Peta Lyre’s Rating Normal (Anna Whateley, A&U)
Peta Lyre is an atypical girl living in a typical world. Her best mate says she has so many letters that they almost make up the alphabet—ADHD, ASD, SPD. Fiercely intelligent and acutely aware of how others perceive her, Peta uses meds and her therapist’s rules to govern her everyday interactions, and can usually do so without attracting attention. It’s a delicate balance and some days are easier than others. When new girl Sam arrives at school, this balance is thrown off and Peta begins to wonder if she is capable of love and ‘normal’ relationships after all, and how much of herself she is losing by conforming to the standards of others. This is an excellent Own Voices exploration of a neurodiverse teenager. Peta’s struggles as she tries to navigate friends, school, family and relationships are examined in a frank and intensely personal way, and her story could only have been written by an author who has lived this reality. It is this authenticity that adds a layer of complexity and truth that shines throughout the novel. Highly compelling, intensely moving and ultimately hopeful, this book heralds the arrival of a talented new young adult author.
Erin Wamala has worked in publishing and bookselling, and is now a teacher librarian and an older readers judge for the 2020 CBCA Awards