Friday, October 16, 2015

ARC Review: How To Be A Normal Person by T.J. Klune


Gustavo Tiberius is not normal. He knows this. Everyone in his small town of Abby, Oregon, knows this. He reads encyclopedias every night before bed. He has a pet ferret called Harry S. Truman. He owns a video rental store that no one goes to. His closest friends are a lady named Lottie with drag queen hair and a trio of elderly Vespa riders known as the We Three Queens.

Gus is not normal. And he's fine with that. All he wants is to be left alone.

Until Casey, an asexual stoner hipster and the newest employee at Lottie’s Lattes, enters his life. For some reason, Casey thinks Gus is the greatest thing ever. And maybe Gus is starting to think the same thing about Casey, even if Casey is obsessive about Instagramming his food.

But Gus isn’t normal and Casey deserves someone who can be. Suddenly wanting to be that someone, Gus steps out of his comfort zone and plans to become the most normal person ever.

After all, what could possibly go wrong?

Heather's review:

Whoa, where do I begin with this one?? An asexual stoner, a socially awkward video-store owner, and three lesbians/possibly sisters walk into a bar....

For those readers who are afraid that this book isn't a classic T.J. Klune book (aka, really, really funny with lots of feelz), never fear! T.J. still brought the laughs (I dare you not to crack a smile at stoner scrabble), and still brought lots of emotion. However, this is a more subdued T.J. Klune. A little more... understated. I actually thought it was an awesomely refreshing change of pace, and though this book felt SO T.J., it also felt more mature in a lot of ways.

Gus was an interesting character. He is quiet, he likes routine, and he fiercely misses his deceased stoner dad. He also hates Michael Bay and pickles... a lot. Though Gus comes out of his shell throughout the course of the book, I really enjoyed how unique he was from other characters that I've seen.

Casey was... I mean, how could I not love a sexy (yes, asexuals can be sexy!), scruffy, hipster with a great sense of humor and an outgoing personality? He was fun and engaging, and I loved how persistent he was with Gus. I also have a weakness for a stoner, as my friends and I went through some... *cough cough*... phases in college. High logic always makes me smile.

Normally T.J. Klune does awesome side characters, but here he really outdid himself. I ADOREDDDDDDD the lesbian/possibly sisters trio of tough motorcycle ladies that made up Gus's crew. I swear, they made the book for me in a lot of ways! What I wouldn't do to have a couple of tough bitches like them by my side. All of them, even Casey's friends, brought something interesting and fun to the table.

In terms of the romance, it was there and it was adorable! Casey brought out the personality and spark in Gus, and Gus was a quiet, loving rock for Casey. I loved their flirtations and their easy banter. The romance was lovely, very slow burn, and, as the blurb suggests, verrrryyyyyy G rated. In fact, if you are looking for something more explicit than a couple of kisses and some hugs, look elsewhere. I completely bought the romance, though I struggled a bit, if I'm being honest, with the whole asexuality aspect.

It is hard for me, being so far on the other end of the asexuality spectrum, to imagine a relationship with someone with whom even physical affection is difficult. A lot of the way I show and perceive love with my SO is through pats on the butt, spontaneous make out sessions, and feeling physical closeness to my husband. I'm a very affectionate, sensual person. Gus always asked permission to even hug Casey, and I simply could not imagine myself in that kind of situation. Now, I recognize that this is 100% my own issue and, in fact, this kind of incompatibility is discussed in the book, but it made the chemistry in the story feel a little less potent for me, if I'm being perfectly honest.

However, that being said, I think that Casey and Gus were a great match. Gus understood and respected Casey's limits implicitly and vice versa. I also appreciated how the book educated us readers a little on the sexuality spectrum without feeling too didactic. It flowed naturally with the story.

I think if you are looking for an offbeat, well done, super funny, sweet romance, you've found your match with this story. Though it is relatively low angst and shows a more subdued style, it still leaves a big impact with characters you won't soon forget.

**I received a free copy of this book directly from its author. A positive review was not promised in return. **

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