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Publisher's Summary

Longlisted for the 2018 Man Booker Prize.

Winner of Novel of the Year at the An Post Irish Book Awards.

Winner of the Costa Novel Award.

Longlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize.

"[Rooney] has been hailed as the first great millennial novelist for her stories of love and late capitalism...[she writes] some of the best dialogue I've read." (The New Yorker)

From celebrated author Sally Rooney, "the literary phenomenon of the decade" (The Guardian): a universal story of love, friendship, and growing up.

At school, Connell and Marianne pretend not to know each other. He’s popular and well-adjusted, star of the school football team, while she is lonely, proud, and intensely private. But when Connell comes to pick his mother up from her 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 at university, Marianne and Connell circle one another, straying toward other people and possibilities but always magnetically, irresistibly drawn back together. And 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.

©2019 Sally Rooney (P)2019 Random House Audio

What the critics say

"[Narrator] Aoife McMahon, a skillful actor with a gorgeous Irish accent, makes each personality idiosyncratic and believable, and perfectly captures their confusion at being young and emotionally innocent, and trying to be decent but with no idea how to manage it. Rooney's subtle writing and engrossing plot work with McMahon's nimble and witty performance to balance your sympathies on a knife edge between these unforgettable characters." (AudioFile Magazine)

“I’m transfixed by the way Rooney works, and I’m hardly the only one...like any confident couturier, she’s slicing the free flow of words into the perfect shape.... She writes about tricky commonplace things (text messages, sex) with a familiarity no one else has.” (The Paris Review

"This superb book more than lives up to the high expectations set for it by Rooney's lauded first novel.... Showcasing Rooney's focus and ability in building character relationships that are as subtle and infinite as real-life ones, and her perceptive portrayal of class, Normal People gets at the hard work of becoming a person and the near impossibility of knowing if a first love is a true one." (Booklist)  

"I went into a tunnel with this book and didn’t want to come out. Absolutely engrossing and surprisingly heart-breaking with more depth, subtlety, and insight than any one novel deserves. Young love is a subject of much scorn, but Rooney understands the cataclysmic effects our youth has on the people we become. She has restored not only love’s dignity, but also its significance." (Stephanie Danler, author of Sweetbitter)  

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
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  • stevekaw
  • Mount Airy, MD United States
  • 2019-04-21

Compelling characters and story.

Sally Rooney creates an intimate universe around the two main characters which makes for a memorable journey.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • D. Bailey
  • 2019-04-20

Beautiful, compelling

The story is so compelling and engrossing, the writing is beautiful, and the narrator is excellent. It’s overall just a dream of a novel. I felt I lived in the world of this book during the hours I listened, and it’s so worthwhile.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Marcey Fox
  • 2019-05-04

Really...

Kinda random... the ending? You think one thing and when it ends you thnk something else is supposed to happen. I had to rewind to see if I missed something but no, Iistened to the same random ending with no logical ending. I am missing a chapter?

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2019-05-02

Pointless

I’m sure I missed something insightful about these characters or their story because I found it all incredibly boring and pointless. Good narration.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Shellie Tucker
  • 2019-04-26

An exquisite novel.

There’s a spare quality to this novel that is fantastically beautiful. The story lingers on its characters as they mature in an unflinching, loving way, not hesitating from delving into their complexity. It feels rare to read about goodness in characters—how love changes us.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • christine
  • 2019-04-23

So boring

I couldn't finish this book. So if something happened at the end, that brought some life into this story, then it was my bad.
The narrator was really good, The character build up was good. But the story.ZZZZZZZZZZZ

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Beth
  • Snellville, GA
  • 2019-05-15

Boring and Insipid

Honestly, I kept waiting for something,,,ANYTHING...to happen.. I have read slice-of-life books before that were entertaining or even riveting.. The characters in this book are one-dimensional and monotonous.. The story meanders here and there but nothing of consequence ever really happens. Don't waste your time.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2019-05-15

How Depressing!

I was in to the changing complexities of a relationship for awhile, and then it just got depressing. Not for me!

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  • zdxx
  • San Francisco
  • 2019-05-14

Well done!

I dont understand why other reviewers hated this book (although it was either all loved or all hated). This story was great! Sure, the ending was abrupt, but isnt that life in general? Nothing comes up neatly wrapped with a bow. Great story, great narration.

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  • George Bebensee
  • Georgetown, KY USA
  • 2019-05-13

Intensely Focused

This book fascinated me from beginning to end. I like how it focuses the reader's field of perception intensely on the minds of the two main characters. The story and the prose are pared down so cleanly and dramatically that every sentence feels sharp, and a single word can be a bullet. As the characters move through time, they don't develop so much as become clear--or, at least, clearer--to themselves. This novel is excellent.