Title: Something Like Normal
Author: Trish Doller
Publish date: June 19th 2012 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens
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.
Something Like Normal by Trish Doller is an utterly engrossing contemporary read.
Very often, I find male contemporary leads either hard to believe or just plain off-putting, but that wasn’t the case here. Travis isn’t cheesily waxing poetic about his feelings for Harper, but they come through clearly. He feels so authentic, but doesn’t make the jump into douchebaggery.
I also loved that, although this is a romance, the larger story here is about Travis’s journey. He is fractured and changed after his experiences in Afghanistan and that changes his relationships with family and friends when he comes home. He’s reconciling the things person he was with the person he is now, and trying to figure out where the two overlap.
I don’t know any Marines personally, but I found the portrayal of Travis and his friends very realistic. I also freakin’ loved Harper. I adored how she stood up for herself and though she isn’t the main character in this book, it goes to show you that a female character doesn’t have to literally kick ass to be a strong female character.
I devoured the book quicker than I expected as it’s rather short and was sad to see it end, but I look forward to future works by Trish Doller!
Need a second opinion?
“If you are looking for a contemporary book to knock your socks off, a book that could fall under the new adult category, you NEED to read Something Like Normal.” – Good Books and Good Wine
“This was one of the most realistic books I’ve ever read.” -Hello, Chelly
“Something Like Normal certainly packed a punch for a book that was shorter than I expected.” -Alexa Loves Books