Normal People

Cover of the book, Normal People.

Written by:

Published by: Faber & Faber


3.88, based on 274,748 reviews.

Goodreads says:

At school Connell and Marianne pretend not to know each other. He’s popular and well-adjusted, star of the school soccer team while she is lonely, proud, and intensely private. But when Connell comes to pick his mother up from her housekeeping job at Marianne’s house, a strange and indelible connection grows between the two teenagers—one they are determined to conceal.A year later, they’re both studying at Trinity College in Dublin. Marianne has found her feet in a new social world while Connell hangs at the sidelines, shy and uncertain. Throughout their years in college, Marianne and Connell circle one another, straying toward other people and possibilities but always magnetically, irresistibly drawn back together. Then, as she veers into self-destruction and he begins to search for meaning elsewhere, each must confront how far they are willing to go to save the other.Sally Rooney brings her brilliant psychological acuity and perfectly spare prose to a story that explores the subtleties of class, the electricity of first love, and the complex entanglements of family and friendship.

Waterstones says:

Exclusive Edition - printed on board with foiled detail on the jacket, redesigned endpapers a ribbon marker and top and tail bands.

Winner of the Costa Novel Award 2018

Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2018.

Longlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize 2019

Longlisted for the Women's Prize for Fiction 2019

Chosen as one of our Waterstones’ Best Books to Look Out for in September.

Marianne is the young, affluent, intellectual wallflower; Connell is the boy everyone likes, shadowed by his family’s reputation and poverty. Unlikely friends, and later lovers, their small town beginnings in rural Ireland are swiftly eclipsed by the heady worlds of student Dublin. Gradually their intense, mismatched love becomes a battleground of power, class, and the falsehoods they choose to believe.

Normal People is a tale of deceptive simplicity, a very accessible narrative of two seemingly mismatched young people who share a profound, inescapable understanding. Beyond that however is something properly universal, a study of how one person can forever shape and impact another. Marianne and Connell emerge almost shockingly real and deeply vulnerable in their different ways.

Following her incandescent debut Conversations with Friends, Sally Rooney has quickly evolved into perhaps the most nuanced contemporary observer we have. Brimming with longing, regret and intimacy, Normal People is everything we keep saying as a culture we need from our fiction. It is a story that is absolutely universal to us all, and it is brilliant.

"Normal People is fiction at its brightest and most inclusive in a universally relatable modern romance which has been a favourite amongst our booksellers and customers. Clever yet unpretentious, literary yet highly approachable, it is that rare gift of a novel which can be enjoyed by readers of all tastes." – Bea Carvalho, Waterstones Fiction Buyer

Rating breakdown

3.88 out of 5 stars (274,748 ratings)
5 31% (84,855 ratings)
4 38% (103,168 ratings)
3 22% (60,905 ratings)
2 7% (19,304 ratings)
1 2% (6,516 ratings)

AskAFriend Reviews

  • I came here to write a review, a review of a book. That book is Normal People by Sally Rooney. The book I read is hardback. And is green on the cover with an excellent shine to it, which instantly draws you. There is writing on the front announcing the book was longlisted for The Man Booker Prize. I thought it would be great. Then I didn’t. Because It wasn’t. There is a huge hype for this book, the media love it. I expected that hype to live up to my expectations. It didn’t. I was bored. You are now bored. Right?

    Hopefully you get the point, the writing style of this book was just far too mundane for me and I found myself wondering off inside my own head into thoughts that had no connection to the book at all, but luckily for me, this is the type of story you could easy skip three chapters and feel as if you didn’t miss a thing.

    I am still left curious as to whether this really is a story set in Sligo and Dublin? Or was that a misprint? I felt as if I was stuck in one of those teen movies from America, you know the type? weird rich girl meets poor sports boy and they make a perfect pair. If only it weren’t for popular sports boy’s idiotic friends constantly teasing and bullying weird rich girl. Also, are there a lot of indoor swimming pools in Irish homes?

    I couldn’t connect with the characters in this book, did Sally Rooney purposely want us to hate every single one of them except for Marianne, Connell and Lorraine? Did everyone need to be so hateful and rude? I feel she did this so we would sympathise more with the main characters. Which to be honest just annoyed me even more.

    You are probably asking me now ‘so what is the book about’? I only wish I had a clue. Sally beats it into us throughout the book that these characters are special, somehow different to the people around them, their families, their peers. But I just don’t see it. And maybe that is the point, that in the end they are just as normal as everyone else.

    I have given this book 2 stars based on some of the writing, there is no doubt here that Sally Rooney is a good writer, and this book will appeal to a lot of young adults. But it just didn’t do it for me. It lacked depth and didn’t at all seem like a story that could be plausible. I will be baffled for a long time as to how this book managed to be nominated for so many awards, also being awarded Waterstones book of the year.

    Feb 16, 2019 @ 12:00 PM

About Sally Rooney

Sally Rooney was born in 1991 and lives in Dublin, where she graduated from Trinity College. Her work has appeared in Granta, The Dublin Review, The White Review, The Stinging Fly, and the Winter Pages anthology....
[Read more about Sally Rooney]

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