As someone who works with quieter, more withdrawn young people, I was particularly drawn to this book. Many of them wish to feel special, loved, uniquely valued, but at the same time they want to fit in and not feel weird or totally different from their peers. Being ordinary is boring in an age of The X Factor, but being extraordinary is scary, and many young people have unrealistic or low aspirations as a result.
Nick Luxmoore is a school counsellor who recounts tales of young people who struggle in different ways to find out who they really are in this complex world. Their stories are interesting, and probably very familiar to school, family and youth workers, but I would have welcomed more detail to the problems described.
The concept of ordinariness gets a bit lost within these stories, and other issues soon become apparent - attachment, loss and bereavement, lack of self-esteem, academic failure, separation anxiety and eating disorders to name but a few. I was a bit disappointed that the focus strayed, but I could see how these stories could be used to discuss issues with young people to help them work towards their own solutions - help them to see that they are both very similar to and yet, each in their own way, quite different from anyone else.
Bronach Hughes, emotional health and wellbeing manager, ContinYou