Something Like Normal by Trish Doller

Book: Something Like Normal by Trish Doller, Bloomsbury Children’s Books, On Sale June 19, 2012

Book Info: Young Adult Contemporary, Review copy courtesy of NetGalley, Available in HC 224 pages

Rating: 4.5 / 5 Stars

More Info: Goodreads | IndieBound | Amazon

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.


15 thoughts on “Something Like Normal by Trish Doller

  1. bookchelle says:

    I saw this on NetGalley before I went on vacation. It looked interesting. And after reading your review, I regret not picking it up. I’ll just have to wait until release day to check it out. I like how it has a realistic feel for the PTSD scenario. Sometimes, especially with contemporary, I tend to shy away from books with heavy content just because authors don’t always execute them properly.

    Great review, as always!

  2. BermudaOnion says:

    This sounds like a book a lot of people could relate to. I think I’d enjoy it as well.

  3. I’ve had my eye on this one for a while, so I’m glad to read it will live up to the hype.

  4. Sana says:

    I have been looking forward to read this book for the longest of time. One day i just got a craving for a contemporary YA novel that has military focus on it and when i stumbled across this, i felt as Trish had written it especially for me.
    GOD! I can’t wait to get my hands on thsi!

  5. VeganYANerds says:

    The fact that this is new adult really appeals to me and your review is great, I definitely want to read this and soon. Also, I’m glad you’re enjoying your contemporary-kick!

  6. I loved this book soooo much! It’s one of the best contemps I’ve read it a while. Great review! 🙂

  7. Amber Hughes says:

    Wonderful review! This book has definitely been on my TBR ever since I first heard about it. All the reviews I’ve read have been very positive. I also love books from the male POV. I will be buying this book for sure 🙂

  8. fishgirl182 says:

    i am not a huge contemp person and this one sounds like it has intense issues for sure. but it sounds pretty good so i will check it out when i get a chance. thanks for the review.

  9. shannonjoe says:

    I’m a huge fan of contemp fiction so this one sounds great-an added plus for being told from a teenage boy’s point of view. Putting it on my TBR list! 🙂


  10. megsays says:

    I’m looking forward to checking out this book! And I just have to say I got excited when I saw this post on my reader dash – a girl from my high school took that cover photo and I love seeing it pop up places!

  11. Elizabeth says:

    This sounds fantastic and like a good change of pace from what I normally read, too. I’m looking forward to reading it!

  12. bookgoonie says:

    Man this sounds gut wrenching. Returning soldiers always tear me up.

  13. […] Trish Doller – Book: Something Like Normal. (Review) This book features a 19-year-old male protagonist who returns home from Afghanistan and finds that […]

  14. […] Trish Doller – I liked Doller’s debut Something Like Normal a lot – good male POV about a soldier returning home from Afghanistan. One of my favorite […]

  15. […] Something Like Normal by Trish Doller – Male POV about a soldier experiencing PTSD on his return home from […]

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