Something like Normal
by Trish Doller
New Adult Realistic Contemporary
Release Date: June 19,2012
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children's USA
Average Goodreads Rating: 3.92
Before I get into my review, here's the 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.
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.
My Overall Thoughts/Impressions: Let's just say I loved this one. Seriously that's all I need to say.
Okay, since I'm supposed to be writing a review of this novel, I'll say a little bit more than that.
Travis has just returned from Afghanistan and everything is a mess. He watched his best friend die in front of him; his brother stole his girlfriend and his car; he has to deal with his father again; and his parents seem to be splitting up. Yep, life is not looking good for Travis.
And then he meets Harper. Travis unintentionally ruined Harper's life when she was only thirteen. So he's the last person she wants to see. She even punches him when she first sees him. And then something starts developing between Travis and Harper, but will it be enough to overcome both of their pasts?
I loved this novel for multiple reasons. Reason one, it was told from a male's perspective. So rarely do we get a story from just a male's perspective. Oftentimes, we get it from split personalities or from the girl's, but I loved diving into Travis's mind.
Travis was far from perfect. In fact, in some ways he was a really messed up guy. He has slept around with several girls, has bad language, and doesn't respect his parents. But he was just such a good guy. He cared about his mom and wanted what was right for her and he cared about Harper. He tried to do the right thing. He really was honorable.
I loved Travis's character and watching him deal with all of the issues that came from fighting in the war. Travis is easily one of my favorite literary characters.
Then there was Harper. I absolutely loved Harper. She was just so incredible. She was a strong woman and I loved the way she looked at life.
I loved the writing style in this novel too. Doller didn't shy away from dealing with tough issues. I really loved that. Her debut novel was fabulous and I can't wait to see what she does with her sophomore novel.
In Summary: Doller is a master at writing profound young adult/new adult fiction. Her characters are realistic, flawed, and beautiful. Doller has made a fan out of me and I'll definitely be adding her to my must-read list.
Warnings/Side-notes: This book is New Adult/Mature Young Adult. It talks about a 19-year-old dealing with PTSD. It has several instances of foul language and several sexual references. They are not graphic, but are definitely meant for a more mature audience.
The Wrap-up: This book is just beautiful. I absolutely loved it. I'm so glad I read it. If you're like me, you've heard a million people tell you read this one. You might have even been skeptical. I was, but I've been converted. This book is a must-read.
Up Next: I'm Not Her by Janet Gutler