Something Like Normal
By Trish Doller
I have been wanting to read this book for quite some time now, and I am very happy that I finally did! It was amazing and so much different than most of the contemporary YA books that I have read in the past. Travis, a Marine, is home from a tour in Afghanistan. Things have changed since he last was home. His brother has stolen his girlfriend, his car, and his mother and father’s relationship is very rocky. Travis is also having nightmares and panic attacks about his experiences in Afghanistan. He is also seeing his dead friend Charlie, who died in an attack in Afghanistan. Travis blames himself for his death. Things change when he reconnects with Harper, a girl who blames him for her less than perfect reputation around town. Travis must learn to cope with his post-traumatic stress disorder by opening up to his family and the girl he so desperately wants to like him.
Everything that happened in this book was very realistic. I felt as if the characters in this book were real people with real lives. The conversations between characters flowed and the book had a nice pace. There are not that many young adult books written about post-traumatic stress disorder. This book helped shine a light on a subject that is hard to talk about and write about. I think the author did a great job of describing the experiences Travis and his comrades had in Afghanistan and the struggles they dealt with after returning. Despite the heavy subject of war, this book is very funny, witty, and endearing. The relationship Travis and Harper have is not perfect, but they really complement each other.
This is Trish Doller’s first book, but her new book, Where the Stars Still Shine, will be out in fall of 2013. If you like Something Like Normal, you should try The Things a Brother Knows by Dana Reinhardt. This book is about the effects that post-traumatic stress disorder have on a young marine and his family.