Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Review: Something Like Normal

Something Like Normal, by Trish Doller. The GoodReads summary:
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.
I’ve been having good luck with books lately, so I keep waiting for the book that’ll break the streak. Happily, “Something Like Normal” wasn’t it. It’s New Adult, and it’s short—I read it in three hours or so—but I didn’t feel like its brevity was because it was lacking anything. It felt quite complete, actually.

Travis, the main character, has it rough: he just got home from fighting in Afghanistan, he’s got post-traumatic stress disorder, his family life is coming apart, his brother has stolen his girlfriend while he was gone, he doesn’t fit in with his friends from home anymore, while his best friend died in combat, and the list could go on a little more. But I think he handles it pretty well—or, at least, he handles it the best he can, which is all I can really ask for. He makes some really stupid choices as well, but he knows they’re stupid and when the consequences come back to bite him, he’s mostly mature about it.

This book is from Travis’s point of view, and as a result I felt like Harper’s character wasn’t as fleshed out as I would’ve liked. The biggest thing I wish would’ve been better explained is why, when she’s disliked Travis her whole life, Harper likes him when he comes back this time. I mean, I’m glad she does, because she helps Travis feel more centered and less crazy, but I just couldn’t figure out the shift in her opinion of him. I do like Harper overall though—she’s not showy but she doesn’t let people walk all over her either.

Overall, I thought this book was really cute. Well, maybe cute is the wrong word, because the heavier issues that this book deals with gives it more depth than just “cute.” But hopefully you get what I’m trying to say here.

Rating: 4 / 5


  1. I bought this for my Kindle a couple of weeks ago and was planning to read it during the October Read-a-thon, as it's a short read. Good to know you're having good luck with books lately!

  2. I had a lot of trouble with the romance because Travis was just such an idiot-how could Harper fall for him SO fast especially when he had been hooking up with his ex? Personally I would have liked a bit more time spent on all that although it was a nice fast read. Also I get what you're saying with "cute."


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