{Review} Something Like Normal by Trish Doller

{Review} Something Like Normal by Trish DollerSomething Like Normal by Trish Doller
Published by Bloomsbury USA Children's on June 19, 2012
Genres: New Adult
Pages: 224
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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.

Kassiah: If you saw my flaily updates on twitter and goodreads, you already know that I loved this book with the fire of a thousand suns. There are so many things that I love about it, and even though it’s relatively short and a pretty quick read at just over 200 pages, I have a hard time pinpointing everything I love about it. So I made a list, in no particular order:

  1. Travis. Okay I lied. This is in some kind of order because you guise. This boy is so swoony. Except, he’s not a boy–he’s a man. Travis is home on a thirty-day leave after being in Afghanistan for several months. His best friend was killed, and though he’s putting up a good front, he isn’t dealing with it very well. One of the things that I love the most about him is even when he’s strong and confident, he has this vulnerability about him. Plus, he’s insanely hot.

    “If my dreams were about you, Harper, it would make sleeping a whole lot more appealing.”

  2. Harper. Travis and Harper knew each other all throughout school, and they have a history. Something happened with them back in middle school that Harper never got over, and he’s surprised that she lets him in when they see each other in the present time. For me, I feel like she’s kind of the opposite of him. Sometimes she seems so vulnerable, but really she has this quiet confidence. I love that about her. I love that she doesn’t just let him walk all over her. Plus, she’s insanely hot.

    She glances down at the floor, then up at me. That shy thing gets me every single time, even when Paige did it and I knew it wasn’t real. But Harper…it’s not a calculated maneuver to get me hot. It’s authentic. And still incredibly effective.

  3. His friends. I love the relationship he has with his friends–the ones he serves with and the ones back home. I can really see how much he’s grown as a person since he left. Plus, they’re insanely hot. jk jk They are pretty awesome though.

    “If I wanted a cougar, I’d do your mom.”

    “Why? Getting tired of your own?”

    I die.

  4. His family. There’s a lot going on with his parents (and his brother). I love how authentic they are. Just so you know, they aren’t hot.
  5. It’s real. Travis doesn’t come home on vacay and just breeze through girls and live it up. He has real issues to deal with. So does Harper. So does his ex. So do his parents, and his friends, and his brother, and just everyone. For such a short book, we get a clear picture of life–and Doller does an amazing job focusing us in and out to show how everything weaves together. I don’t have enough words to articulate what I want to say about how awesome this story is and how much I love these characters.
  6. The cover. Come on. It’s insanely hot.

There is one thing that happens here that I don’t want to spoil but I don’t like it. If you know me, you’re going to be pretty surprised when you read this that I was okay with it, but for this character, in these circumstances, it made sense. The first time. And that’s all I have to say about that.

Something Like Normal is the story of a soldier who is trying to deal with losing his best friend, and it’s a story of a young man figuring out where he fits in the world and who he wants to be now that he’s “grown up”. It’s well written and very real and yes, insanely hot (keep in mind, this is YA-NAish), and I think you should read it. ♥

Report Card
Overall: 5

We reviewed this on Swoony Boys Podcast, too. Check out our review and Dreamcast:
Something Like Normal Trish Doller featured on Swoony Boys Podcast

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