TITLE: Something Like Normal
AUTHOR: Trish Doller
RATING: 4 STARS
PUBLISHED: June 2012 - Bloomsbury USA Childrens
"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."
If I could sum up Something Like Normal in one word it would be REAL. Everything in this novel felt real: the characters, the storyline, the family dynamics, the friendships, the conflicts, and the romance.
Something Like Normal is told from the main character Travis' perspective.This novel had a raw and realistic voice because it was told by a raw and realistic hero. Travis is a three-dimensional character with many facets. He's a strong, independent marine. He's a vulnerable child who is trying to find himself. He's an emotional man who is dealing with the death of his best friend. He's a child who is trying to accept his brothers actions. He's a boy who is learning to appreciate and return his mothers love and generosity. He's a man who is trying to accept his fathers denials. He's a hormonal teenager who has a hard time refusing what is thrown at him. And he's a man who is looking for love and acceptance. He's not perfect. He makes his share of mistakes, but he's real and honest.
Travis' father, an ex professional football player, pushed him to play football in high school, but when Travis realized that that wasn't his path he lost his fathers support. Unsure of his future, he decided to join the marines right out of high school.
Something Like Normal features Travis' first trip home since he became a marine. After being away for a year, Travis has one month at home with his family. This novel is about him coping with a new environment, living with PTSD, working through family issues, dealing with the death of a best friend, and falling in love for real for the first time. There was something in this novel for all readers.
I gave Something Like Normal by Trish Doller 4 STARS. I strongly recommend this story to mature young adults who are looking for something real!