I’m not sure how to convey all the love I have for Something Like Normal. This story blew me away. The writing completely immersed me into the story, to the point where I forgot I was holding my Kindle, and reading. The storyline and the protagonist, Travis, immediately gripped me and never let go. This novel should come with a warning label.
WARNING: Do not start this novel late at night, because you will be up until dawn finishing it, as you will not be able to put it down.
Something Like Normal is told from Travis’s perspective. Travis is a marine, and 19 years old. He joined the Marines to get away from his dysfunctional family, but then discovered that he was surprisingly good at being a soldier. I was impressed with how Trish Doller was able to get inside not only a teenage guy’s head, but also a soldier’s… and relay the experiences and emotions of Travis’s time in Afghanistan, and also dealing with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. You can’t help put love Travis as a character – he’s flawed, he makes mistakes, and he strives to be better.
When Travis returns home from Afghanistan, his family is in shambles, and he feels out of place. He mourns the death of his best friend Charlie, and feels guilty that he wasn’t able to save him. When he meets Harper again, a girl he has a not-so-great past with since middle school, he begins to find peace, and “something like normal”. I really liked Harper, she’s easy to relate to, and you can’t help but root for them together.
I loved seeing different sides of Travis – from his moments with Harper, to the way he was with his Marine buddies (like a family), to the relationship he has with his mom. I seriously wanted to strangle his Dad, and punch his brother at times. I felt so strongly about the characters in this book, they all felt so real, and I thought about these characters long after I finished reading their story.
Something Like Normal is a fantastic debut for Trish Doller, and I know I’ll re-read this one again and again. I cannot wait to read more from her!