How to Be a Normal Person by TJ Klune ~ Buddy Review by Christine and Paisley

HowToBeANormalPersonTitle: How to Be a Normal Person

Author: TJ Klune

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Cover Artist: Reese Dante

Christine’s Rating: 5.00 of 5 Stars
Paisley’s Rating: 5.00 of 5 Stars

Publication Date: 10/16/2015

Length: Novel (~ 50K-100K)

Genre: Contemporary, Gay Fiction, Humor/Comedy, M/M Romance


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?

Christine’s View:

I fell in love with this book. Hard.  Just take a moment, if you will, and read the blurb. I’ll wait…

Now, imagine, based upon the premise and promise you’ve read, all the hilarity and quirkiness that could possibly be held within the pages. Yep, it’s all there. And more. During this entire book, I was either laughing out loud, grinning like a madwoman, or holding onto my chest for fear my heart would break. With his uncanny talent for characterization and knack for creating hilarious life events and dialogue, TJ Klune has crafted yet another captivating and enchanting romance. I won’t go into a great amount of detail in analyzing the master storytelling here; rather, I will simply tell you how incredibly fun, sweet, and touching this book is.

I adored “Grumpy Gus” and his comically painful journey out of his shell of grief and loneliness. In his attempts to become a “normal person” and woo the asexual stoner hipster Casey, Gus infiltrates the reader’s heart and takes up residence there, scowl and all. Learning to text and installing the Internet (the customer service conversation is priceless, by the way) are just the beginning of Gus’s adventure into “normality.” His path is punctuated by literal and figurative Internet missteps and misinterpretations, and the advice he receives from his website of choice is some of the most creative, amusing, and, ultimately, common-sense writing I’ve ever read.

Clever, snarky, and laugh-out-loud funny events are set in motion, and unconventional relationships are established and begin to blossom upon the pages. The wacky, lovable characters of Abby, Oregon, are met and immediately loved: Lottie (of Lottie’s Lattes), Harry S. Truman (the Ferret with Merit), and The We Three Queens (who win The Most Ambiguous Relationship award). Casey is simply precious, and even though the story is told from Gus’s third-person POV, Casey’s character is vivid, fully-developed and just the sweetest, most appealing asexual-stoner-hipster ever! It is hard not to fall for these two and root for their engaging “opposites attract” relationship. They just fit, and their awkward steps towards one another, oftentimes around and in spite of all of their well-meaning and kooky friends, create a charming dance to watch.

I absolutely loved everything about this book; however, my favorite parts are the glimpses of Gus’s deceased father, Pastor Tommy. Pastor Tommy’s love for Gus–and Gus’s reciprocation–is clearly and beautifully defined through brief yet powerful flashbacks. His voice is one of the most exquisitely tender and authentic I’ve ever read, exuding wisdom, humor, and parental devotion that had me chuckling one moment and in tears the next.

I simply cannot recommend this book highly enough. With both good-natured barbs and affectionate nods to social media, the Internet, pop culture, and the antitheses to all of these, it has something for everyone. Clever, witty, and romantic, it’s going on my “All Time Favorites” shelf.  I give it #FiveHipStars (get it? Winky-face).

Paisley’s View:

Every once in a while I read a story that is so awesome I think to myself, I must share this book with all of my loved ones, for they must experience this! Then I realize that if I did actually give said book to all of my friends and family they would see what a complete lunatic I am. TJ Klune must have written this book for me because it’s true, I am not a normal person, and I love stories about quirky and endearing characters (especially hipster stoners and ferret-owning landlords.)

It’s only February, but I can say with confidence that this will be my favorite story of the year. I mean, what could be more outstanding than a very lonely and uber-quirky dude and his wacky townsfolk, colliding with the most adorable asexual, hipster stoner, who also happens to be a 23 year old semi-famous author of paranormal fiction? It is so fabulous it’s beyond my ability to describe it.

But wait, there’s more. The uber-quirky dude lost his best friend (his dad) to cancer, and the word bong is frequently used when reminiscing about his dad. Our hero wears pajama pants with pictures of Yassar Arafat on them, and hence they are his Yasser Aarapants.  Oh, and he owns a flip phone, runs a video rental store and doesn’t use the Internet. It’s like you can’t make that stuff up, yet TJ Klune did, and I am so thankful for it.

What makes a book like this so special are the characters. All of them are sensational. The entire town of Abby made me giggle. I have such a soft spot for stories about imperfect people who fit perfectly together. All of the hilarious details that go along to support the plot are just the icing on the cake.

So, if you are cool with reading a story where the term “wake and bake” is used, and you are not offended by that (or even know what it means and have used the expression yourself), and understand that one character is asexual, and therefore the pages are not filled with explicit sexual antics, then you need to read this book.

It is impressive to me that one human being can invent this madness and create a very decent story in the process. It is more than a love story, it’s all about the human need for connection. I knew TJ Klune was a talented writer, but this hilarious story makes him completely epic!


How to Be a Normal Person on Goodreads
Dreamspinner Press
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon CA
All Romance eBooks

I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.

Farewell Giveaway
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.

Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,

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One thought on “How to Be a Normal Person by TJ Klune ~ Buddy Review by Christine and Paisley

  1. Oh, Ladies, I’m with you on this. I was worried about this leap that TJ was taking…but he nailed it. And me.

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