Review: Something Like Normal by Trish Doller

Something Like NormalSomething Like Normal by Trish Doller

Hardcover, 224 pages
Publish Date: June 19th 2012
Publication: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Source: eArc received from publisher in exchange for an honest review

Synopsis From Goodreads:

When Travis returns home from a stint in Afghanistan, his parents are splitting up, his brother’s stolen his girlfriend and his car, and he’s haunted by nightmares of his best friend’s death. It’s not until Travis runs into Harper, a girl he’s had a rocky relationship with since middle school, that life actually starts looking up. And as he and Harper see more of each other, he begins to pick his way through the minefield of family problems and post-traumatic stress to the possibility of a life that might resemble normal again. Travis’s dry sense of humor, and incredible sense of honor, make him an irresistible and eminently lovable hero.

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Something Like Normal was one of my most anticipated reads of 2012 and it did not disappoint! I really loved this book. It is a remarkable story and so powerful and amazing. The protagonist, Travis, is home on leave after serving a year in Afghanistan and recently witnessing the death of his best friend. Travis is not the same person he was when he left. And he finds that things at home have changed drastically while he was gone.

Travis is doing the best he can just to get through each day, and he makes mistakes along the way. He is broken and scared and wonders if things will ever get back to 'normal'. Watching Travis suffer while reliving his horrible memories again and again was heartbreaking and painful.

I think I really liked Travis because of his fallibility. He is not a perfect character, he has flaws and makes mistakes, yet he is fully aware of his shortcomings. I loved him for that.

Harper is the girl that Travis inadvertently started a rumor about when they were younger. They meet again while Travis is back home, and you can tell that something good is going to come from them hanging out. Harper is sweet and caring, but at the same time steady and independent, and she knows exactly who she is. She is not so easily won over, and makes Travis work for their friendship. I thought she was a strong character to want to take on Travis and his problems, especially because of their history together. I ended up really liking Harper.

Travis's family has a ton of issues, and it was all so realistically portrayed. His Mother was so caught up in worrying about Travis being in Afghanistan that she basically stopped living her own life. (Travis has a few sweet moments with his Mother that made the mom in me melt and want to hold him close.) His Dad was a total jerk, and his brother is not much better. Then he finds out his ex-girlfriend is sleeping with his brother. Awkward! Knowing his family is falling apart is a lot for Travis to deal with, and he struggles to cope with his new reality.

This book deals with a lot of tough issues, but it is not without humor and some light and fun moments to balance the story out. It's not all about the romance either. It is a very realistic story about Travis struggling to find his way in life. (I think due the age of the characters and the situations that are dealt with, this would be considered part of the 'New Adult' genre. It doesn't matter what label you put on it - it's a very touching story and I highly recommend it.)

I received an ebook ARC from Bloomsbury Children's Books via NetGalley. No money or favors were exchanged for this review. This book's expected publication date is June 19, 2012.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
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1 comment:

  1. I can't wait to read this book...even more so now after reading your review. Thanks for sharing!


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