The bad thing about hype is that it usually lets you down. I'd heard exciting reviews of Waiting for Normal, but in the end, it turned out to be pretty run-of-the-mill.
Addie is waiting for normal. But Addie's mom has an all-or-nothing approach to life: a food fiesta or an empty pantry, jubilation or gloom, her way or no way. All or nothing never adds up to normal. All or nothing can't bring you all to home, which is exactly where Addie longs to be, with her half sisters, every day. In spite of life's twists and turns, Addie remains optimistic. Someday, maybe, she'll find normal.
Waiting for Normal reminded me of last year's A Crooked Kind of Perfect: the odds are stacked against our small-town heroine, but she reaches down and pulls through. Actually, that describes about 1.356 million middle-grade novels, but hey, you know what I mean. It had a similar flavor.
I'm getting tired of the same old cast: 1 (one) resilient girl, 1 (one) character who dies (preferably of cancer), 1 (one) dysfunctional parent, 1 (one) wild card. In this case, the variable is a really nice guy who happens to have a boyfriend, but that's no big deal and never raises any concerns.
These stories typically get pre-award-season buzz, but when all is said and read, they blur together.