Huge thanks to Page Street Publishing for sending me a review copy!
Maddie McPherson is sick of Normal—both her hometown of Normal, Illinois and being the ‘normal’ sibling. But when she lands a summer internship with a sports marketing firm, she finally has a chance to crawl out of her genius brother’s shadow. Not to mention, a glowing letter of recommendation could secure her admission to her dream college.
But Maddie’s nickname is “CalaMaddie” for a reason, and when the company tasks her with repairing the image of teen soccer phenom Gabriel Fortunato, she wonders if she’s set herself up for embarrassment. Gabriel is a tabloid magnet, who’s best-known for flubbing Italy’s World Cup hopes. As Maddie works with him to develop “pleasant and friendly” content for social media, she also learns he’s thoughtful, multi-talented, and fiercely loyal—maybe even to a fault. Falling for a footballer is exactly how CalaMaddie would botch this internship, but with the firm pressuring her to get the job done, perhaps her heart is worth risking?
I fell head over heels in LOVE with this adorable book!
Oh guys… Far From Normal was a ridiculously cute story. Sometimes, when the world is a complete dumpster fire like it is now, you just want a sweet, light-hearted read to sweep you off of your feet and make you forget about all of your problems. That’s exactly what this book did for me.
The whole vibe of the story was just so delightful. It had me smiling til the very last page, with lots of laughs in between. You know, it’s the kind of read where you just want to move into the book and stay there. From start to finish, it moves and marches—forward, onward, always. The story is smart and nuanced, never boring or predictable. There was not one dull moment! The plot was interesting and the characters lovely and engaging, with great chemistry. Maddie, our main character, was insta-likable. She’s driven and hard working, but awkward and quirky too. I really related to Maddie, and it took pretty much zero effort to step into her shoes and empathize with her struggles, desires, and dreams. Gabe was also great, but since the book is told from Maddie’s point of view, he takes a bit more time to get to know and love. He had so many layers to him, and it was such a pleasure to see each of them unearthed as Maddie’s connection with him grew stronger.
This is a funny read as well. There’s banter and wit and you can’t help but laugh. Maddie’s awkwardness is something I related to SO MUCH, and it also made me chuckle quite a bit.
Beyond all of the cuteness and hilarity, though, there is so much emotion behind this story. The themes of proving yourself, defying all odds, and not giving up even when no one believes in you were so wonderful to see. In the book, Maddie is constantly put down and compared to her siblings, but that doesn’t stop her from overcoming every obstacle that comes her way and showing everyone, including her family, just how amazing she is.
Honestly, I finished this book days ago, yet I’m still in awe of it. How can such a short book make me feel so safe, warm, and happy? That’s what I love about contemporary romances– They have this sort of effortlessness about them, making them so easy to get sucked into. The love and sweetness Becky Wallace has put into this story is truly wonderful, and I can’t wait for it to reach more readers when the book is released later this month!
In sum, Far From Normal is a blissfully charming book that I absolutely adored. I fell in love with the characters, and I couldn’t get enough of the romance. This story has made me feel all hopeful and warm and fuzzy inside, and I think this is something that a lot of people would benefit from reading, even if it’s only so it can put a smile on their face, because it most definitely will!