I liked this book so much In the end Antonia s mom ended up getting a lot better than she was before She was even able to go to one of Jazz s piano recitals where there was a lot of people Also, I thought something was weird during Jazz and Antonia s peer counseling session because Jazz would always talk to Antonia about her problems and try to help her instead of the other way around As it turns out Jazz was actually Antonia s peer counselor the whole time I was kind of surprised but I also kind of expecting it Antonia ended up actually benefiting a lot from the peer counseling even though she didn t realize it at first Antonia did help Jazz, too She helped Jazz realize she wasthan what everybody saw her as I hope they did end up staying friends because it ended with them laughing after Jazz s piano recital I think they did stay friends though, because they formed a strong bond through their peer counseling sessions This book was really good and I would recommend it to anyone, really. Honestly, Define Normal was actually kind of a disappointment I was looking for a book with an LGBT character for a challenge on Game Night, and unfortunately, this didn t even fulfill that.The story is narrated by Antonia, who has agreed to participate in her school s new peer mentoring program, but the girl she has to mentor is absolutely nothing like her, or so it seems Of course, this is a novel about unexpected friendships and all that, and I did think that was what I was in the mood for However, I d been expecting some sort of romantic relationship to blossom between the two girls, but absolutely nothing happened.I did like the character development, although it definitely could have been a lot better, especially on Jazz s part Antonia does grow up a littlethroughout the novel, but not as much as I would have liked As for Jazz, I feel like the only thing that really changes about her is the way people see her I don t really like that I also liked the way both girls family relationships were played out, but again, those could have been a lotdeveloped Overall, because of these elements, I would classify Define Normal asof a middle grade novel instead of a young adult novel, although it is marked as the latter on its main page on Goodreads.I also picked up Far from Xanadu by the same author, and I m hoping to enjoy that book a littleI will definitely not be rereading this book, though, and will probably give it away I cannot sell it because it is from the school library s withdrawn pile, so used bookstores won t accept it, but if anyone wants it, let me know. Antonia Is Eager To Participate In The New Peer Counseling Program At School Until She Learns The Person She S Supposed To Counsel Is Jasmine Luther Jazz Is Anything But Antonia S Peer She S A Punker, A Druggie, A Gang Hanger As Their Peer Counseling Sessions Progress, Antonia And Jazz Discover They Have In Common Than They Could Ever Have Imagined Can A Normal Person Like Antonia Trust A Psycho Freaky Whacked Out Punker Like Jazz Does She Dare At first, I was reluctant.As anyone would probably be, looking at the cover because despite better intentions, I still automatically judge a book by the cover , seeing as it appeared to be one of those classic, mediocre books about two girls from different social groups become friends against all odds And I wanted none of that And I got none of it.I also expected this book to be one about a forced, unrealistically happy teenagers who live a perfect life with their above average scores and occasional prissy fights with their friends family But it s not Antonia Dillon only APPEARS to be that sissy above average girl, because inside her house, it s definitely far from perfect But at school, of course, she appears as best she can and this lands her in a spot in the counseling program, and unfortunately she ends up with the moody, dressed in all black, supposedly druggie and undeniably punk Jazz Luther She s sassy, classic punk, but of course, Julie Anne Peters is going to make sure that what I see isn t what I get But from there on out it s spoilers.The book is quick, short two hundred pages, but I read it in one sitting and was very satisfied overall, I simply couldn t put it down and thus ate it up It was intriguing with a high school writing style simply and to the point with actions that make sense for someone of this day and age I d recommend it for quite honestly anybody, especially one who is about to endure a two hour car drive in an uncomfortable Subaru. When Antonia signs up to be a student guidance counselor, the last person she thinks she d be paired with would be Jasmine, a punk with a pierced eyebrow and black lipstick But when they each find out about their home lives, they each sympathize for the other and become Really good friends Antonia Dillon is what seems to be a straight A student with a somewhat perfect life in the face of it But in reality, her home life is a mess two little brothers, athan depressed mother, and a half forgotten father As opposed to Jasmine Jazz Luther, who seems like a punk from a broken home but lives a surprisingly privileged life The story goes through the various problems that they each share with the other, and help and support each other in, such as Antonia s mother running away with her brothers, or Jazz s parents nearly forcing her mind away from Julliard, a performing arts school that seems like heaven to her I loved this book because I identified with both of the main characters the stress of dealing with troubling relatives as well as being pressured to do well in school and maintain an image that spreads bad words about me that I don t want It s witty, easy to relate to, but a little predictable as young adult books go. 4 5 starsAntonia 14 year old is a straight A student, who signs upa peer counseling program her peer is a punker, druggie, gang hanger girl, Jazz Jasmine Luther , or Antonia thinks she is.Antonia seems normal girl where Jazz is exact opposite to her When she sees Jazz is paired with her, she wants to quit the program But Dr Dileo their counseling program head forces her to keep continue doing it.Even they are very much deferent from each other, there is something common between them.They are hiding a secret from each other.As story goes on they learn about each other secret and start to help each other and become friends But there is another secret in their peering It s not a mystery type it s barely 200 pages though Antonia s secret, which she is trying to hide from Jazz, is her mother is clinically depressed and She has to look after her mother and two brothers.And Jazz is a simple rebellion against her mother.I really enjoyed this book because it is very well written and it has strong and very well developed characters.It is pretty engaging to read Antonia s struggle with her home life It makes you feel sympathetic toward her.And Jazz s cold war with her mother and her passion for music.We often judge people by their appearance like, how they dressed, whom they talks, like Antonia does here But here, it s not like, you will get what you see Sometimes people seems normal but inside their are mess That s why this Novel titled Define Normal I liked the situation in this book with the main character who has to take care of her mother and younger brothers