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Something Like Normal Hardcover – June 19, 2012
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From School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up-Travis Stephenson is back home in Florida, on leave from Afghanistan where he has been serving on active duty as a U.S. Marine. The war has changed him, and upon his return, he is overwhelmed by his hometown, his friends, and his family. His ex-girlfriend is now dating his brother, his parents are splitting up because his dad is having an affair, and he's haunted by nightmares and hallucinations. When he reconnects with Harper Gray, a girl he spread a rumor about in middle school, he finds relief from his anxieties. During his leave, Travis must come to terms with his best friend's death during combat and realize that his flashbacks and visions are not part of the standard post-combat experience and that he needs professional help. By the end of the novel, he finds the strength to speak at Charlie's memorial. The romance and tight narrative make this a dynamo of a soldier's story.-Leah Krippner, Harlem High School, Machesney Park, ILα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
About the Author
TRISH DOLLER has worked as a newspaper reporter and radio personality and is now a bookseller. She lives in Ft Myers, Florida with her husband, two dogs, and two mostly grown children. Also, Trish has about a dozen Marines she'd like to adopt.
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Top customer reviews
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Travis has just returned from a stint in Afghanistan and has suffered a traumatic loss over there. He's currently got PTSD, though he doesn't want to admit it. He also has changed a lot from who he was before the military to who he is now, and he has to deal with that while interacting with his old friends who haven't changed or moved on at all.
I thought his relationship with Harper was also really well done and realistic. They were not professing their undying love and claiming to not be able to live without each other forever and ever after their first date. Their relationship progressed naturally and I liked that.
While the romance is a big part of the book, overall this book seems to be about dealing with loss. I thought Trish Doller handled this so well. I recently read another book where the main character was supposed to be scarred and emotionally disturbed because of her past and it was handled so poorly. Doller knocks it out of the park here. Travis was tortured and real and so believable. I love how she handled his PTSD and the slow healing process he went through during the novel.
I also loved the end. I was worried when he had three years left of active duty that she would cop out and find some way for him to stay local and be with Harper, but she didn't and I love it. The book has a happy ending, but a real one. When I finished this book I was happy and satisfied and immediately went searching for more books by this author. I can't ask for much more than that!
I felt the impact from the book pretty straight away and knew it was going to be a really good read.
I loved hearing the story from Travis's pov. He had the emotion and the pain and the story was written so well that I felt it. I ached for Travis and wanted everything to be right in his world.
Travis is 19 and has seen more in his young life than anyone should be exposed to. Going to Afghanistan was just the start. Coming home and dealing with all he has seen and gone through is another battle for him.
This is a story full of flawed, normal people. Nothing seemed over the top or far fetched - everything felt so real in this book.
Harper was a good balance for Travis and their developing relationship took the book to a new level for me. She brought out a side in Travis he didn't know existed and it was beautiful.
The interactions with Travis and his Mum really pulled at your heartstrings and seeing the relationship through Travis's eyes really added depth.
I had this book on pre order for a while and it was definitely worth the wait.
This book will stay with me for quite a while yet.
A quote from the book which sums it up well for me.
"But what has been done can't be undone. My best friend is dead and I'm never going to be the same Travis Stephenson"
Travis is a flawed character - he's having sex with his ex (who is his brothers current girlfriend) even as he's being drawn toward another girl, among other issues, but he's realistically flawed and yet still likeable. It's a story about coming home, family dynamics, learning to live with terrible things, trying to find your way in a world that no longer makes sense, as well as a love story. I loved it.
Most recent customer reviews
Some books don't live up to the hype they receive, but Something Like Normal certainly does.Read more