Book Info: Young Adult Contemporary, Review copy courtesy of NetGalley, Available in HC 224 pages
Rating: 4.5 / 5 Stars
I’m continuing my journey into reading more contemporary with Trish Doller’s debut novel Something Like Normal. This book has received a lot of positive buzz from bloggers and I had to take notice. I recently read Miracle by Elizabeth Scott, a book that addresses PTSD, and In Honor by Jessi Kirby, another book about the aftermath of a military death, and this book seemed to fit right into my current reading mood. The book’s tagline, War is only half the battle, fits the story to a T as the main character Travis is maneuvering through a number of difficult personal challenges. The military aspect is very topical and makes for a rich subject matter to explore. Something Like Normal is another great entry into the new adult category and I couldn’t put it down.
In Something Like Normal, Travis is just returning home for a month’s stay after serving the last year in Afghanistan. He’s haunted by his best friend Charlie’s death and having a hard time adjusting to family life. Life at home seems trivial compared to his last year in Afghanistan. It’s hard to come home again, especially when his younger brother has taken over his old life by stealing his girlfriend and his car. His mother has thrown herself into the role of military mom whole-heartedly and meanwhile her marriage is crumbling. A ray of hope arrives when Travis reconnects with Harper, a girl he has a bad history with but who is now his saving grace. Travis needs to battle his PTSD and find some inner peace before he can go back to being a Marine again.
19-year-old Travis has a refreshing voice, and he’s not perfect by any means but it’s still easy to relate to his struggles. We learn Travis’s story via flashbacks, visits from old friends, and through his complicated family life. His military experiences have brought on a new maturity that helps him see his family and friends back home in a new light. Travis’s military flashbacks seem realistic, though I’m no expert on the matter. The PTSD episodes ring true as well, and fit seamlessly into the story. Travis is a really interesting character and I was rooting for him to get better and find some happiness. Thank goodness he had his awesome mom on his side, since his dad is just the worst. Harper is a great girl for Travis, and sensible, fun and smart – someone you want to be friends with. Their story ends a little too soon for my taste, and I could have happily kept reading about their journey a while longer.
Consider picking up Something Like Normal if you like contemporary, new adult books, or YA with a male point of view. The PTSD and military themes in the book are handled realistically and with respect and make for an engaging read. Travis’s road to healing is touching and insightful. I’m a new fan of Trish Doller and look forward to her next book.
Mailbox Monday is a weekly event started by Marcia from A Girl and Her Books, and is now hosted on a blog rotation. Cindy of Cindy’s Love of Books is the host for the month of April. This is my first week participating in Mailbox Monday and I’m so excited to visit some new blogs and see what everyone received this week.
This week’s mailbox is pretty eclectic for me and I’m glad to expand my horizons and check out some new authors.
This week’s new arrivals:
The Mongoliad: Book One by Neal Stephenson – This book is a hard one to label, but it seems to be a serialized fantasy historical book and it sounds very unique. I’m excited my husband is interested in reviewing this one!
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline – What do you think of the new paperback cover? I’ve already listened to the audiobook but am excited to have a hard copy to read.
Fated by Alyson Noel – The first book in the Soul Seekers series – received for an upcoming blog tour.
eGalleys from NetGalley & Edelweiss:
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein – I hit the jackpot this week with all the Read Now’s on Netgalley. This one is a historical YA that has gotten some good early buzz.
Timepiece by Myra McEntire – This is the sequel to last year’s Hourglass, a book I own and need to read, stat!
One Moment by Kristina McBride – I’m always interested in reading more YA mysteries.
The Glimpse by Claire Merle – A romantic dystopia with a very pretty cover.
Something Like Normal by Trish Doller – A contemporary YA with a male protagonist. Have to say, the early reviews make this sound so good.
A Thunderous Whisper by Christina Diaz Gonzalez – A new historical YA from the author of The Red Umbrella. This one comes out in October.
Tempting the Best Man by J. Lynn – J. Lynn is Jennifer Armentrout’s adult romance pen name. I liked Obsidian a lot so took a chance for $2.99.
The Masque of the Red Death by Edgar Allan Poe – Kindle freebie bought to peruse before reading Bethany Griffin’s Masque of the Red Death.
What did you receive in your mailbox this week?