Review: Something Like Normal by Trish Doller

Book Title: Something Like Normal
Author: Trish Doller
Published Date: June 19th, 2012
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Genre: NA Romance
Book Link: Goodreads
Synopsis 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.

Disclaimer: I borrowed this book from the library.

Oh my goodness, this book was one of those books that are beautiful in a quiet, understated way.

When we meet Travis, he’s just stepping off the plane from Afghanistan where he’s been for a year. He stepped off the plane right into his mom’s arms. Soon after his return home, he realizes how much things have changed at home. He never felt like he was good enough for his dad, but his dad has always treated his mom with respect. Now his dad is never home and when he is home, they are always fighting. His brother Ryan is now hooking up with his ex, Paige. Travis has no interest in Paige, but being with her still gives him a sense of normalcy.

He’s on leave from the Marines, but he can’t get his best friend out of his head. He sees Charlie everywhere he goes. He hears his voice all the time. At night, things are worse. He’s plagued with nightmares of the day Charlie died. He blames himself for it happening. He wonders why he survived but Charlie didn’t.

Harper was such a pleasant surprise. I loved her. She was sweet, ambitious and she seemed normal. Even the fact that she was abandoned by her mom many years ago didn’t seem to be a big deal. i’m sure it was a big deal to Harper, but she didn’t dwell on it. She was definitely the anti-Paige which was great and definitely what Travis needed.

I adored Travis and Harper together. They brought different things out in each other. They helped each other with changes in their home life. They fell in love slowly, which is something I loved. A slow burn is always more enjoyable to me than a bright blaze from the beginning. Harper was there for Travis when he needed to attend Charlie’s memorial service. Travis was there to support Harper’s dream of studying marine biology.

The only thing I really wanted was more on Harper. I don’t feel like I got to know her as well as I got to know Travis. The character development for Harper was not as strong as the character development for Travis was. That’s the main reason I’m giving this book 4 stars.

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