Thursday, June 19, 2014

Review: Something Like Normal by Trish Doller

Title: Something Like Normal
Author: Trish Doller
Published: June 19th 2012
Add It: Goodreads
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository

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
Stars: ★★★

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  1. Yes it's always difficult when a story is shortI agree. But in a whole it sounds nice. I think I'll pass but thanks for the discovery!

  2. I definitely wasn't a fan of this one that much--such as the cheating but I guess I was entertained.

    Lovely review, Siiri! <33

  3. When I first saw this book, I knew that I would want to get my hands on it. I don't want it in ebook tho, I want to get the actual book in my hands. Great review Siiri :D

  4. Cheating is just one of those things that I can never stomach well. I prefer not to read about it at all. :/ But still, I'm glad you liked this overall, despite wanting a little bit more. I've heard so many great things about Trish Doller's writing! I've yet to read this book, but I have a copy of it and will probably get around to it eventually. Great review, Siiri. :)

  5. Lady Balls :P oh how I love you Siiri.

    I have heard some stuff about cheating which is basically why even though I had it on my TBR at some point, I decided to steer clear. You know how I am with cheating books.

    I am also slightly disappointed with the bad parent syndrome which seems to be present everywhere I turn. WHY??? They shouldn't be made out to be villains :/

    I am really sorry you didn't enjoy this better, Siiri :/ I know many people loved it but it sucks when a book doesn't live up to the hype :/

    Fantabulous review, Siiri! :)

    Rashika @ The Social Potato

  6. Just like you I've had this book for a looong time but I'm still not sure if I should read it or not, cheating is a topic I absolutely hate and even if you liked it on some levels, I'm sure I have better books to read than this one, so I think I'm going to pass. Great review. :)

  7. You sound like me Siiri! Cheating is such a tricky thing for me. Even when two characters aren't technically together yet and one of them gets with someone else, I can't deal with it because I KNOW they're going to be together and I don't like that they were with someone else first. Ridiculous, I know, but I can't help it. I'm glad you'll read more from Trish Doller even though this one didn't blow you away, I read Where the Stars Still Shine and really enjoyed that one:)

  8. I like that this was more than a romance, and despite not blowing you away, it does sound like you enjoyed it and wanted more.

  9. Ugh I wrote a big comment and blogger ate it! GAH! Oh well. I've been seeing mixed reviews about this one but overall it sonds like it was pretty good. Short books can be a hit or miss sometimes. I've read some that were very emotional and profound, and others just fall short. I also prefer characters like Travis who are flawed and realistic over the perfect guys. Always!! Great review, hun!

  10. I'm sorry you didn't enjoy this one as much as I did, Siiri. I read this one long before NA was a thing and I think I loved it so much because of how intense and emotional it was. The cheating did bother me as well, but I don't think Travis' head was in the right place, but of course, that doesn't mean I condone cheating. Anyways, I loved Harper too. She was such a sweet girl and I loved how supportive she was.
    Lovely review! :)

  11. I've had this on my TBR forever too but the summary screams EMOTIONS and FEELS and it scares me away...
    Cheating doesn't bother me in books if handled well...

  12. I think I've heard of this one before, but I've never seen a review for it. I'm glad you still manage to like some aspects of the story. I've not read many books that involve cheating so I don't know how I really feel about that. Great review Siiri!

    Janina @ Synchronized Reading

  13. The cheating/Paige situation is the one thing that bugged me too! And you're right it's short. But I loved Harper and that Travis was flawed and had to grow up as the story progressed. Glad you ended up picking this up.

  14. I'm glad that for the most part you enjoyed this one and get how the cheating thing didn't leave a good taste in you mouth but i ended up really liking this story! And i completely agree-this book just felt too short :(

  15. I don't like it when the main character gets it on with someone other than the main character even if they're not technically together at the time and I have a hard time forgiving those actions later. I think, like you, I'd have a hard time with this situation. Excellent review, my dear! :)

  16. I loved this book so much when I read it. So much. Looking back, I still really enjoyed it, but agree that it could've have been more developed if it were longer.
    Thanks for the review, Siiri!

  17. "I’ve had this ebook for the longest time." Me too. And now I don't know if I want to read it. 1. I HATE cheating, and 2. if I can't connect to the characters, the book has NO chance, and short books do make it hard to connect. And cheating. Blah. Still, I already have it, so maybe. I'm glad you were able to enjoy it despite it's flaws, Siiri, my love. Fabulous review ;)

  18. The "cheating" thing bugged me too (even though they weren't really together at the time), but I'm proud of the way Harper handled it when she was told. The second time, especially, really pissed me off (if I'm not mistaken, it was right after their sweet turtle time). Other than that, though, I really loved this book. Despite his flaws, my heart definitely went out to Travis and I really liked his romance with Harper. Plus it's always nice to get a male pov. :)
    Great review, Siiri!