Monday, July 9, 2012

Review: Something Like Normal by Trish Doller

Something Like Normal
Something Like Normal by Trish Doller
Publisher-Bloomsbury USA Childrens 
Release Date- June 19th 2012
Purchase- Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Chapters

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.

5 Snowflakes

"But what has been done can't be undone. My best friend is dead and I'm never going to be the same Travis Stephenson."

On a month-leave from the Marines, Travis Stephenson is finally home after a year in Afghanistan, only he doesn't really feel like it's his home anymore. He enlisted fresh out of high school to escape his father, whom Travis will never be good enough in his eyes and a year away still hasn't made their relationship magically perfect, in fact, it's probably worse. His (ex)-girlfriend, Paige hooked-up with Travis's brother, Ryan but he just can't bring himself to care. About anything.
Travis feels guily that he made it out alive while his best friend, Charlie, didn't make it. Haunted by his memory. Charlie is everywhere. His only saving grave is a girl named Harper, who he made life miserable for in middle school, but together they find themselves sliding into an easy friendship, an easy connection and find comfort in each others arms. And maybe when it's all said and done, find their own version of something like normal.

Once in awhile a book will come along and make me think and feel and ache for these characters in a way where I just want to hug them and wish away their pain.
Something like Normal is one of those stories.

Travis is the kind of character that made a lasting impression the minute I met him. He's cold, cynical and almost bitter about being back home. But I loved the way he cared about his mother and how he stood-up to his father.
As the story goes on we see him battling nightmares and hallucination and even terrifying triggered-memories of his time in Afghanistan. This is a guy who is riddled with pure guilt that's tearing him upside down and sideways. And it broke my heart. 
So I can't seem to blame him when ever he made a wrong decision, especially when it comes to Paige. A moment presented itself and he took it. It's not an excuse, even he knows that, but yet I can't find it in me to hold it against him. Maybe it's because it fits his personality so perfectly, maybe cause he didn't care about anything at that point in time, or at least till he started to care about Harper and she started to care back. 
I absolutely loved Travis and Harper. This was the kind of relationship that was sweet and bubbling and real. Something they both needed. Those were the moments that I looked forward to. But this story isn't about romance, not really. It's more about grief and guilt and lost and coping. It's about coming back from something so big and so crazy that no one could understand till you live it. It's about coming back from the other side and not being able to be who you were going in. It's about losing your best friend and not being able to do anything about it and trying to figure out how to live without him by your side. 

Trish Doller's writing is simply remarkable. She doesn't hold back as she describes the good, the bad and the ugliness when it comes to war, and what a solider who's suffering from PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) has to endure. This is powerful stuff, honest and emotionally raw as well as eye opening and thought provoking.
I was unbelievably touched by so much in this book and was proud of the Travis we got to see in the end compared to him in the beginning. 

Bottom line, I absolutely fell in love with this book. It's beautiful and sad, humorous and sweet and the ending was perfect and realistic. It doesn't end in the traditional cookie-cutter way, but with uncertainty, hope and endless possibilities that life after lost can truly move on.

An instant favorite! Fantastic debut! I can't wait to see what Trish Doller comes up with next!

Find The Author:
Goodreads / Website


  1. LOVE your review, Tina! I loved this book so much too. :')

  2. Thanks A.J!:) I loved it so much that I need to get a physical copy for my collection. So good!

  3. I said this on GR but this is such a beautiful review, Tina. I can't wait to read this. :)

  4. Thanks hun:) I really hope you love Travis as much as me:)

  5. Being a vampire is not what it seems like. It’s a life full of good, and amazing things. We are as human as you are.. It’s not what you are that counts, but how you choose to be. Do you want a life full of interesting things? Do you want to have power and influence over others? To be charming and desirable? To have wealth, health, and longevity? contact the vampires creed today via email: