Published: June 19, 2012
224 pages, hardcover
GR Summary: 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.
So I'm going to go ahead and confess that I stared at the blinking cursor for a good 15 minutes for deciding what I should write about Something Like Normal. It's not out of the ordinary that I like reading about beautiful broken boys, but this was especially difficult. And it wasn't something that was like "oh man, I can't wait for this girl to swoop in and fix him, because that is SO HOT." Because it was the broken boy who was the main character. And it's totally different reading about his view as opposed to that of the vapid internal struggle of the girl who is trying to snag him and turn his frown upside down.
Trish Doller, WHERE DID YOU COME FROM WITH THIS? It was like one day I heard Carla singing Something Like Normal's praises from the rooftops and the next I'm all "Trish Doller, will you write my life story, but make it more interesting and enchanting?" (I didn't actually say this to her. I'm not that creepy, you guys. YET.) All I can say is that this author had better be one that will stick around for awhile. I will get on my knees and BEG. Young adult literature NEEDS you, Trish Doller.
Travis made me want to stand up and say the pledge of allegiance. I don't say that to be funny, I say it because it's true. Because it hurt me to be inside the head of a fictional soldier with PTSD, so I can't imagine those who suffer with it every day. Watching those they love just...die in an instant and be expected to carry on like it's nothing.
The romance in this book is INEXPLICABLE. It's careful, it's vulnerable, it is so monumentally beautiful and delicate that I felt like I had to hold my e-reader with extra care or it would shatter to 8 bazillion pieces in my hands. Travis struggles to allow himself to find some semblance of normalcy and with a girl like Harper to help him and hold his hand along the way? Um, I think I might be in love with both of them. Every guy deserves a girl like Harper. Every girl deserves a friend like Harper. And that is what she was to this hero: a love, a friend.
So take a day off work (or even fake sick at about noon--the book is pretty short!) and make sure you read it from cover to cover, then just stare at the cover or your hands or a blank wall to fully take in everything that Doller has to offer.
And maybe find her on Twitter and beg her to please, oh please, never stop writing.
By the way, check out Trish's interview over at GReads! It's so beautiful. Can I use that word enough in this review? EVERYTHING IS SO FRICKIN' BEAUTIFUL.