The Opposite of Normal by Judy Walters

judywaltersIt’s a beautiful day here in San Clemente today and I’m heading out to run a few errands soon but before I step away, I wanted to share another book with you.  You may remember last April I introduced you to a wonderful, talented new author, Judy Walters who had just released her debut novel, Child of Mine.  Well, Judy is back with another new release titled The Opposite of Normal and I invited her to tell us more here on my blog.  So here’s a quick chat with Judy —


In a few sentences, can you tell us what The Opposite of Normal is about?

The Opposite of Normal is the story of a Rabbi, Mark, and his two teenaged children, Aaron and Hannah, who move to a small suburb from Manhattan to try to start over after the death of their wife and mother.   Told from each main character’s own point of view, the book delves into their struggles: Mark attempting to hold onto his job at a failing synagogue while trying to be an effective single parent, Aaron’s senior year of high school, a devastating decision he makes, and the consequences of that decision affecting his future, and Hannah’s confusion over her heritage as a Chinese adoptee living in a Jewish American family.

When Rabbi Mark Friedlander moves his teenage children from Manhattan to a quiet town in Northwestern New Jersey after the death of their mother, he hopes for a fresh start, a place for him and his children to heal while he leads a vibrant synagogue that will embrace them. What he gets instead is just the opposite.
His daughter, Hannah, twelve, struggles with grief, loneliness, and what it means to be Jewish as a Chinese adoptee. She wants to fit in, but that’s difficult in their new mostly white and Christian town–so she decides to secretly convert.
His son, Aaron, a senior in high school, is applying to Ivy League schools and counting down to when he can leave the small town–until he discovers a shocking secret that threatens his entire future.
Lurking in the shadows is a pastor who says he just wants to support the kids in his congregation, but is that all he really wants?
The Opposite of Normal is about what it means to love and accept, what it means to do the right thing, and what it means to heal after loss.

Why did you want to write this book?

As the mother of two teenagers, I’ve been anxious to write in the teenage voice, which this book allowed me to do.  I also believe strongly in “write what you know.” As a Jewish person who struggles with her faith a lot, I wanted to examine that, too.

What are you working on now?

A novel with an autistic character – a close friend has a severely autistic son and as I’ve watched his body grow to adulthood (he’s 22), and his mind remain in the toddler stage, I’ve wanted to explore what this is like.

Five things on your desk

Um…my 2013 taxes (yuck)…notes for The Opposite of Normal, bills, a calculator, and my old glasses.(In case I lose the new glasses and need to look for them, yes, this has happened to me before!)

What are your favorite things in life?

My husband and children, chocolate, reading, writing, and baking

Best thing about being a writer?

Wonderful emails from readers telling me my books touched them

Worst thing?



Thank you, Judy, for sharing with us today!  Readers do check out this new book from Judy and if you read it, do share your thoughts with her.  We authors love to get feedback from our readers!  🙂

To celebrate this lovely February day, I’ve got a mystery prize for one of you!  For a chance to win a fun prize pack with books, goodies and so much more, talk to me.  Tell me how your week is going and what plans you’ve got for the next few days.  You know I love to hear from you all!  Contest will run until Friday night with winner announced on Saturday!


  1. Well we have not big plans this week other then getting our taxes done sometime. We went out on Sunday and had a nice Valentine’s Day dinner. It was when we all could get together. The weather has been so cold and snowy its hard to get out unless you have to. I am so ready for spring.

  2. We are sifting through years of paper from my dad’s move and also doing some cleaning out of our own. Donating to charity and passing on to others things we realize need new life with someone else. I keep looking at Tiny Houses and thinking how little I would need in one…wondering if that is the way to go. And, reading, we do a lot of reading in this cold and recently icy time of the year. Good luck to you Judy on your newest release and on your work in progress. Thanks Jane for another good book suggestion.

  3. crazy. One day, the kids will have a normal, full week of school with no snow closures, delays, or early dismissals.

  4. This sounds like a very interesting book. I would love to read it. My week has been very busy already. I have been running a charity auction for a cat rescue and that has kept me busy. It ended Sunday night, so I have been extremely busy getting the totals and things ready to ship out. Today is my birthday, but no plans. I’m even cooking dinner like I usually do.

  5. I’m a former empty nester with my youngest child back home, having rescued her from a bad situation plus the addition of her girlfriend that got pregnant going the unconventional route–not an experience I’ve ever dealt with before. Taking each day as it comes. Hoping daughter can get a job soon. Glad we’re done with taxes. Refund just came in–something pleasant for this week. An elderly gentleman that I give rides to about once a month needed an unscheduled ride yesterday and today. I was happy to help; plus, it gave me time away from the house where I can read a book while waiting for the gentleman to be finished with appointments. Books are my source of happiness.

