Something Like Normal by Trish Doller

Publisher: Bloomsbury
Release Date: June 19, 2012
Format: Advance Reader Copy
Source: Publisher/NetGalley
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance
Buy: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound

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. (Goodreads)

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!

Author Links: 
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Book Links: Excerpt | Playlist

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8 Responses to Review: Something Like Normal by Trish Doller

  1. Liza (WhoRuBlog)
    Twitter: LizaWiemer

    After reading your review, I can’t wait to get my hands on this book. Thanks for sharing your five star review!
    Liza (WhoRuBlog) recently posted..The Best YA Novels About SuicideMy Profile

  2. kimbacaffeinate
    Twitter: kimbacaffeinate

    This book sounds wonderful, and I love when characters make you want to punch them..since it means your totally immersed in the story line. Lovely review!
    kimbacaffeinate recently posted..Shadow’s Edge by J.T. Geissinger Excerpt and GiveawayMy Profile

  3. Andrea says:

    I’m happy to hear that Doller is able to write from a male soldier’s perspective. It is definitely a hard thing to pull off. This sounds wonderful and heartbreaking at the same time. Beautiful review!
    Andrea recently posted..Review: This Is Not A Test by Courtney SummersMy Profile

  4. TG says:

    This is the second review I’ve read that says this book is not just good, it blew them away. Sounds like I have to get my hands on it.
    TG recently posted..Book Review: The Selection by Kiera CassMy Profile

  5. […] Comment · In Author Feature, Author Interview, Trish Doller Today, Trish Doller, author of Something Like Normal (click for my review, I LOVED it), is stopping by for a “How I Write” feature! Thanks […]

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