Author: Trish Doller
Published: June 19th 2012
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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.
I’ve had this ebook for the longest time and finally picked it up since I was in the mood for a contemporary and people really seem to love this novel. Plus, a standalone? That’s a rarity nowadays. I’m a little confused on how I feel about Something Like Normal, but I’m mostly filled with good emotions when I think back to it. I think…
“I don't know if my life will ever be completely normal again, but something like normal is a good start.”
Travis was a good main character because I felt that he was real. Doller managed make him flawed and paint him as someone who still makes mistakes, yet someone you want to root for. I felt for his character—his friend’s death, home situation, the way everyone thought of him as the local hero even though he felt anything but. Then again I didn’t form a very big emotional connection with him and probably because most of the time he was so closed off.
As for the other characters, I thought that Travis’s Dad was such a douche. I really felt like slapping that SOB—he was so rude, douchy and overall someone I couldn’t stand to be in the same room with. I was waiting for Travis’s mom to grow some lady balls and stand up for herself and kick him out already.
There is some cheating in this book. That was my least favorite part. It wasn’t excessive and honestly? Idk. I feel like… cheating isn’t excusable, but did Travis’s brother honestly think it wouldn’t happen? The girl—Paige?—was just asdfghjkl. Not a very likable girl. I know Travis was not together with Harper when those two times happened, but still… I felt kind of disappointed by Travis’s actions. Which brings me to Harper: I HAD FEELS. Yep, I had feels and they were everywhere. Harper was a great girl and Travis’s friends from Afganistan were pretty darn awesome. I liked almost all of the scenes these 3 (Harper and the two friends) were in.
I do think that this book has one major minus—it’s so freakin’ short. I’m pretty sure that this is one of the reasons why my emotional connection was so minor compared to what it could have been. The ending was really good though—the final chapter was pretty epic and I liked how the book ended on a realistic note. To me this book wasn’t that much of a romance story but instead a story about friendship & family and how the values, emotions and feelings regarding them can change over time.
I do recommend this book, but it wasn’t flawless. A little more in length and a little more openness with Travis and this could have been amazing. It was good, not going to lie, but nothing extraordinary. I will most certainly read something else by Doller since she has major potential and I can’t wait to see what else she has in store for us.
Overall rating: 3.4 out of 5.0