Thursday, May 31, 2012

Something Like Normal Review

Author: Trish Doller
Release date: June 19, 2012
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Pages: 224
How I got it: For review via netgalley

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. 

Something Like Normal is the best 2012 contemporary I've read so far this year. That's saying something, but I have no doubt in my mind that it's a completely true statement.

The fact that this book is YA makes me happy. This could've easily been marketed towards adults but I'm so glad it wasn't. I'm so glad I can shove this book into the hands of YA-naysayers in the future knowing they will say nay no longer because Doller does not hold anything back. SLN is even more heart-pounding intense than I expected it to be, which is saying something. This book is full of solid, real emotion that I appreciated and identified with.

Because of said intensity and emotion, the character it revolves around, Travis, is kinda screwed-up in a few ways. Despite that (or perhaps partially because of it?) I quickly and fully invested in his character. And I was so happy when Harper was introduced because she is just what he needed. She's tough but sweet, and that's also exactly how I'd describe their relationship. It really helped lighten the novel just the touch it needed. Another relationship I really enjoyed was the growing one between Travis and his mom.

Also, let my just point out another thing that stood out to me: the obvious knowledge Doller had on the subject of the marines. (Of course, that could be because that had been pointed out to me before I read it.) I devoured Something Like Normal as fast as possible, and when I wasn't reading it, I was thinking about it. This one is a must-read for all contemporary fans.

Plot: Unlike anything I've ever read and I loved that.
Characters: Each is fully developed and lovable.
Writing: Great.
Ending: I was worried I wouldn't get closure, but I did and YAY.
Kid friendly? There were mentions of sex, drugs, drinking, and swearing.
Good luck prying me away from this one.
Something Like Normal was a wonderfully crafted contemporary that invaded my thoughts even when I wasn't reading, and I had to stay up late into the night to finish it.


  1. Love that this book is intense and amazing and marketed as YA! Such books make me unbelievably proud of the genre and make me go "Read this! Isn't it AMAZING?" to the YA-naysayers as well. Fab review :)

    1. RIGHT?! Especially when so many people think YA ia just vampire books--LIES!

  2. I'm glad you loved this book! I can't wait to get my hands on it. It's a touch topic to read about but I've heard (and from your review) that Dollar did a great job making it realistic.

    1. She really, really does. It wasn't too intense for me too read, or too YA-ish for me to think it wasn't realistic.

  3. I really enjoyed your review Jess, I can tell you loved this book and you've made me want to read it even more. It really sounds like Trish put a lot of effort into this book, I can't wait to read about Travis.

    1. Thank you! :) I can't wait to hear your thoughts on Travia--he's definitely one of the more memorable characters I've read.


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