while also trying to stay on top of things at school At her school, there s a counseling program, and she winds up counseling a punky girl who is the complete opposite of her The early chapters are funny as Jazz, the punker, takes over the counseling session that Antonio, the geek, is supposed to lead.The book becomes a littleserious as the two girls start to get to know one another and learn that they have things in common, and,importantly, they learn things about the other person that suggest neither of them have a perfect life That seems to be one of the main themes of the novel don t judge others until you have walked in their shoes.The writing style occasionally distracted me, with weird slang bode cronk And I get tired of people breaking in during conversation, or cracking smiles, or meeting my eyes Didn t someone advise the author it s okay to have a character just said One of my favorites when I was a teen. When 14 year old Antonia Dillion walks into her first peer counselling session to find out the girl she is surpossed to be helping is Jasmine Jazz Luther She wants to quit straight away.Jazz is a punker, a druggie, a gang hanger , she s beyond help.But is she Antonia is a straight A student, participating in the programme to earn merits for when she is applying for college Jazz is just there because she has to make up fifteen hours a week.As each session happens something about each girl is revealed Jazz s apperance is only something on the outside, her life isn t so bad, to Antonia anyway And Antonia s seemingly great life, is only a face Things aren t so peachy on the inside.Both girls start off hating the fact they have to talk to eachother, but as the book progresses, they realise that they need eachother.Define Normal, is a great book It makes you think about how judging people on appareance alone, can be wrong How life for one person can be presumed easy although under the surface soemthing scary, hard and demanding is happening I really like this book, i thought it was going to be a little childish when i first picked it up but it wasn t It was a really good readTwo totally different girls, are placed together and start to realise that they have things in comman and can help eachother if they just tried.And in the end Who s normal Define Normal is a novel by Julie Anne Peters, who I normally like But I have to say, I was really disappointed in this one of the three novels and one short story collection of hers that I ve read, this is easily the worst thing she s put her name on It s her first YA novel after a decade of middle grade, and it really shows Everything feels very juvenile, Antonia often reads quite a bit younger than fourteen, and there was a simplicity to it that didn t feel appropriate For the life of me, I couldn t figure out why Peters chose to write it as YA the subject matter is completely appropriate for younger kids, and although there are a couple references toteen stuff like periods and drugs, those references feel out of place in this mostly very young novel I noticed this in Luna, to some extent, but it was ten times worse here.But that s the least of this book s problems The biggest one I d cite is probably the plotting The book rather abruptly changes topics about a hundred pages in it starts out being about Antonia slowly warming up to Jazz, and it ends with Antonia dealing with a clinically depressed mother who doesn t know how to take care of her I was actually rather thankful for the transition, but that doesn t change the fact that it was very jarring The book felt like two unrelated plots merged into one, and neither one ended up being very satisfying.Anyway, my problem with the first plot Antonia helping Jazz hadto do with the characters than the actual events Antonia, while a well developed character, was so judgmental that I couldn t feel sympathy for her I m not normally one to call characters unlikable I can put up with characters do things I don t like and act in ways that I wouldn t normally want to be around if I could understand why they do it Antonia assumes that Jazz is a criminal who smokes and does drugs for no fucking reasonI mean, it comes from how Jazz dresses, but Antonia has no reason to think that way It made me lose whatever interest in that plot I might ve had, little interest as that one had originally I enjoyed Antonia dealing with her home life a lotthan her plot with Jazz Antoina was a lotsympathetic in those sections, and that s where I really saw what I read Peters books for an interesting situation rendered and written well enough that you forgot there weren t many actual events I really wish that Peters could ve gotten the whole peer counseling thing out of the way so that we could get here, because my biggest problem with this plot was that it didn t last long enough other than that, it was really great.But actually, there were a lot of things that didn t last long enough in this novel Lots of scenes felt clipped and cut off right when they were getting interesting, both on a micro and macro level Everything generally moved altogether too fast for me, particularly in the first plot it could ve been a lotinteresting than it was Even the last 100 pages, which really were interesting, didn t really last long enough for me to get a sense of satisfaction.The characters, though, were pretty well developed, which is surprising, because I normal ly think that character development is Peters s worst area But although Antonia s transformation was extremely obvious from the beginning, Peters didn t dwell on it past the first 100 pages, and it wasn t as painful as I thought it would be Jazz was also wonderfully developed better than Antonia, I d say The characters were probably the best part of this novel.The writing was mixed, which was surprising, because I normally like Peters s writing And the prose was great don t get me wrong it was a bit simple like the rest of the novel , but it was also engaging, and there were no glaring flaws But the dialogue was often a bit painful Peters made up a lot of slang for the novel, which never fails to frustrate me Words like bode and cronk gotpainful with each use So, the writing was mixed great prose, not so great dialogue Mixed is a pretty good way to describe the whole book, mixed with a slight slant towards the negative Although it had its merits, I wouldn t recommend this one Peters has quite a few good books worth checking out this just wasn t one of them Technically called Define Normal , but that s grammatically incorrect, so I m going to pretend it s just Define Normal In contrast Give Up the Ghost, by Megan Crewe, deals with a very similar premise, but the difference is that Crewe knows how to write a plot in Give Up the Ghost, we understand why Cass the narrator thinks the way she does We see why she does what she does, and that makes her muchlikable than Antonia ever was This also made her transformation feel farorganic, and although it was still pretty predictable, it was far, far deeper andmeaningful Cass reads muchlike a real person than Antonia does flawed, but not to the point of being an unreasonable asshole Which is actual slang, but she used it to mean cool rather than to deal with something.You can find a new version of this review, with large sections rewritten, on my blog.