  6. I’m easing back into life and routines. I was sick for a few weeks and getting back on my feet seems to take longer these days. 🙂 The Opposite of Normal sounds really good…

  7. Congrats to Judy on her new release. Another new read for my TRL.This week is my youngest grandchild’s first birthday so we’ll be going to that party. Other then that it’ll be a quiet week.
    Carol L

  8. thanks for sharing. this week will go fast. today I had a dr’s appt which I moved from thursday since we are expecting another snow storm. tomorrow I go get weighed in (Jenny craig) friday I might go help at my niece’s middle one’s ballet birthday party. so far that is what I have planned still deciding on my plans for the weekend. hopefully also I’ll be finishing a book or 2 this week too.

  9. Well the week started with more snow, I’m sick of snow. The rest of the week will be spent in helpingmy granddaughter sell Girl Scout cookies.

  10. Sounds like an interesting book. I think we all struggle with our faith no matter what religion we are.

    I am heading back to work after being off for a week with the flu, so it will be interesting.

  11. Will have to check out this book. Week has been busy; doing Valentine preparations & organizing paperwork into file folders. Boyfriend is buying a house, so trying to keep him on top of things…

  12. Sounds like a great story, and I love the cover. As for me, the week has been good. Had dinner with my mom and 2 of my sisters on Sunday night. We spent 3 hours at the restaurant and had a great time. And tomorrow I am meeting a friend for a walk and lunch. It is so great to hang out with the women in my life. Hope your week is going well Jane!

  13. Trying to get through this LONG, cold Midwest winter…watching my older son coach basketball games in the tournament and keeping in touch with younger son in college

  14. Our plans are to continue to work on building the house just the two of us. Can’t wait till we can move. We are also believing for a job he desperately needs after being laid off all winter. We find out tomorrow.

  15. I went bowling with my sister and our friends. I’ll be working Friday and Saturday, just not looking forward to the snow we’re supposed to get.

  16. Well, forecasters are calling for 7-14 inches of snow her in VA, so I’m going to be staying home. I will probably end up cleaning out my room (finally). 😉

  17. thanks to another winter storm, it’s going to be a slow work week. Barnum and Bailey is in town so we have plans to see the circus this weekend. And tomorrow is “snow day” so plan is to stay in, be a lazy bug and read allllll day!

    Also, synopsis of Opposite of Normal intrigues me; my former boss who happens to be from Northwest Jersey, and is Jewish American has a 10 year old daughter they adopted from China. Life imitates art?

    ps. Have a Happy Birthday, Jane!

  18. The weather here in Louisiana is going to get somewhat icy overnight. I am so glad I have a lot of good books to choose from and I will need to be on the look out for the Opposite of Normal.

  19. Rainy and windy here in the Seattle area, after snow on Sunday. The sun is nowhere to be seen, you know this time of year. 🙂 Work, kids, and jury duty – I’m just hoping to spend time with my husband at some point.

  20. Since I’m a single mom with 3 beautiful boys I don’t have a lot of me time. Between working, the kids and being a full time student. I have been on School break and have started a new book this week. Reading is how I unwind from a fun filled day.

    Hope you have a wonderful birthday

  21. No plans for this week . Got my weekly allergy shots today. Fixing a valentine’s day dinner for the kids and hubby on Friday. Love the contests and your books!

  22. Taking a girlfriend out to lunch on Thursday who lost her job this week. I have an old kindle that I am going to let her borrow to read some great romance stories, to cheer her up. My heart bleeds for her.

  23. Hi Jane,
    I am finally back to work after being off for 10 days. I went to Las Vegas and had a blast but am actually so glad to get back into the swing of my normal routine again. Have a great week!


  24. Love this feature! Thanks for sharing! We are going to watch the Olympics Friday, my 5 years old plays hockey on Sunday, then a bday party…Sunday I teach cycling and them family time! Love the weekends!

  25. My week is going slow its been so cold and i ended up witha fever and a migrain for a few days. Started off kind of sad anyways my dad passed away a year ago on the 8th.I dont have any plans for valentines day i dont really celebrate it honestly I feel like if you love someone you love them all day everyday not just one day. And I am catching up on good books.

  26. Live in Canton, GA on a hill. Expecting ice storm and plan on being stuck in the house for several days – hopefully we will not lose power or heat. But we are happy, have our health and could not be more content. And I DO still have one of your books that I have been saving to read. Rereading “A Woman of Substance” by Barbara Taylor Bradford now and loving it again!!!!

  27. My week has been test and realizing that even though this is my last semester in college as an un traditional (older late 30s) student it does not get easier. My weekend will be finishing the remodel on my kitchen and studying for more test next week. LOL I really do love my life.

  28. Remember a little while back, you said you were having a rough time? Well, that’s where I am right now. And, being sick, having no friends or family to talk to about it, is making it even worse. I dealt with getting sick a long time ago, God has his reason’s for the paths he puts us on. I think it’s all the time I have, and nothing to do with it. I mean, I cook, clean, take care of my son, but then what? I read, journal, but there are 24 hours in every day, and unfortunately I am up for most of them. So, as you can see my week isn’t going very well. And, I have been beating my head against the wall so to speak trying to figure out what to do! If you have any idea’s, I would sure like to hear them. I bet right now, you are probably thinking, boy maybe I should have asked something else![ha-ha] At least I have my sense of humor. As always thank you Jane for a great giveaway. B

  29. Survived two more -15* mornings! This winter has been brutally cold!

    We have a frozen kitchen drain and 1 ruptured basement water pipe. I can’t wait for this winter to be over.

