Thursday, September 19, 2013

Book Review: Something Like Normal by Trish Doller

Title: Something Like Normal
Author: Trish Doller
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Publishing Date: June 19th 2012
Length: 224 pages
Keywords: YA, contemporary, romance, friendship, war, loss
Source: Bought

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.

Summary by Goodreads

Travis returns from Afghanistan and everything and everyone back home seems to have changed, moved on without him. While reading SOMETHING LIKE NORMAL I couldn't help putting myself in his position and what I saw felt pretty lonely, troubled and complicated. Travis is a hurt boy and he's lost so much in his young life. His time in war has made him stronger and more vulnerable at the same time. One part of his story is dedicated to the trauma he now carries with him everywhere he goes, the war that's even haunting him in his sleep.
The case of Travis' inner conflict, better said illness, is supported by letters and flashbacks to his stunt in Afghanistan. We are seeing what the soldiers' days look like and what it feels like to be thousands of miles away from your family caught in battle and destruction. What you crave, hope, and that you can lose everything in the blink of an eye.
Trish Doller found a sensible and honestly realistic voice to give to this troubled boy whose perspective the story of SOMETHING LIKE NORMAL is told from.

Harper is the girl who welcomes him back home and gives his days a new reason. They've known each other before the war. And I'm always for two characters who have a common past because it makes it easier to see them falling for each other. In Travis' case, their shared past is one of misunderstandings and mistakes. So, now falling in love will be another trial for both, Harper and Travis.
Harper is a really kind and sweet girl. She is a nice character, but I would have wanted for her to have some more kick, to let herself go.
There are moments between them that I adored. I mean the turtles Alpha, Juliet and Zulu totally stole my heart! I loved the prospect of Harper's and Travis' relationship, one that could have been explosive. In the end it only felt like scratching on the surface of all their possibilities and everything that could have happened. 

4/5 **** - SOMETHING LIKE NORMAL – A real and heart-rending story about learning to live again. 

SOMETHING LIKE NORMAL had been a book so tempting I grabbed a copy the day it was released and was finished by the next day. I felt this compulsive need to keep reading and stay by Travis' side for as long as it would take for him to feel any kind of normalcy again. Harper and Travis are a couple that adds a certain emotional depth to Trish's debut novel ensuring that many readers will fall for SOMETHING LIKE NORMAL. I only missed more details and probably one or two additional  twists and turns that would have required a few extra chapters added to their story.

It's full-on morning when Harper drops me off at home. Well beyond the sneaking-in hours, past breakfast, and eighty-seven baby sea turtles later. We stopped naming them after Zulu. 
"I hope the one we called Juliet is a girl," I say. "Or he's going to have to face the next hundred fifty years being ridiculed by all the other turtles."
She smiles. "Shut up." ― p. 89

SOMETHING LIKE NORMAL you might also enjoy IN HONOR by Jessi Kirby. It is the story of Honor who receives a letter from her brother Finn who died in Iraq and goes on a road trip to fulfill last wishes, find answers and love. I haven't read IF I LIE by Corinne Jackson or WHILE HE WAS AWAY by Karen Schreck but both stories are dealing with main characters whose boyfriends are going to war and sound like very emotional reads.

* Can't get enough of Trish's books? WHERE THE STARS STILL SHINE will be released September 24th 2013.

* Click here to read an excerpt of SOMETHING LIKE NORMAL.


* For further information about Trish Doller and her books visit


  1. I have been hearing a lot of amazing things about Trish Doller. I have heard that Something Like Normal is a must read. I am glad to have read your thoughts on the novel. I am never sure of novels that deal with PTSD as war and the military make me sad. So I've never really been interested. But I can't help but be curious about this one. I will read Trish's newest one, and if I like that one, I'll give this one a go.

    Thanks for the review!

  2. I really liked this book! It's an amazing story and I loved Travis and Harper! Great review, thank you!

  3. I really like the cover. So pretty. Glad you enjoyed the book so much :D Thank you for sharing your honest review. <3

  4. I love travis,harper,and something like normal. Im gushing lol. Tnx for the charming review

  5. Great review! This book sounds really heart-felt. <3

  6. I've been dying to get my hands on Where the Stars Still shine. Something Like Normal looks like an amazing book.

  7. Great review,this book go on my to-read list :)