Title: Waiting for Normal
Author: Leslie Connor
Genre: Middle grade contemporary fiction
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Source: Audiobook from the public library
Audiobook reader: Angela Jayne Rogers
First line: Maybe Mommers and I shouldn’t have been surprised; Dwight had told us it was a trailer even before we’d packed our bags.
Addie is waiting for normal. She is twelve years old, and has spent most of her life waiting for it. She had a taste of normal when her mother, Denise, was married to Dwight and had her two baby sisters, Brenna and Katie. But Addie’s mother is bipolar, and nothing lasts long for Addie: schools, homes, friends. After Dwight and Denise divorce, Addie is left at home with her mother and little sisters, and she is the most mature, responsible person in the home. Denise leaves the girls alone for several days, which results in Dwight gaining custody of Brenna and Katie. Addie isn’t his biological daughter, though, so she ends up back with Denise.
Dwight tries to support Addie and Denise the best he can, moving them into a small trailer under a train overpass. Addie quickly makes friends with Sula and Elliott, who run the Quick-mart on the corner, and they open their hearts to her. She lives for her times with Sula and Elliott, and her visits with Dwight and her sisters, all along waiting for her normal.
Leslie Connor has written a bittersweet story about a beautiful, resilient young girl. (Dwight tells her that resilient means “bounce back-ish.”) Addie struggles with her desire to live with Dwight and the girls, and her reluctance to leave Denise alone. She feels responsible for her mother, in a way that her mother has never felt about her. I loved Addie, and I was rooting for her to get her “normal” all through this sensitive, well-written novel.
Appropriate for ages 12 and up, as it deals with some heavy issues like child abandonment.