    On Saturday I’m spending the day babysitting my 2 yo granddaughter. I love playing and reading with her. She says the funniest things.

    Valentine’s Day spending it with my husband of 36 years cooking our favorite meal together.

  30. Nothing special. We have a ?big storm on the way and we will just stay in and light the fireplace and read. I love days like that!

  31. It looks like an interesting story. We have just got back into our house after the ice storm knocked out our power for six days. Today will be a scramble to get ready for the next big storm coming tonight. Fingers crossed that we don’t lose power again.

  32. What an intriguing blog.
    I usually don’t read stories like this but I think I will have to give it a try.
    I am a real HEA kind of reader but this book really sounds interesting.

    Expecting yucky weather in Georgia. It is raining now. Where i live I don’t think i will have to worry about ice but who knows for sure. Just hard to stay warm this winter. It feels so cold with the wet mixed in.
    I have to take my mom to get her hair done today and run some errands, buy Valentines and the grocery store. Just the usual stuff. 🙂

  33. Spending all my free time this week watching the Olympics. I love them! Other than that I’ll be working, taking kids to activities and planning a special family meal for Valentines day.

  34. What a great post & this book sounds so interesting. The premise grabbed me! Well, next few days are all about Valentine’s Day – such a fun holiday. I planned a girls’ Happy Hour & dinner for tomorrow night & then on the actual Valentine’s Day night a nice dinner at an Italian restaurant with my husband. Happy Valentine’s Day! <3

  35. Thank you for sharing! This week is better then last for sure. Both of my boys are on the mend from being sick. We are sick of snow though. We don’t have much planned for V-Day yet.

  36. Awesome post and the book looks fab! My week is going good so far, bit rainy weather wise but good. The weekend involves me catching up on some reading the new Teresa Carpenter ! Thanks for the fun contest!

  37. I remember “Child of Mine”. I read it back then and really enjoyed reading it. I’ll be sure to try out “The Opposite of Normal”.
    My week is busy with baking. I love it though. But sometimes I just bake way to much for my little family. I need a bigger one to eat all that I bake 🙂
    Have a great Valentines Day week and congratulations to Judy on her new release.

  38. I got my taxes done on Sunday. I hope to have my refund by the end of the month. I plan to go to France this Summer and I plan to use the money towards my trip. I have my flight already booked. Next on my list is finding a hotel in Paris.

  39. My week is going great! Work was cancelled today and working from home tomorrow because of ice-storms. I’m loving it!

  40. Actually, I my weeks are all the same as to run together. I am my mother’s full time caretaker, so I am always at home with her. I take care of her, the house, my husband, daughter, and dog…LOL
    The exciting thing about this week is tax refund. Yay, now I can do a few repairs… 🙂 On Valentine’s Day we will get seafood from our local restaurant and have a quiet night.

  41. Ugh, taxes are sitting on my desk too…I think I’ll ignore them this weekend though. It’s a long weekend for me, so I’m looking forward to a least one lazy morning on the couch in my pj’s with a big cup of coffee 🙂

  42. It’s Been A Crazy Busy Week For My Family. From Zumba Classes To A PTA Conference Dinner FOr Our Teachers.An Assembly For My Daughters Good Grades And Much More.

  43. I’m enjoying Florida’s great weather. Also looking at a boring Valentines Day-seeing my cute dermatologist will be the highlight.

  44. I’m excited because my mom and stepdad are visiting this weekend, as are my brother and sister-in-law, for my daughter’s 5th birthday! We’re having a big party with all of her friends tomorrow, she’s super excited for it!

  45. Brutal week at work and now just trying to catch up on the kids’ projects, errands and cleaning the house. Not doing anything for valentines day except hoping to be able to Skype with my husband who is living on the other side of the country.

  46. Hi everyone, Loved all the comments – thanks so much for sharing what you’ve been up to!

    Our winner is #55 Jenny Jaydena Duncan!

    Drop me an email, Jenny, with your mailing info and I’ll get prize in the mail asap.

    love to all,

  47. My week was long…very long. Work was crazy bust this week and it was so cold down here in Florida. However, Saturday got here and I got to have a mommy/daughter day with my 15 y.o. and it was perfect.

  48. I think I am too late for the contest but let me give you the lowdown anyway. My family is settling my father’s estate so these past days have been stressful. I also just went back to work after my maternity leave and that has also been stressful. My daughter has been having health problems, so again, more stress. I am now developing some health problems myself, so possibly due to stress? I count my blessings every day though and try to share and pass on the legacy that my Dad taught us. To help others and brighten the day of someone in need.

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