My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Wow, with all the changes around here, I forgot to review this book. I haven't read much this year that isn't molecular biology, and I'm finding it hard to commit to longer books. This one is short and easy to read. (YA tends to be that way.) I bought it as a gift for a 14(?)-year-old's birthday that is coming up, and because I wanted to read it (and because it's a Nutmeg Award nominee). It's too young for her, but I also got her Summer Sisters, which is probably too old for her, but she'll love it anyway.
In Waiting for Normal, Addie is 12 and her mom is getting divorced from her step-dad, Dwight. They move into a trailer while Dwight and Addie's two younger half-sisters (do two half-sisters make a whole?) move upstate for his work. Addie's mom seems to mean well, but she's a terrible mother. The reason she didn't get custody of the younger girls is that she left the three girls alone for several days. She doesn't work, and she spends the alimony check irresponsibly. She cares about her children, but she's a bad mother.
Addie is incurably hopeful. She makes friends easily and looks forward to the future, waiting for "normal", which she describes as a situation in which you know what to expect. Basically, she wants stability. She doesn't want to wonder if her mom is coming home for dinner, or at all.
She's really a very endearing character, and very believable. You want to think she'll be right, and everything will turn out ok, and she always tries to do the right thing. She's not annoyingly hopeful or moral, just admirably so. And her circumstances don't seem out of the ordinary. Just unfortunate.
I liked it. It's on par with the other 2011 Nutmeg Award nominees I've read (Chains, The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, and The Wednesday Wars). Looks like a good year for the Nutmeg.