Something Like Normal
by Trish Dollar
Release Date: June 19, 2012
Published by: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Do not let the cover fool you into thinking that this book is a simple romance. The cover is misleading in that regard. There is a romantic subplot but it is only a component of the real story- a story about a guy in transition. Travis has come back from war to find that he no longer fits into his former life. He does not know who he is any longer. Compounding this is PTSD, unresolved grief over loosing a best friend in Afghanistan and long standing family issues that are coming to a head.
I enjoyed this story. The writing is strong and the story does not shy away from gritty, raw emotions. The story maintains a strong sense of reality. To be honest, I did not always like Travis, but he is written with authenticity and an ability to grow that allows me to still connect with him. I am not sure he fully deserves a second chance with Harper but he does show growth and potential as the story progresses. For this reason, I couldn't help but root for Travis and Harper despite Travis' past shortcomings. If anything, his flaws made him feel like he was a genuine person that you might meet in real life as opposed to a character from a novel. The book is slightly open ended with hints of possibility that fit the story's shorter length and Travis' maturation realistically.
I fully recommend this book. I had a hard time assigning a rating due to my mixed feelings for Travis at the beginning as well as this being a bit of a departure from my normal book fare, but it is well written so I am going to bump it up to it a five star rating.