Author: T.J. Klune
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Rating: 4.5 stars
Received from Publisher
Blurb: Gustavo Tiberius is not normal. He knows this. Everyone in his small town of Abby, Oregon, knows this. He reads encyclopedias every night before bed. He has a pet ferret called Harry S. Truman. He owns a video rental store that no one goes to. His closest friends are a lady named Lottie with drag queen hair and a trio of elderly Vespa riders known as the We Three Queens.
Gus is not normal. And he’s fine with that. All he wants is to be left alone.
Until Casey, an asexual stoner hipster and the newest employee at Lottie’s Lattes, enters his life. For some reason, Casey thinks Gus is the greatest thing ever. And maybe Gus is starting to think the same thing about Casey, even if Casey is obsessive about Instagramming his food.
But Gus isn’t normal and Casey deserves someone who can be. Suddenly wanting to be that someone, Gus steps out of his comfort zone and plans to become the most normal person ever.
After all, what could possibly go wrong?
Review: Gustavo Tiberius leads an ordered life. Each day when he wakes, he gets up, does his push ups, checks the daily inspirational message waiting for him on the calendar given to him by the We Three Queens (a trio of women who may be sisters or may be in a polyamorous relationship – Gus has never been quite game enough to ask), feeds Harry S Truman (the ferret inherited from his father, Pastor Tommy), showers, shaves, dresses for work at the video rental store he owns (also inherited from his father), and places Harry S Truman in his carrier before they head out to Lottie’s Lattes for his morning coffee. Every day, he tells himself today is going to be an okay day. Gus likes it like that. He likes routine, he likes knowing what to expect. Gus also has resting bitch face, a snarky reply always at the ready, and three lesbians and a coffee shop owner who always looked out for him and he considered his friends (even though Lottie insists on using alliteration for her shop’s name). Sure, he may get lonely (not that he’s ever actually admit to that) and he misses his father, but he has a job, he has his friends and life is okay. Right up until he walks into Lottie’s Lattes one morning to find a hipster stoner behind the counter where Lottie should be. And he instagrammed Gus! Who does that?!
Casey Richards, needing a change of pace and scenery, has moved to the quiet town of Abby and is working for his aunt at Lottie’s Lattes. When Gus first meets Casey, he has no idea how to deal with the obviously stoned (hey, it was Casey’s first day on the job, he was nervous!), gorgeous hipster who insisted on photographing Gus and posting it to Instagram, oh my god! Casey is smitten with his Grumpy Gus from the get go and sets about slowly working his way into Gus’ heart.
To begin with, I wasn’t entirely sure I particularly liked either MC, although I certainly found them both interesting and highly amusing. Gus. He is completely adorkable (he would so hate that description!). It took a little while to get to know him, but I grew to adore him. Quite a lot. I have to admit Casey’s love for pot made it harder for me to warm to him. Yes, I know in the blurb it states he’s a stoner, so I didn’t start reading this book unaware of that. I completely own that it’s my personal dislike, but I found it difficult to really connect fully to the character. Even so, I completely loved him for Gus. He brought out the fun in Gus. Casey pushed him out of the comfort zone he had settled into after the death of his father, causing Gus to be less withdrawn from the world around him. I absolutely adored their banter and the love that grew between them. The pacing of their developing relationship felt really natural. It was relatively slow, but it was never boring. I also really liked how both Gus’ quirkiness and Casey’s asexuality were dealt with in the context of their relationship. Again, it felt very organic.
The other relationship I loved most in this book is the one between Gus and his father, Pastor Tommy. With Pastor Tommy having died three years before this story starts, their relationship is shown in little vignettes and is beautifully done. Even shown in snippets, it was wonderful and my heart ached at times for the unfairness of life (even the fictional kind). The other side characters – the We Three Queens, Lottie and Casey’s trio of friends – provided some fantastic humour and we’re certainly no mere cardboard cut-outs! Sometimes larger than life, but never caricatures.
The humour. Oh my god, the humour! It was laugh out loud. It was perfect. It carried the story and the characters without becoming slapstick (well, too slapstick. A little slapstick was just right), and regularly had me laughing out loud. I adored the three maybe sisters/maybe polyamorous lesbians, except for maybe Bernice. Her level of fangirling was downright scary!
How To Be A Normal Person is funny and sweet. It is a story about love. From the romantic love between Gus and Casey to the love of friendship and the familial love Pastor Tommy had for his son, this book beautifully shows it in its myriad forms.