Book Review: Something Like Normal by Trish Doller

Rating: StarStarStar

Genre: Young Adult > Contemporary | Realistic Fiction

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.


There’s nothing wrong about it, but Something Like Normal has little effect on me. Sure, the tortured-war-hero element was moving, but it was just okay. And Harper putting on the moves on Travis after he ruined her reputation? Well, that was incredulous.

Returning from Afghanistan, Travis’ life is in shambles. Carrying the guilt over his best friend’s death, he dreaded coming home. But things changed. He’s no longer afraid of his dad, he’s not that pissed that her ex is hooking up with her younger brother, he’s glad that his mom is starting to see her broken marriage as it is.

Travis is a jerk – he can’t stay away from Paige. He badly wants to hurt his dad. He refuses to acknowledge the help his mom is giving him. But hey, he came from a war, right? and the hallucinations he’s having about Charlie doesn’t help at all. Thank goodness for Harper. But yeah, he’s also a jerk to her sometimes.

I love Travis’ mom. She gave the story life and hope.

Something Like Normal is a quick read. Travis’ road to redemption is rocky, but he’s going there. He found solace and acceptance from the most unexpected people. And he’s having a different kind of normal, which is nice.

Publisher: Bloomsbury Children’s Books

Imprint: —

Pub Date: 06/19/2012

Thank you NetGalley and Bloomsbury for granting my galley request.


2 thoughts on “Book Review: Something Like Normal by Trish Doller

  1. Hi Maria! I’ve been seeing this everywhere. Lots of people loved it or liked it. But I can see where you’re coming from. I don’t think I would ever try to get close to someone who ruined my reputation. But the war-hero-thing might have more effect me. Thanks for the honest review! 🙂

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