Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Something Like Normal ~ Trish Doller (eARC) review

Something Like Normal
Bloomsbury USA Children's
June 19, 2012
224 pages
add to Goodreads/Buy from TBD/or Amazon

When nineteen-year-old Travis Stephenson returns home on leave from Afghanistan, it's not all a balloons and music - if even that is what his mom had to welcome him home with. After the happy welcome, Travis faces a much different reality: his parents' marriage is falling apart, his brother has pilfered his girlfriend and taken over his car and Travis keeps seeing his best friend everywhere. Only problem is Charlie died in Afghanistan.

It isn't until Travis meets - re-meets, really - Harper Grey in a bar, a girl that he has a sorted past with that things begin to look like they might be able to turn around for him. As he and Harper spend more time together, Travis seems able to deal with both his family problems and his own - and not just wait it out until he's back at base or in Afghanistan where he, oddly enough, seemed to feel more at home.

Maybe with Harper he won't be able get back to normal, but something like it just might do.

Something Like Normal is a brilliant, fantastic debut with a lead character like one I doubt you've ever read before and like one I doubt you'll ever read again.

I spent the beginning of the book trying to figure out who it was Travis reminded me of - which character. I went through every remotely military character from books, TV, movies and came up with nothing. I thought about male main characters or narrators and still came up with nothing. Know why? He doesn't remind me of anyone.

I thought he did because Trish Doller has drawn him so well, flesh her character out so full that even after just a little bit of the story, I felt like I knew Travis. (Which, in turn, led me to thinking he reminded me of someone else.) He is a character that feels so real, so quickly that it's hard to believe you just 'met' him a few pages or chapters ago.

The relationship between Harper and Travis is fantastic. It's pretty much perfect in that it's not perfect. They have their flaws and Travis does not become healed and whole just because of Harper's existence and she (I love her for this) is also pretty tough herself and doesn't forget their past just because. Right from the beginning they're pretty adorable.

The military aspects of Something Like Normal all seem to be on point (and based on the acknowledgments I'd say they are) and add greatly to the story. Not only are they part of what makes - and keeps - Travis seeming so real, it's something that makes this novel both incredibly relevant and important. Aside from being just an immensely enjoyable book, I applaud Trish Doller for the subject matter as well.

Please do go read this book, it's fantabulous (see, I held out on that word until now because it doesn't quite fit with the book, per se, but does fit with my opinion of it). It is a 9 and not a 10 only because I might have liked to see a little bit more on some of the secondary characters or towards the end.

Rating: 9/10*

Thank you to NetGalley and Bloomsbury for my e-galley of this title 

*bonus points were only given in my head for mentioning the place I live . . . I'm weird like that

1 comment:

  1. tnx 4 the review
    hoping my copy arrives soon
    tnx 4the review


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