Saturday, July 21, 2012

Something Like Normal by Trish Doller

ARC, 214 pages
Release Date: June 9, 2012
Published by: Bloomsbury USA Children's
Source: Own (Given to me by Jen from Novel Thoughts)
For fans of: Contemporary Romance, Hot Guys, Realistic Fiction, YA

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.

     Nineteen year old Travis is enlisted in the Marines. As he returns from a tour in Afghanistan, he gets some upsetting news. His parents are splitting, his brother has taken his ex-girlfriend and his car, and he can't even interact with his friends like he used to. But one day after coming home, he finds himself in a bar where he meets the one chick who's life he made a living hell in school... Harper
     As the book goes on, we see that Travis has a few things he can't shake, like nightmares of being in Afghanistan of his dead best friend Charlie who was in his company. He doesn't want anyone to know about it and think he's crazy, so he keeps it to himself
     About Harper and Travis' romance, it wasn't too fast paced and it fit the story. Granted there were some times I wanted to jump into the book and slap Travis for being such a bone head, but he's a guy. (They're not really all that smart lol) I did love them together tho. Like the baby turtle scene. Golden. It was so incredibly cute and the fact that there was baby turtles there.... Yeah, that's a win for sure lol. 
     Every page in this book was filled with raw emotion.  What made it so much better was the fact that I know a little about the military from family being in it, and I can relate 100% to this. (I was also a military girlfriend once, so I realllly understand....) It was really heart wrenching to "watch" Travis deal with seeing Charlie and not being able to help him. I was glad when the one person did convince him to get help. 
     Another thing I loved about this book was the fact that it was told from a male's POV. We don't have many of those in YA anymore, so it was refreshing to get to read a story a different way. Now although the language was pretty bad, I just related it to him being a guy and in the military. 
     Something Like Normal is about a truly broken character with only one person that can help build him himself back up. Although he is so damaged, he is  very likable. He will definitely win your heart and have him thinking about him nonstop. Believe me when I tell you, Travis is definitely a hero. 
     Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is something serious and shouldn't be handled lightly. Having gone to these awful places during a time of war is hard and scary and should be looked at with admiration that they gave up their time to do it when we wouldn't. So if you know someone on active duty, on reserve, retired, a veteran or whatever, be sure to thank them. Because remember, they didn't/don't have to do what they did/do. (And I say this in the most non-lecturey, serious way possible :D)
Overall, I give this 

I was stalking searching Trish Doller on Pintrest (this link will take you to all her boards) the other day because I like to see what is is (if anything) that may have helped the author get inspired for the book. As I found her, I came across the Something Like Normal board as well as two for some WIPs. The WIPs have me intersted already and I cannot wait to see what the story will be about. But HERE is the board for Something Like Normal. I loved it and thought it was amazing. 

Also, as I was reading this, I found out that there is a picture of Harper's tattoo flating around. So in case you haven't seen it, go to Jenna's blog over at Making the Grade and she has a link from a picture at a Trish Doller book signing! 


  1. Hello! I'd like to inform you that this review will be placed in the ARCycling review archive to show how the program has expanded over time. The archive will be posted soon and updated weekly, so we encourage you to check it out once it is posted. In the future, please tweet all reviews from ARCycled books to @ARCycling so that we can make sure to include you in the archive. Thank you!

  2. Thanks for your thoughts! This looks like a great book and I'm getting into these contemporary romances lately! Definitely putting this on my to-read list!

  3. Great Review. I will be adding this to my want list.

  4. This sounds really good! I'm so glad you enjoyed it, I'll definitely be checking it out :)

  5. This was an EXCELLENT book. Thank you so much for your review. I would never have read the book otherwise.

  6. This book was phenomenal. This book is exceptional. This book is an emotional roller coaster. This book is just plain beautiful. I fell in love with Harper, Travis, Travis's mom, Charlie, the boys. I fell in love with Trish Doller. I cannot wait to see what this amazing author has in store for us next.

  7. I loved this book too for a lot of the same reasons you did, particularly the male POV and the fact that it deals with real issues. Can't wait to read more from Trish Doller!

    P.S. Found your review through ARCycling :)