Ellie Haycock Is Totally Normal

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Pub Date 05 Mar 2024 | Archive Date 19 Mar 2024
St. Martin's Press, Wednesday Books

Description

The Breakfast Club meets Five Feet Apart in this big-hearted novel from debut author Gretchen Schreiber.

Ellie Haycock has always separated her life into sections: Ellie at home and Ellie at the hospital. At home, Ellie is a proud member of her high school’s speech and debate team alongside her best friend and her boyfriend. At the hospital, Ellie has a team of doctors and a mom who won’t stop posting about the details of her illness online. It’s not hard for Ellie to choose which of the two she prefers.

But this latest hospital stay is different. Ellie becomes close with a group of friends, including Ryan, a first-timer who’s still optimistic about the doctors that Ellie stopped trusting years ago. Despite their differences, she can’t seem to keep him out of her head. Ellie’s life has never been ordinary—but maybe this time it will be extraordinary.

The Breakfast Club meets Five Feet Apart in this big-hearted novel from debut author Gretchen Schreiber.

Ellie Haycock has always separated her life into sections: Ellie at home and Ellie at the...


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ISBN 9781250892164
PRICE $20.00 (USD)
PAGES 320

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Average rating from 177 members


Featured Reviews

Though I have been a fan of young adult fiction for decades, it’s been awhile since I have read and reviewed any YA fiction. I requested to read “Ellie Haycock is Totally Normal” by Gretchen Schreiber because it had an intriguing premise.

Being a teenager is rough but being a teenager with a chronic genetic illness can really suck. Ellie copes by balancing two identities—one in front of her friends (who know nothing about her illness) and her love interest, Jack, and another for her medical caregivers, other patients and her mom.

A lengthy stay at Coffman (an outpatient home near the hospital) poses challenges on Ellie and her relationships with the “high school” friends and Jack. Meanwhile, her mom does what she can to control Ellie’s narrative by blogging. The author does an excellent job of portraying teenager angst and the difficulties of being a square peg in a society full of round holes. In the wrong hands, this story could become sappily sweet or excessively maudlin but instead, it is neither.

Four out of five stars.

Thank you to the author, NetGalley and the publisher for the eARC of this novel.

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This was an enjoyable read. I think it will draw in many YA readers with its exploration of the usual teen issues involving friends, crushes, and parents but as experienced by a character living with a painful, disfiguring, chronic condition. Enlightening and engaging - the perfect combination!

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read a digital ARC in advance of publication in exchange for an honest review.

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I loved this book. The teen angst other reviewers have mentioned as a negative felt very believable to me from my own teen years and that's without adding "hospital life" onto my own teen girl issues. I hope this book can help others to feel seen and help them consider that maybe it's okay to let people in sometimes. This book took me back to the days of high school crushes and friendship drama that felt insurmountable until someone gave you the right advice to try to fix it. I am excited to read more from this author.

I was gifted a digital arc of this book from Netgalley. I voluntarily read and reviewed this book and all thoughts and opinions in it are my own and honest. I feel like I should also mention that I went to high school with this author (but no contact in over 15 years) and was overjoyed to hear she wrote a book. When I learned about it I IMMEDIATELY went to Netgalley to request it and support a fellow Spartan.

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NOTE: I received a free ARC of this book through NetGalley in exchange for my honest feedback.

I chose this book because I thought the title was interesting, and the cover was so cute! Ellie Haycock is a high school girl who essentially lives a Hannah Montana double-life: she has her school friends and a rocky relationship with her boyfriend, while having an entirely different group of friends (and crush??) at the hospital and community home. Although determined to keep these lives separate, she battles her mom's blogging, her friends' optimism, and her own distrust in the medical system in an effort to live as normal a life as possible.

This was exactly the kind of book I would have loved in early high school, when books about childhood medical trauma dominated the library shelves. I thought that Ellie was a character that I really wanted everything to work out for, and she was surrounded by quirky, positive, and unique friends. She not only tackled issues with her family, as most teens do, but really had to fight an internal battle and do some growing up by the end of the book. I also really appreciated that (spoiler alert!) no one died. I feel like death, while an obviously significant and traumatic life event, can help to shape characters, it's not the ONLY thing that can cause trauma. Ellie's medical and familial issues were so complex, and I really appreciated that the author took the time and energy to create much more nuanced issues for Ellie to explore and overcome. She was surrounded by great friends, caring family, and resilience to tackle challenges, and made her a much more empowering character.

Overall, this was an enjoyable YA book, and I think a lot of middle and high schoolers would really enjoy this! (It would also make a great TV miniseries/movie...)

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Review: Ellie Haycock is Totally Normal by Gretchen Schreiber

Ellie’s coming of age story is unique and immersing. Schreiber’s personal foreword at the beginning of the novel sets the stage for a meaningful exploration of what it means to live with disability as a child and the ins and outs of respectful and meaningful interactions.

I absolutely loved the characters in this story. They were great to connect with and learn from. I liked the development of the community throughout the story. It was akin to a found family story (my favourite).

Ellie, the protagonist, was a force to be reckoned with and her character development was careful and personalized. I liked how she stayed true to herself while learning how to be open and make meaningful connections.

This coming of age novel is an important addition to your tbr list. Thank you to St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for this ARC. All opinions are my own.

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A sweet and charming book I wasn't expecting. Ellie is such a lovely character. An angsty, stubborn teen going through all the normal things a teenager experiences, while dealing with her VATERs syndrome. A great book for a YA audience.

