Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Something Like Normal by Trish Doller

Something Like Normal by Trish Doller.
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children.
Pages: 214.
Release Date: June 19, 2012.
Source: NetGalley.
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.

Something Like Normal, in my honest opinion, is probably one of the best contemporary YAs written in a very, very long time. And even if I ended up hating the book - and I didn't - I'd still be firm on that opinion because this book is just so important and mature and real.

As said above, this story has a strong, prominent maturity to it that - until now - I've only seen Jennifer Echols pull off. But there's something about it, something that I can't quite put my finger on, that makes it so different from any other YA contemporary I've ever read. Maybe it's the authentic male POV? I hate admitting this, but I usually tend to avoid books with male POVs written by female authors because I've had bad experiences with them in the past. Trish Doller, thank you so much for breaking that. Travis is such a flawed but admirable character and his voice was so believable. Or maybe it was the progressing relationship Travis had with his mother and Harper, a girl he had a sordid past with. I don't know, there could be plenty of reasons, but I loved it so much.

The subject matter of war is something that's rare in YA but I'm so happy to see it. I've never known anyone - personally - who enlisted but I still feel like Trish successfully captured the grief that follows a stint. The demons that Travis faces are so harsh and heartbreaking but the way that they are handled is so wonderful.

Basically, this book is genius.

Overall, I absolutely loved Something Like Normal. It's raw and real and romantic and powerful and so, so much more. It doesn't matter what kind of reader you are, I am recommending that you all get yourself a copy of this book and read it immediately. Hopefully you'll love it as much as I did!

Other reviews for Something Like Normal:
A Book and a Latte.
Wastepaper Prose.
Frenetic Reader.


  1. Awesome review, Katie! I looove contemp, and it's so good to hear that Something Like Normal was one of the best you've read in such a long time! I've been hearing amazing things about this one, and I have a copy that I cannot wait to get into, especially after reading your review :)

  2. So glad you loved this one! I'm always happy to see people join in on the Travis love. :D

  3. Heard a lot of great things about this book. I'll definitely give it a go soon. Fab review!

  4. I agree that the male voice felt very authentic. I'm also really happy to have that military perspective in YA and I hope that other authors continue to do that in a very real way.

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