Author: Trish Dollar
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children's
Find it here: Amazon, Goodreads
Source: ARC compliments of the publisher
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.
I’ve said it before and I will say it again, I love a good young adult novel from the male perspective. I’ve read a few fantasy and paranormal novels from the male perspective but I think this is the first contemporary. It’s really refreshing because young adult males see the world differently than females. Travis is back home for a short time after serving in the Marine Core in Afghanistan. He has come back a different person and feels uncomfortable around the people he once knew. While at a bar he runs into a girl he knew in middle school but didn’t talk to too much in high school. He is also suffering from PTSD after losing a good friend in the war. This is a book about healing, acceptance and learning how to get back to yourself after a tragic situation leaves you broken.
Harper (love that name!) is one of my favorite characters in this book and I have to give her major props! I would not be able to date a guy after he absolutely ruined my life. I am a grudge holder and I’m really bad at giving people second chances. But that’s what Harper did! She saw the changes in him and was willing to leave what was in the past in the past. I also love how the relationship was built. They got to know each other and they built a foundation of trust before they admitted that they liked each other. They had their ups and downs because they’re not perfect. It was really beautiful without the case of insta-love.
I fell head over heels in love with Something Like Normal! It’s everything I could ask for in a contemporary novel and it’s an outstanding debut! I have to give Something Like Normal 5 hearts because it’s one of the best contemporaries I’ve read this year!