.” Like, really? REALLY? Why you do this? Why? At least, Sam as an immigrant with losing his name and the American Dream™ felt authentic, respectful, and non-stereotypical. It’s too bad Sam didn’t get to flourish or get a romance interest either. Rating: 3.5. Enjoyable, cute, sweet, anti-bullying and empathetic message but predictable with a gimmick and not perfect about representation either.
Reviewed by Megan Sparrow for Readers' Favorite Kaeya moved to a new school with the hopes of being treated like a “normal” teenager by her peers. It’s hard to hide her Tourette’s, but she manages and even draws the attention of the boy she’s crushing on. Unfortunately, that boy’s not Thatcher, who is already half in love with her! The drama starts on school photo day, when Thatcher, totally oblivious to what day it is, comes to school after the worst morning of his life, looking an absolute mess. Needless to say, his picture is horrendous and he immediately throws it away, only for someone else to fish it out and create a humiliating meme that quickly goes viral. One thing leads to another and Thatcher ends up being suspended for fighting. It’s in suspension that he gets to know the real Kaeya, who retreats there when her Tourette’s gets too much to handle. However, despite budding feelings for Thatcher, Kaeya’s still set on going to the school dance with her crush and getting her fifteen seconds of normal. Alex Marestaing weaves a beautiful, heartwarming coming-of-age in Fifteen Seconds of Normal. With complex, relatable and likeable characters, Fifteen Seconds of Normal is a brilliant read for Young Adults and grown-ups alike. In this day and age, cyber-bullying is something everyone is aware of, even if they haven’t experienced it firsthand, and Alex Marestaing has a way of putting you into Thatcher’s shoes so that it really felt like you were going through it with him. The same goes for Kaeya with her Tourette’s. Both main characters were so lovely that it was a genuine pleasure to read about them, and I loved how they developed over time and figured out what was really important to them. Also, although it's a teenage story set in high school, the angst is kept to a minimum, which I appreciated because it doesn't detract from the main plot. The layout was also a big plus for this novel; as it flitted between Thatcher's and Kaeya's perspectives, the paragraphs were short and to the point, which meant I kept saying to myself, "Just one more section!", resulting in my finishing it in a day! It's a wonderful story focusing on friendship, love, and accepting who you really are. I guarantee Fifteen Seconds of Normal is a story you will want to go back to again and again.
For sixteen-year-old Thatcher Kelly, "talking to dead authors was an inescapable habit of his, a tribute to the books that had embedded themselves in his soul" and "collecting more beautiful words from more beautiful books [was] another obsessive habit of his." A recent transfer to Glen Canyon High, Kaeya Garay tries to maintain a low profile and keep her Tourette's Syndrome hidden. But an altercation at their school throws Thatcher and Kaeya together, along with film buff Sam, and their lives will never be the same again. The author's writing is full of beautiful turns of phrase and delightful metaphors and similes that turn the ordinary into the extraordinary. My only complaint is the similarity of the characters' names: Kaeya, Kieran, Quentin. When Thatcher and Kaeya initially bond over Hemingway, you can see that these two are meant to be together. How they get there is the fun part. Sam plays an integral role as a kind of matchmaker, and his movie quotes are a good foil for Thatcher's book quotes. Everything comes together so well. There's even a reference to the school's Emily Dickinson club, no doubt a nod to the author's previous book, I'm Nobody. But I was disappointed that we never find out the story behind Mrs DeGeau. On a par with John Green, with a similar feel to "The Fault in Our Stars", this is my favorite book of the year so far. I received this book in return for an honest review. Full blog post (25 February): https://booksdirectonline.blogspot.com/2017/02/fifteen-seconds-of-normal-by-alex-marestaing.html