Jessica's books

The One and Only Ivan
Revolutionary War on Wednesday
Leprechaun in Late Winter
Ella Enchanted
The Courage of Sarah Noble
Plain Murder
Gone-Away Lake
Circling the Sun
Maggie and Max
The Haunting of Sunshine Girl
The Night Sister
Tuck Everlasting
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Bedknob and Broomstick
Mister Monday
Alice Through the Looking Glass
The Birchbark House
The Hobbit
The Witch's Daughter

Jessica's favorite books »

Monday, June 25, 2012

Book Review: Something Like Normal by Trish Doller

Synopsis (from Goodreads):  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.

My Thoughts:  We live in a very rural area and my library is just now able to let you check out books on your e-reader.  I was pretty excited about this so decided to give it a try.  I was browsing through the books and saw this one and decided to give it a try.  I had no idea what it was about, just that it was a new release and I had seen it on some giveaways recently.  I am so glad I chose this book!  I finished it in one day because I simply could not put it down!

Travis is coming home from deployment over in Afghanistan.  He is 19 and joined the US Marines after high school to get away from his father, a former Green Bay Packers football player.  Travis and his father don't have a good relationship at all.  His father is controlling and was furious when Travis quit playing football.  

While in Afghanistan, Travis' best friend gets killed by a sniper.  Travis is suffering from hallucinations and PTSD.  He see's his friend Charlie everywhere and can't fall asleep without dreaming about Charlie and being in Afghanistan again.  However, all anyone from home wants to know is if he killed people over there.  No one understands what Travis is really going through.

Once home, Travis finds out that his family life wasn't what it was like when he left.  He mom and dad are having some problems.  His little brother, who is extremely envious of Travis (typical "older sibling gets everything" syndrome) has taken over Travis' car, girlfriends and friends.  

Travis runs into Harper, a girl he once knew in middle school and he actually feels like someone understands a little.  He feels like he can be normal with Harper.  Harper is a sweet girl and is there for Travis, even during the bad times.

I connected with Travis immediately!  I started the book and got wrapped up in Travis' life from page one.   Travis was a sweet guy that felt guilty that he was alive when his friend didn't make it.  He didn't feel like his home was his home anymore.  I loved that Travis had flaws too. He wasn't perfect but he was realistic.  

I really appreciated how the author didn't tame down the language.  I know there was some rough language there but they are young men in the Marines.  They talk like that. It was realistic.  The descriptions of fighting in Afghanistan were chilling but again, realistic.  There was no sugar-coating the war.

This review really doesn't come close to doing this book justice.  It's one of those books that you can't really tell people how great it is.  So, just take my word for it.  You will get caught up in Travis' life and you won't be able to put the book down!


  1. I loved this one too! Everything about it, really. And baby sea turtles!

  2. First so jealous about your library-mine has ebooks but it's a very paltry selection of YA books and I've never seen a new release on it.

    Second great review-I agree that it was easy to get absorbed in Travis' story. I was not a fan of the romantic relationships but I recognize that's a personal thing of mine.