{Review} Something Like Normal by Trish Doller

12:00 AM

Title: Something Like Normal
Author: Trish Doller
Number of Pgs. 214 (Hardcover)
Publication date: June 19, 2012
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Genre: YA, Contemporary
How I got the copy:  Library

From Goodreads:

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.

My Review

I've been using a new way of reviewing that I saw over at Making the Grade.  It breaks the book down and makes it easier to rate.  The way it works is each category gets a score out of ten points.  Then you add them all up + 50 (50% automatically for each book) and that's your score out of 100.

Plot 5/10: I'm not sure what I was expecting when I picked up this book, but I think based on the hot and heavy cover I thought there would be this passionate romance.  Instead of a gushing waterfall it was more a...slowly trickling river.  I thought this soldier would come home from war and rekindle a love.  Instead Travis was suffering from PTSD.  I felt not much really happened during this story and it was kind of predictable.  

Characters 6/10: I love male POVs so this one was no exception.  Travis has become a man while away at war and realizes his mistakes when he comes home.  Yet, I liked that the author didn't make him goody goody right away.  After all, he is a guy and if his hot ex was flirting with him...what guy wouldn't go there?  

Harper is the girl next door.  She is a tomboy, but very pretty.  She's shy yet will punch you if you hurt her.  I thought her character should have gone through some more conflict.  She pretty much trusts Travis right away and he didn't really do anything for her.  

I hated Travis' family.  I wouldn't have put up with them for that long.  His relationship with his mom was very heartwarming though.  We always forget to say thank you to our moms, but they're probably the one person who loves us the most in this world.

Setting 7/10: The dreams were in Afghanistan and the rest of the book was in his hometown.  I liked learning about how troops are during downtime.  It's actually funny because I signed up to be part of a baking group that sends care packages to troops and I didn't know what to send.  Travis actually talks about things he liked receiving, like skittles because they don't melt.  I don't if that's true or not, but it was cool either way.

Pacing 7/10: I was kind of glad this was a short book.  I feel like sometimes authors write 400 pages just to make a bigger book.  This was a simple heartwarming book and the length was perfect.

Style 7/10: Even though it seems like I'm complaining a lot in this review, I think the reason I did enjoy it was because the actual writing was well done.  I finished the book really quickly because I loved the character's voice.

Final Thoughts: If you're looking for a cute quick read with a heartwarming lesson-- then this is a good place to start.

Total: 82/100 


“I don't know if my life will ever be completely normal again, but something like normal is a good start.” 

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