Losing Normal

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 08 Mar 2019

Member Reviews

I really loved this! The rep seemed very genuine and I loved the dystopian feel of it. The MC was three dimensional and was what made this book great to me. If you want a good dystopian check this one out!
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An interesting take on a dystopian sci Fi story featuring a strong main character with Asperger's. 
This book scores points for originality with its unique twist on a familiar dystopian tale while also shedding light on our growing dependence to technology. 
I would have liked there to have been more time given to character development, I found myself getting lost in the plot at times and struggled to get some of the characters straight. 

Overall an interesting read!
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The Quick Cut: An Aspie boy finds himself immune to technology that is quickly causing others to lose their memory and mind. Chaos ensues when he and others like him fight back. 

A Real Review:
Thank you to Encelia Press for providing the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

 Being an Aspie at moments can be a very defeating feeling. Although it comes with its litany of upsides, the common perception by many is that we're flawed or broken somehow. It doesn't take much time before that stance can rub off and start to impact your own self image. In this book, it's that different functioning brain which saves Alex and his friends from certain doom. 

 Calliope's televisions are appearing everywhere: from main streets to school rooms, they are bringing the sentient machine Sophie to everybody. Quickly, people are forgetting their lives and instead tuning into Sophie's every broadcast. Except they have run into an unexpected problem in the form of an Asperger's teen named Alex who seems capable of fighting Sophie's influence... and Sophie is sending all the Calliope agents she can to get him on track.

 I'll be the first to admit this book has a hard core science fiction vibe that skews to the nearly unbelievable. However, the underlying story that this book speaks about really resonates in a way that makes the material work. Asperger's and being on the Autism spectrum can feel like a negative - especially with the way many people can give you that feeling. In this story, that is turned on its head and made a positive.

 The attention to Aspie detail is very high. Alex counts steps everywhere, hates when people attempt to change his routine, and the only thing he hates more is when people touch him. All common traits for those of us in that population (personally, I prefer to count ceiling tiles). 

 Sophie as the evil sentient AI is a pretty amazing bad guy. Between the insane amount of people at her disposal and the unending need for love, it almost comes off as human in the way it chases after Alex and continuously desires to "fix" him to be like everybody else. There are so many points where you see the AIs craze speak too closely to how much we can go crazy trying to make others the way we want them to be. 

 Besides a few slow spots, this story centered around an Aspie boy tells an important tale about being happy with who you are. 

My rating: 4.5 out of 5
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This book made me think of Harrisson Bergeron by Kurt Vonnegut. The theme is the same. It's about dumbness considered the most normal state of mind and imposed by law because dumb citizens are more peaceful. Here, this is a computer called Sophie that sends waves that affect the brain and modify people's behavior. And this is not people who have the most atypical personalities who are the most dumb here. This is the contrary. And this is the MC, who suffers from Asperger syndrome who  saves the world. I love it!

I have already read a book in which all pregnant women were tested and all fetuses whose genetic code was different from what was considered the "norm" were aborted. I hate this idea! Nature works by trial and error. Sometimes it seems to be the least adapted genetically speaking that ends up allowing a species, including the human species, to evolve and adapt to its also evolving environment. By destroying who and what is out of the ordinary, we could prevent the next stage of our evolution!

There are little weaknesses in this book like: why some people don't need the computer chips to be transform in some sort of zombies and the others, even with a computer chip, are able to stay relatively "normal" and even to control Sophie?

Anyway, the target readers are young adults. Maybe they won't have such technical questions. This is well written and interesting. The characters are  well described and likable. There is a certain amount of humor. And the author knows well what Asperger syndrome is.

Thanks to the author, the publisher and Netgalley for an e-copy of this good book.
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Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the E-arc copy of Losing Normal.
I will say that this novel is very different. Losing Normal has a lead that is on the autism spectrum and he must save the world. I love that fact that the main hero is not your run of the mill lead. It gives children with disabilities and diverse backgrounds the feel of being their own hero. I would highly recommend to any teen.
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I was provided with a complimentary copy of this book so I could give an honest review.

Losing Normal by Francis Moss is relatively short, less than 300 pages, but do not let the length fool you into thinking it does not have a lot to say. There is a lot of action in this short book.

Alex, a highly-functioning autistic boy, likes things to stay the same. He knows how many steps it is from school to home and, to him, that is normal. He knows all the answers in math. That is normal. The strange giant television screens that are being put up all over are making him forget and that is not normal. Only the "defective" kids, those that are immune to the televisions, like Alex can save the world from becoming television watching zombies. What ensues is an interesting novel that shows how quickly technology could take over. 

Losing Normal is not a post-apocalyptic novel. It shows the collapse of society by our rapidly advancing technology getting out of hand and beginning to think for itself. 

This novel would be appropriate for those as young as middle school to read but it is an interesting story adults would enjoy too. I found it to be a quick, easy, enjoyable, and thought provoking read. 

