When Travis returns home from Afghanistan, his parents are splitting up, his brother's stolen his girlfriend and car, and the nightmares of his best friend getting killed keep him completely spooked. But when he runs into Harper, a girl who despises him for rumors Travis started back in middle school, life actually starts looking up. And as he and Harper see more of each other, he falls deeper in love with her and begins to find his way through the family meltdown, the post-traumatic stress, and the possibility of an interesting future. His sense of humor, sense of his own strength, and incredible sense of honor make Travis an irresistible and eminently loveable hero in this fantastic and timely debut novel.
©2012 Trish Doller (P)2013 Audible, Inc.
Brittany (The Book Addict's Guide)
The very first thing I’ll say about Something Like Normal is that I had NO idea it was from Travis’s point of view when I first started it. I’m actually mildly upset that the cover (which I really like) focuses on a girl because that automatically leads you to believe it’s from a female’s point of view. Obviously how I feel about the cover has no impact about how I felt about the book, but something that irritated me a little nonetheless.
Okay! So onto the actual review — I really enjoyed SOMETHING LIKE NORMAL more than I thought I would. I usually don’t pick up books with military themes simply because it’s not something I often relate to, not really personally knowing anyone in the military and let’s be honest — it’s not like the military is a bed of roses. When I’m in the mood for a contemporary novel, I’m usually swinging towards light and fluffy so those just tend to be the books I pick up first. I was in need of a new audiobook so I purchased the Whispersync companion for the ebook I had purchased last year and this one instantly drew me in and I’m so glad I chose it!
SOMETHING LIKE NORMAL was not what I was expecting. In a good way. You know I’m totally loving male POVs in YA right now (although, this would be considered more New Adult, I think?) and so I really loved being able to feel those emotions as Travis was feeling them and his perspective was just so powerful. It was so interesting to be in his shoes and see how much different his life has been since he’s been in the military and the decisions that had brought him there in the first place.
This is definitely a book that was heavy on the emotions and I really appreciated that. I love when I’m able to really be in a character’s head (which I very much was with Travis) and that allows me to really feel everything as I’m reading. There were times I wanted to throttle him, times I wanted to hug him, and times where I wanted to both laugh and cry. I really connected with him and just felt so conflicted about everything that was going on in his life — he doesn’t have it easy with his family and being away, while that meant temporary escape, didn’t solve all of his problems. He isn’t sure what to do about his romantic life, especially when he’s leaving again in such a short time span. And he’s also mourning the loss of one of his best friends Charlie, who he lost in Afghanistan and was more like a brother to him than his own brother was.
I think what I liked the most about the book was that it just felt so realistic. Even when Travis came home, his family issues were still right where he left them except things had actually compounded and even gotten worse in his absence because he wasn’t there to address them. His past comes back to haunt him, just like anyone else, and that affects both his family life as well as his romantic life between his ex-girlfriend who still hangs around (and is actually dating his brother) and new romantic interest Harper.
The romantic aspect of this book was fantastic. I loved how cautious the relationship was between Harper and Travis and yet how easily everything seemed to fit and how casual it became. I loved that nothing was rushed, as it shouldn’t have been, even though Travis was only back home for a short period of time. They really just felt like they fit and even though they had their own personal demons to overcome to make it work as well as one big demon that was actually a major conflict between the two of them from their pasts, it just all felt like it was meant to work out.
Honestly, I wasn’t sure I would connect with this book but the emotional aspect really brought me into the story and didn’t let go. I was totally hooked and for an audiobook, I finished pretty quickly (granted, it was also a shorted book too). I didn’t like it as much as others loved it but I still had a very solid amount of praise for this book and it definitely opens up that emotion-portal that really allows readers to totally fall in love with the characters!
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