Saturday, August 25, 2012

Something Like Normal Review

Something Like Normal
by Trish Dollar
Release Date: June 19, 2012
Published by: Bloomsbury USA Childrens

About (from Goodreads): 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

My Review: 

  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.  


  1. It was an amazing read. I absolutely loved this book. I hope the author writes a sequel to it.

    1. If I remember correctly I think the author mentioned that she might give her characters a cameo in her next book, but as of right now there is no sequel. I agree though, a sequel in this case would work. All too often, when an author writes a good book everyone begs for a sequel and I don't always agree with that desire. If a sequel is written then there has to either be things unresolved or new conflicts to drive the story. Usually I like just where the protagonist is left and don't want a whole bunch of new things thrown at the characters. In those circumstances I think companion books work great to give people glimpses of beloved characters, but not depending on them to drive a new story.

      In the case of this story, things were not totally resolved by the end with Travis, though he did show tremendous growth. I think there would be plenty to write about with him in his future to write a sequel that could be authentic and not contrived.

  2. Ooh, this sounds amazing! Travis seems like such a fascinating character. I'll definitely have to read this soon!

    1. Travis is interesting and very well written. I can't wait to hear what you think of the book. Feel free to come back here and comment!



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