Review published on Philomathinphila.com, Smashbomb, Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble on 3/14/19.
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The story line could have been very predictable among other dystopian books. But it had some really clever aspects to it. The story follows Alex, a young man with Aspberger's Syndrome and his friends as they try to survive a world that wants to "fix" them. The incorporation of a boy like this as the main character provided a unique and fascinating journey for the reader. My objection was the writing and dialogue, which was supposed to be from Alex's perspective, came off as childish and cliched. Instead of sounding like a smart, different young man, it was a very shallow interpretation of what he might sound like by someone very unfamiliar with "Aspie" kids. The writing was so wrong, it was distracting to the great storyline. :(
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This book is wonderful in the way it makes special needs characters seen without making them too over the top or without research.
Alex is on the autism spectrum and we see the story unfold through his eyes the most. As I sometimes work with children and teens on the spectrum I feel the author did a great job portraying the special way these kids think and make their world normal as best they can. Understanding and helping them isn't always easy and the other characters in the book are really and realistically doing well with that.

The way the A.I. Sophie was written was another great point! 'She' was not just sort of a being only seen through others pov but had her own voice, too.
I especially loved how towards the end something happened and we got two POV merged. The development in those moments was fantastic and I wish it was given some more pages.

Overall, I think Losing Normal is a great read for teens who are around people with autism. It gives a glimpse on the way their minds work and the daily struggles they go through, all while delivering it in a story of how we all lose our 'normal because of too much screen time and not enough finding adventures in different ways.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for giving me a chance to read this book.
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Losing Normal keeps you guessing.  The chapters switch between characters and nothing is truly normal.  The videos are not safe!  Sara and Alex try to fight back against “losing normal” for themselves and their families. #LosingNormal #NetGalley
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I would give this book a 3.5. I work with kids on the spectrum so I think the author did a good representation of that. I liked the concept and some parts I couldn't put down. Towards the end I found myself skimming through, but overall I liked it. I would have liked more back story on the characters because they were kind of just thrown together and everything happened so quickly. The parts I found really interesting that I wish would have had more to it was the conversations from the computer. If you like stories about artificial intelligence learning to have a mind of its own this is a book I would suggest. Having individuals with special needs and mental illnesses as important characters was a cool interesting tip. I enjoyed the heroes being the people that are usually looked at as "not normal".
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I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I have just put my Kindle down having finished this and actually said out loud "What a good book". Sadly the only other person in the room is my toddler who has spent a good portion of the last half hour emptying his Megablocks out of the Ikea drawer so he can unzip it and wear it like a costume. Still, I can add a review here and let it be known how good this is!

I expected something along the lines of Curious Incident or See You in the Cosmos with this one. Not to lump together stories like that while disregarding their wonderful stories you understand. However, this was more along the lines of dystopian fiction but very close to the real world at the same time.

Alex is on the autistic spectrum and as such we get information such as how many footsteps things take or how he eats the same food all the time or what he sees as 'normal'. He has to make things normal in order to accept them in his life - something I liked about his character - so he sees it as normal to be picked on in school by the usual bully type or when something new appears in his life he has to make it feel like it's always been there. One day his teacher brings in a TV screen to teach them their new curriculum; only for the TV to explode moments later after Alex sees black flies appearing from the screen. After a few mishaps like this in school, it seems Alex is going to be sent away from the mainstream and back to the 'special school' he attended. Before any of this can happen though it seems that the TV screens start to pop up everywhere and Calliope technologies are taking over. People start to forget memories, forget where they need to be or what they are doing with their lives and are trapped in front of screens.

Sound familiar?

While this sounds like a lecture on our dependence on technology, it's actually a very interesting look on how we can be so easily controlled by information and what we are told on screens. How we can believe what we are presented with and how easily people can be taken over by what they see. The strange manifestation of this technology, known as Sophie, wants everyone to love her and to listen to her. Alex is proving more of a challenge than everyone else, as are the friends he makes along the way.

While this book does contain its fair share of men in vans and people jumping out of nowhere to try and brainwash everyone into their way of thinking, it never takes over and never feels frustrating. There's nothing worse than rooting for your main character who seems to have the upper hand only for a van to appear from round the corner and take them away: lather, rinse, repeat. That doesn't happen thankfully. 

The characters are great. Alex is full of information and in control of what he does. While he is ASD, this doesn't define him and only forms part of his character. I found this refreshing - there's more to him than just seeming to be the "weird kid". In fact, being the weird kid always seems to be to his advantage here. Sara is his friend and seems to actually adore Alex from the off - it's not something she falls into. She is totally on his side from the start and, while appearing the typical mouthy girl at times, is a really great character you find yourself cheering for at various points.

This book was a great read - an ARC I am really going to advocate. It was quite a shocking tale at times and also something that appears realistic as scary as that sounds. Calliope Technologies want to control everyone and they will not allow anyone to stop them - using whatever means necessary. It only takes a quick look around my room to see how many screens there are and how easy something like this could be!

Heartily recommended - I hope there is more of the same from this writer.
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