Tuesday, 17 July 2012

#131 Book Review: Something Like Normal

Something Like Normal
Release Date: August 1st 2012
Author: Trish Doller
Publisher: Bloomsbury Australia
Source: Publisher for Review
Format: Hardback
Where to Buy: Fishpond | Booktopia | Dymocks
More Info: Goodreads
Summary 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.
I'm not really liking the cover because it doesn't quite reflect the book (I would never have thought this book was about a guy who returned from war if it weren't for the summary), but I like how the font of the title is set out on the cover. It makes the cover look quite interesting!


War is only half the battle...

This quote perfectly summarizes the entire story of Something Like Normal. Fighting in war is half the battle, and the other half is fighting for your sanity and to be prepared for what happens after the war. This book is one of my favourite contemporary reads this year. It was raw, heart-breaking, realistic and very well-written. This book addresses a serious and definitely not light issue about the experience of a guy who returned from war and how it changed him. 

Trish Doller's writing was absolutely concrete and real. Her story was realistic and she voiced her characters really well, particularly Travis since the book was narrated from his POV. The book talks about the US Marine Corps and what life is like for soldiers in the Afghanistan. Doller clearly knows what she's writing about because she does not merely attach the word 'Marine' to Travis but explores deeply of what it meant to serve for your country in another country and how it can change you. I also really enjoyed the romance between Travis and Harper. They both had an amusing past before Travis left to serve in Afghanistan but I loved the scene when Travis and Harper met for the first time after Travis returned to the US. It was really funny! The ending was really beautiful. I loved how it wrapped up the whole story!

I loved the characters just as much as I loved the story. When Travis returned to the US, he changed. He was no longer just a teenager who fooled around and partied all night. He had served for his country and had 30 days of 'holiday' before he had to go back and serve his country. During his time in Afghanistan, he had the experience of killing someone and watched his best friend die in front of his own eyes. He was filled with different emotions; grief, guilt, sadness and this became a huge problem for him. He knew that nothing will be the same and war was a trauma for him. His parents were not exactly in good terms, his brother stole his girlfriend (and don't forget his car) and these are not helping. But when he spent his time with Harper, she understood what he's going through and loves him for whatever he is. I just loved his romance with Harper. Harper was a strong, funny and admirable girl! No wonder she was able to capture Travis' heart. I loved their developing relationship and there was this one scene I really loved where Harper took Travis to watch Sea turtles' eggs hatch at night! I absolutely love all the characters because they felt so real to me.

Something Like Normal is a heart-breaking, raw, well-written and realistic debut novel about a guy trying to recover from his troubled experience during the war, what it means to serve your country, how war can change you and what happens next after the war. Travis' life will never be back to normal, but perhaps something like normal will do. Something Like Normal is a fresh, new voice and a beautiful addition to the world of YA!
5 Forget-Me-Not flowers for Something Like Normal!
 Thank you Bloomsbury Australia for the review copy!


  1. YAY! Awesome characters and a great romance? I'M IN! <3 Very interested to see how the war's affected Travis :) Thanks for the review!

  2. Wow! I keep hearing about how good this is, every review gives it 5 stars and yours is no exception! And I have to agree about the cover, this won't appeal to a lot of readers but if the cover was changed it would!

  3. Wow. I've been hearing great things about this one. I miss reading contemporary romance with heavy-ish stuff. Thanks for the review!

  4. Aww Celine! I love this review! I'm so glad to see you were blown away by this book. Honestly, I've been avoiding it because of the topic, but I think I may have to take a risk and go for it. I've heard nothing but good things so far and this really does seem like a very heart-wrenching read. Amazing review! :)

  5. Wow, five full beautiful flowers?? And to think that a few weeks ago, I hadn't even heard about this book! I don't think I've read any negative reviews for this book since everyone started gushing, and it's making me so eager to gush about it with everyone else. The developing relationship between Travis and Harper sounds so sweet, and I love it when you can see exactly why the hero loves the heroine! ;)

    Beautiful review, Celine! :) <3

  6. "Something Like Normal is a heart-breaking, raw, well-written and realistic debut novel about a guy trying to recover from his troubled experience during the war, what it means to serve your country, how war can change you and what happens next after the war."

    This book sounds amazing Celine! Judging by the above line, this is an emotionally intense story and I absolutely love those. I can't wait to meet Travis and Harper, they sound like a beautiful pair and your review has me wanting to spend more time with them:)

  7. I agree with your review 100%, Celine! The only issue I ahd with this book is the cover. But the writing is so solid, simple, yet evocative, and the characters are really alive and it's almost like they're in the room with you while you read.
    Wonderful review, my dear.

  8. WHAT IS THIS NONSENSE, GFC D: I KNOW that I was following you, Celine! Ugh, this has happened so many times now... Oh well. Problem solved for the time being and now we can focus on the (apparently amazing!) books! :)

    Everyone seems to be loving this one and from your review, I can see why! It sounds heart-breaking and intense and complicated and I want it so badly <3 Harper sounds like the perfect match for Travis and I bet it warms your heart when you see how much he responds to her! :') Lovely review, Celine!


  9. Oh my goodness Celine, what a perfectly awesome review! You go, girl! :P I'm so excited to read this one. I've read so many simply amazing reviews of it! i had actually requested it on NetGalley a while back and completely forgot about my copy! I'm going to pick it up ASAP. Sorry I haven't been commenting on your posts for some time now, I was on vacation for 3 weeks but now I'm back! I look forward to reading and commenting on some more of your lovely posts! <333 Great review, sweetie!

  10. I've had this one on my radar for quite some time. I've been seeing the reviews come through and they seem to echo yours, Celine, that this was an amazing debut. I need to get to this sooner rather than later. Excellent review. :)

  11. I totally agree about the cover. It's not fitting at all to the book ! I'm so glad you loved this book as much as I did ! It was such a great book. Like you said, the characters were really good!
    Lovely review, Celine ! :)

  12. I can't even imagine what it would be like to be in the war, especially at such young ages. The things you're required to do, what you have to witness.... the mental scars would be so traumatic. I already deeply feel for Travis!! The romance sounds amazing and Harper definitely sounds like my kinda girl ;) You have completely, COMPLETELY sold me on reading this and I'm so glad I read your amazing review. I NEED THIS BOOK NOW!

  13. I agree with you on the cover. When I first saw this book, I thought it was a YA full of family angst. I never read the blurb or a single review of this book until now and can I just say; I am totally sold! I never thought this book sounds so interesting! Thank you for sharing!

  14. I am just dying to read this one and even more so after this awesome review, Celine! <3

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us! I hope that I can get to it soon :)


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