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Monday, 6 May 2013

Book Review - Something Like Normal

Something Like Normal - Trish Dollar
Release Date: June 19, 2012
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Age Group: Young Adult / New Adult
Pages: 224
Buy the Book: Amazon
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.
Synopsis and cover taken from Goodreads  
My Review:

Something Like Normal is about Travis, a Marine returning home for a month after a tragic incident in Afghanistan that left him scarred. Within moments of stepping foot in his small hometown, he realizes his mistake. His dad hates him, his brother stole his girlfriend and his mother's overflowing love is bound to suffocate him. Everything is too much for Travis, and then he meets Harper, the girl he screwed over in Middle School. She has grown into a wonderful young lady and Travis can't get enough of her. But will their past get in the way of their future, more specifically Travis's recent experiences?

I'm so glad to have picked up this book as I don't read enough books with male protagonists. Travis's voice was great, I connected with him and understood the things he did. I loved how the PTSD was incorporated into the story, and the flash back to Afghanistan and Charlie were interesting to read about. 

I really like reading books about Marine's and their life, how they deal, and how their family's deal. Something Like Normal gave us a peak into that. I especially liked seeing Travis's growth from when he was a normal kid trying to get by high school to who he became when he joined the Military. 

Sadly, there were somethings that I had a problem with in this book, most of which are due to its short length. I found all the side-characters like Travis's dad, brother, and friends, all very one dimensional and flat. They didn't grow or change and we didn't see good enough proof to explain why they are the way they are. His dad and brother were straight up idiots, I hated them. His mother was the stereotypical soccer mom with no depth. At one point she actually flat out stated that Travis is her favourite son... I don't know, lets just say she isn't getting the most realistic literary mother award.

As for Harper and Travis's relationship, I think it was probably what made the book for me. That and Travis's marine friends! I liked how Travis acted around Harper, like she was good for him. Still, I felt Harper forgave him too quickly and their relationship jumped from 1 to 5 within 20 pages. 

Overall, it was a fun read, very interesting. Definitely more of a light read with some dark elements. It's a good introductory book to the New Adult genre with minimal sexual content compared to some of the other books. Still I would say for readers 16 and up!

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