Something Like Normal (Hardback)
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Short Description for Something Like Normal When Travis returns home from Afghanistan, his parents are splitting up, his brother has stolen his girlfriend and car, and he has nightmares of his best friend getting killed but when he runs into Harper, a girl who has despised him since middle school, life actually starts looking up.
- Published: 19 June 2012
- Format: Hardback 224 pages
- ISBN 13: 9781599908441 ISBN 10: 1599908441
- Sales rank: 33,925
Reviews for Something Like Normal
Something Like Normal by Trish Dollar
There are so many good emotions when I think about this book, I honestly have a hard time writing a review for it. Funny, that seems to be happening a lot with books I've been reading lately. Too many OMG FEELINGS moments and I don't know how to respond.
I'm never one for books from a guy's POV. Especially if it's in first person. I often find myself bored early on, and unable to really relate at all to the characters or at least feel anything for the narrator. But this is one book that changed that for me.
Right from the get go, I kinda fell in love with Travis. Before he goes to Afghanistan, he's the kind of guy you'd avoid because he's a bit of a dick, even though you are secretly charmed by his good looks and "I'm so much better than you" attitude. But what really got me about Travis is how the war has emotionally stripped him raw. Not that he's turned into a big softie, but he has a hard time dealing with his friend's death, and on top of that he comes back home to face a range of problems from his parents going through a rocky patch to his ex girlfriend hooking up with his younger brother (who also stole his car and is completely wrecking it - I feel your pain Trav!). Throughout the whole book I just wanted to get in it (yes, I just said I wanted to climb into the book) and give him a great big hug.
Unfortunately for me, I can't really climb into books, but luckily for Travis he had Harper to fall back on to. Harper was another great female lead, and I immediately warmed to her. Even though she's been wrongfully labelled throughout school, she doesn't let that stop her. She brushes it all off - she's the kind of girl who knows who she is as a person, and doesn't let meaningless gossip interfere with her life. She's feisty and snarky, and can hold her own against the guys. I like that.
I guess what I loved most about Something Like Normal was how it didn't sugarcoat the idea of war and what it can do to people, especially the younger generation. Travis is severely affected by what he's experienced and he's only nineteen and due back for at least one more tour. You can't even think of what it's like until you know yourself, and I can see Something Like Normal being a good book for people - especially those in service - to read and understand that no matter what you are going through, you are never alone.
This is a book that will take your breath away and leave you wanting more. It's shorter than I thought it would be, but with a voice like Travis', as you go along page by page, you'll be taken along on a heartwarming journey that you'll never want to finish. Add this book to your must read shelf, you'll definitely not be sorry you did. In fact, I know you'll be pleasantly surprised. by Hannahunder review
Compelling contemporary YA
I have been lucky in that I have not had to fear for the life of a young family member or close friend serving in war torn areas. Australian casualties in the current conflicts have been low, we have lost just 33 soldiers since 2001 in Afghanistan, which is incredibly fortunate in comparison to the more than 5,000 lives of serving American soldiers, the majority aged under 25 years old.
In Something Like Normal, nineteen year old Travis is on a month's leave at home in Florida having served in the Marine Corps in Afghanistan for the last year or more. Travis enlisted at eighteen, mainly to escape his hyper critical father and being home is proving both awkward and difficult. His girlfriend is now sleeping with his younger brother, Ryan, his father is cheating on his mother and Travis is plagued by nightmares about the loss of his best friend in-country, Charlie.
Told in the first person, Travis's story is believeable, moving and utterly compelling. As he tries to readjust to civilian life, he struggles with flashbacks and hyper awareness while also being tortured by grief and guilt. To me, Travis's perspective seems realistic, he thinks and feels like a teenage boy, from his casual approach to sex, to his horseplay with his Marine buddies. All that he has seen, and the PTSD he is suffering from, has had a profound affect on him though. The Travis who left home is not the same person who returned, and he wonders if her will ever be normal again.
Despite the serious issues raised in this book, there are moments of genuine humour, tenderness and a sweet romance. Travis meets Harper, a former classmate, and despite the odds they form a relationship that lends Travis emotional strength.
I give real credit to the author that there is no neat 'happily ever after' waiting at the end of this book, there is hope and redemption but Travis has a lot to deal with, and of course, he has to go back.
Don't be fooled by the brevity of this book, it has a lot to say. and says it well. Something Like Normal is a thought provoking contemporary young adult novel that explores what it may be like for the young service men returning home, even briefly. I'd specifically recommend it to siblings, family and friends of young serving military men but feel it would appeal to a wide range of readers for its realistic insight into a rarely discussed issue. by Shelley Cusbert
Review from Blkosiner's Book Blog
If you've ever wanted a taste of life as a soldier, you can find it in this gritty, touching and romantic book by Trish Doller.
Travis has his faults, but he is such a great narrator and it was quite a journey being in his head, living out his story with him. I got so lost in what he was going through--from his memories of Charlie (his dead best friend), his frustrations with his parents, his nightmares and triggers to the story with Harper. Speaking of, she is such a great girl. Their story from middle school is rough, and I hope that it can get across the message to others that it did for me. Lies of omission can still hurt, and labels that get put on you or because of you doesn't go away as easily as one might think. But I am glad that they could overcome that because I love how their friendship progresses and what happens to them. Harper also lightened the mood a lot with her remarks. She added a whole other dimension though with how she rolled with the punches (and sometimes doled them out) and how she responded to Travis.
Another character that I adored was Charlie's mom. We didn't get much of her, but what we saw was nice.
The dynamics between Travis and his parents felt authentic to me. His mom was behind him, making support packages and joining military mom's groups. She had this feeling of familiarity to me, which is a good thing. Watching her character change and evolve in here made me smile, and seeing it through Travis' eyes made it all the better. Travis and his dad had a rocky relationship and I think that its portrayed well in the present although we do get some peeks at what got them to that point.
Trish Doller has a nack for writing emotions. I was moved by the story and his flashbacks of what happened in Afganistan as well as the guilt he carried with him. There are so many layers to this book, and it kept my attention the whole way through. by Brandi Kosiner