june 19, 2012
bloomsbury USA childrens
young adult | contemporary
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 by Trish Doller is one of those books that everybody in the blogosphere is screaming about; they love it, they love it, they love it and promise you’ll love it too. And the good thing is, it’s so easy to fall in love with this book because of how sympathetic you are for Travis; I just wanted to hug him. But Something Like Normal is too short and too fast for me to actually LOVE LOVE this one.
Travis, our marine hero, has such a likeable voice that I fell for him on the first page. Even when we learn what he did to Harper, I still felt so bad for him, probably because of what he witnessed in Afghanistan and with Charlie. Plus, his voice. Guys. Travis’s voice is perfect teenage boy with a dash of tragic hero and YUM I LOVE IT.
“I think Paige belongs on the cover of Maxim in nothing but her underwear, which is exactly why I was attracted to her in the first place” (p. 3).
YES. This is why I fell for Travis.
Then there’s Harper, our damaged love interest. I hated how everything came to light when Travis and Harper run into each other when he comes back from Afghanistan. It felt a little too convenient, you know? But I did like that she punched him—way to take action, Harper. YOU GO GIRL. But what I wanted to know is why now? Why face Travis NOW, after what he’s gone through?
Harper is one of those characters where I disliked and liked her every other page. I think by the end of the book I ended up liking her more than what I did in the beginning. I liked how her and Travis’s relationship had its bumps, because it’s something normal . . . even though he’s suffering through PTSD after Charlie’s death, his girlfriend hooked up with his brother, who also stole his car.
As for the story—it’s short, at 215 pages, it’s a nice, quick read. But I feel as if I missed significant parts of the story, of Travis’s character development, even of Harper’s character development. She’s just as broken as Travis and her coming to terms with what happened in middle school between them is important to the story. Yet the pace moves very, very quickly and there’s a lot of fade to black parts that left me revealing, trying to understand what happened.
Also, Travis and Paige hook up a few times after he gets back home—but we never see it. We don’t see them kissing, or anything, because of that, this book isn’t sexy and hot and ughhh, what am I supposed to do? There’s barely any sexytimes between Travis and Harper and UGH. Also, hell yeah I’m complaining about this. I was expecting a hot, contemporary book. And that wasn’t what I got. So a little heads up to anyone hoping for a hot read with a sexy marine. ;)