Waiting for Normal

cover image for Waiting for NormalConner, L. (2008) Waiting for Normal. New York, NY: Katherine Tegan Books.




Addie doesn’t want much. She can handle moving to a new school and losing all her old friends. She’s fine with living in an old trailer in a neighborhood with empty lots, gas stations, and not other kids at all. She doesn’t even really mind doing her more than her fair share of the chores. She’s accepted the fact that she and her half sisters now live in different homes.

Addie just wishes her life was a little more….normal. It would be nice if her mother wasn’t always all or nothing, but just once in a while could manage in between. She’s like to know that her mom will spend the money that Dwight, her ex-stepdad, sends them each month on the food it’s meant for, not on office supplies that never get used. She wishes she could go trick or treating or play in a school concert without it always becoming a disappointment or disaster. Mostly, she just wants to know that her mom will come home each night.

Waiting for Normal is a sweet, sad, and eventually happy book about twelve year old struggling to keep her head above water while living with a mother whose mental problems cause upheaval at every turn. Addie’s humble sweetness is a little grating (although not terribly unrealistic, as kids with parents with mental problems often end up working really hard to hide the problems going on at home) and the happy ending feels just a bit too pat considering the subject matter, even as bittersweet as it is. However, it’s a fairly decent book for tweens who may not be ready for the grittier stories of abuse like Werlin’s The Rules of Survival or Wiess’s Such a Pretty Girl.


Best for ages 8-13


Author’s Website: http://www.leslieconnor.com/Welcome.html