"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."
Title: Something Like Normal
Author: Trish Doller
Release Date: June 19, 2012
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children's
Pages: 214, Hardcover
I was beyond excited to find out that I had the opportunity to read Something Like Normal before the release date. But for some reason, I didn't read it until a week after it's publication date. And I totally regret doing that. This is a book you should pick up right now, simply for it's relatable characters, creative plot, and ingenious writing.
Something Like Normal isn't your average contemporary. We follow a 19 year-old man named Travis. He's broken-in and rough after his time served in Afghanistan. He doesn't exactly miss home when he returns, especially when nearly every night, he is haunted by Charlie's (his best friend during his time in Afghanistan) death. He isn't exactly excited about seeing his family, or Paige, his ex, either. But when he reunites with a girl from his pre-teen years, he find his life to be something like normal.
One of the (many) things I adored in this novel was the characters. Not only did I love reading the story from a male's perspective, but he was incredibly real and alive. I understood his actions and emotions very clearly, and I am inclined to say that I'm impressed to see that the author is a woman, because Trish Doller did such an amazing job thinking through a 19-year old man's mind. And I couldn't have asked for a better love interest. Harper was perfect; yes, as a couple, but also in the sense that she helped him live a somewhat more normal life than he had before. She mended him, and that's honestly all I needed to ask for.
Another factor I rooted for was the humor. I found myself cracking up because even though Travis was struggling through a lot of problems within his family and friends, he still had that charming & sarcastic sense of humor to keep everyone on their toes.
The plot was also very entertaining. It was drama-filled; and there was a variety of different pacing throughout the entire novel which I really appreciated. I most definitely had a smile of some sort at the end of each chapter. The only thing I wish could have changed in the novel was the length. I totally would have loved to get more Travis & Harper. =)
Trish Doller, you have crafted one of my favorite novels of the year, and I thank you for that. I loved hearing Travis's story and his growth. Everyone, this is a novel you will want to pick up and read for yourselves.