PositiveColumbia Journal...an addictive account of the relationship between two brainy college students ... Normal People is a moodier and tighter novel than twenty-eight-year-old Rooney’s debut novel, Conversations with Friends... the story begins in high school and never loses the delicious gravitas of angst. It could be named Things that Don’t Come Up in Conversations with Friends. To list a few: crushing class anxiety, the lasting damage of childhood abuse, sincere political ardor. But Rooney’s most robust subject, and arguably her most taboo, is the unsettling effect of real human intimacy ... Rooney posits that true intimacy leads to self-annihilation, a fate that Marianne desires and Connell resists. Rooney calls our bluff when we say we want love. Look, she gestures, is this really what you want?