Monday, August 6, 2012
BR: Something Like Normal
by Trish Doller
I don't think I can pinpoint exactly how long ago I started lusting for this book (oh man, did I lust) but it's been on my radar for SO LONG. Before its title change and cover... yep.
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.
Male POV, new adult, some romance, drama, and lots of feels. Are you convinced yet? I had such high expectations and hopes for this novel that I've been dying to read for the longest time and I was not disappointed.
Firstly, I thought Travis' voice was absolutely perfect and Doller really, really nailed that part. Every thought, emotion, action.. it all felt very raw and never as if the character is hiding behind words.
Actually, everything about this novel makes it a wonderful read—it is so different from the stuff that is saturating this market and it’s also not only “out of the box”, it’s also so well executed. There is absolutely nothing sloppy about Doller’s debut, everything feels meticulously realistic and I was very impressed with how much I got out of a book that’s quite tiny.
I loved the family dynamics of this book, and holy hell do I love Travis’ mom. I don’t really want to go more into detail but she is one badass amazing mother. Travis’s home life is far from ideal but each interaction felt authentic.
And that’s the real gem of this book—the authenticity. Travis' PTSD was very well portrayed, as was his complex relationship with war, his past, and even his relationship with Charlie. I thought the love interest Harper was interesting in her own right, though I did sometimes wish she had more dialogue. Many people felt the ending was cut short but I really liked it. While sure, I wouldn’t have minded another 500 pages of Travis, I thought Doller left the book at the absolute perfect place.
I wish I could be a bit more eloquent and give Something Like Normal the review it deserves, but I’m a bit rusty at this* and I’m only here to spread my love for this book. It started out as a mini-review but honestly, it deserved its own post. It’s a refreshing, realistic, and beautiful book filled with compelling characters that demand your attention, and you should read it because I think you’ll like it.
Rating in HP Terms: Exceeds Expectations
Recommended for: everyone! Especially fans of contemporary and new adult fiction!
Acknowledgements: awh 4.5/5
8.8/10 – because I really really liked it. The characters were the best parts and I thought Travis’ voice was so compelling. The romance was done delicately and very well, and I was instantly sucked into the story. I went into Something Like Normal with exceedingly high expectations and I came away very satisfied. I’ll read anything by Doller at this point, no matter the cover.
*this being the whole review thing
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