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A poignant novel about a rare disability, VATER syndrome, that requires frequent hospitalizations for MC Ellie Haycock. She learns to separate her real life friends from her hospital friends while her Mom blogs publicly about her illness. Written with great heart by the author, who has the same syndrome.

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Oh Ellie, I wish I was your friend so I could tell you that you are enough. This book is an honest and beautiful look at what it is like to grow up with a disability, specifically what hospital life does to your life-life. Thank you for this ARC!

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Ellie Haycock is a bundle of laughs, cries, and utmost enjoyable reading experience! Grab this one, your towel, and sunnies, and head to the beach! The perfect summer read!

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Well, aside from attempting to keep two parts of her life completely separate from one another while she navigates living with Vater Syndrome, but according to her (not Caitlin) that's totally normal. When her school life collides with her hospital life, Ellie must decide if her original prognosis was correct. Does everyone outside the Home eventually find hospital life too much to handle? Are hospital friendships really fleeting after all and does she even want them to end anymore now that she's met a new group of friends?

Ellie Haycock is Totally Normal doesn't sugarcoat illnesses. Unlike other books, we don't have quotable characters living to inspire those who haven't had to experience the pain, heartache, and confusion of hospital life. We have Ellie and she's telling it like it is no matter how uncomfortable it gets. The relationships in this book are difficult for our main character to navigate, including the relationship with her mom, and they feel more genuine for it. This book will stick with you.

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Ellie Haycock Is Totally Normal is a fictional look behind the curtain of a MC dealing with a long term illness since birth. The main thing I appreciated about this book is Ellie's honesty and bluntness; she isn't happy or positive throughout a lot of the book, and frequently struggles with her circumstances. I liked all of her friends and timeline of her relationship with Ryan (AKA Medical Coach), and found that they added a lot to the book. And the difficulties surround Ellie's mom's blog, I could not put the book down during these sections. I really enjoyed reading Ellie Haycock Is Totally Normal and would recommend it to YA readers.

Thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for this ARC; this is my honest and voluntary review.

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Synopsis (from Netgalley, the provider of the book for me to review.)
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Ellie Haycock has always separated her life into sections: Ellie at home and Ellie at the hospital. At home, Ellie is a typical student and proud member of her high school’s speech and debate team alongside her best friend and her boyfriend. At the hospital, Ellie has an ever-growing team of doctors and a mom who won’t stop posting about the details of her life and illness online. It’s not hard for Ellie to choose which of the two she prefers.

When Ellie is forced to return to the hospital for an extended stay, she worries about her two lives colliding, and all she wants is to get back home as soon as possible.

But this stay is different. Ellie becomes close with a group of friends including Ryan, a first-timer who’s still optimistic about the doctors that Ellie stopped trusting years ago. Despite their differences, she can’t seem to keep him out of her head. Ellie’s life has never been normal, but maybe between these fast friendships and falling in love, she can find her own version of normal.

What is normal? What is healthy? Is there something more nefarious at hand here? Adults and teens will enjoy this book as the mystery of Ellie’s life is presented and worked through. Ellie is a wonderful character to spend time with as she tries to find out what is normal … for the world and for her. And what does she WANT in her life to be real and normal? Well, that is the heart of this wonderfully written book that was a delight to read. #shortbutsweetreviews

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This is an absolute must read! Fantastic narrative about Ellie, who has a disability and her mother has always blonde about it. It’s a great statement on able ism and what’s called disability “inspiration porn” and why we need to start seeing other disability narratives. This is a great book to start with if you’re unfamiliar. Schreiber also has a great way of weaving an interesting story that kept me guessing how it would go, describing her condition in a way that’s accessible but also not pandering to the abled gaze, and an interesting and lovable cast of side characters. A perfect summer read!

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I will not lie. There are times where Ellie got on my last nerve but that shows the ability of Gretchen Schreiber’s writing. Throughout this book, it felt very vulnerable for both Ellie and her mom. You understand both of their perspectives on how they deal with Ellie’s illness. I think this would be a great book for middle schoolers and high schoolers.

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Okay, first off, wow. This book was so intricately detailed and really gave me an insight into what it’s like having a disease/disability. The only thing I wish would’ve been more detailed was the definition of VACTERLS. I had to look up what the disease actually was, but other than that, this book was amazing!

Ellie Haycock is a teenager who’s had around 40 surgeries because of her genetic disease. She constantly has to stay at a home the hospital provides with her mom due to medical concerns. She also separates her hospital life from her home life, which causes rifts in all of her friendships. Her boyfriend surprises her when she’s at Coffman, and ends up breaking up with her because she doesn’t want to tell him anything about her hospital life.

A lot of the story after that revolves around her wanting to get back to Jack (her ex boyfriend) to reconcile, but throughout the book, she bonds with another patient, Ryan, who has an unknown autoimmune disease. She slowly finds herself not wanting to get back to Jack, but to get closer to Ryan.

The book also has a valuable lesson in it; doctors aren’t always going to be able to fix everything. Ellie had a cough in her lungs the entire book, and even though she had surgery (that was unsuccessful), she still suffers from it. Her favorite doctor had his suspicions it was because of the ventilation and cleanliness of her school causing her cough since she had pretty bad lungs.

All in all, I definitely enjoyed this book.

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I LOVE THIS BOOK. Ellie is such a multi dimensional character and I fell deeply in love with her and Ryan. SO SAY WE ALL.

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