Author: Trish Doller
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children's
Release date: June 19th 2012
Genre: Contemporary YA
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When Travis Stephenson returns home from Afghanistan, his parents are on the brink of divorce, his brother has stolen his girlfriend and his car, and nightmares of his best friend getting killed keep him completely spooked. But when he runs into Harper Gray, a girl who despises him for trashing her reputation with a middle school lie, life actually starts looking up. As Travis and Harper see more of each other, he starts falling for her and a way through the family meltdown, the post-traumatic stress, and the possibility of an interesting future begins to emerge.My rating: 5 out of 5 stars
I was going to read Something Like Normal slowly. It was my most anticipated release of the year because it just sounded so perfect. And after reading the first chapter, I knew I would love it. I wanted to read this book one chapter at a time, to make it last as long as possible. But then I just read the whole thing because I COULD NOT STOP. Something Like Normal is like the best piece of chocolate in the world - you know you should eat slowly and save some for later because there will never be another one like it, but you can't stop because it's just so good. That's how I feel about this book. Yes, that's the cheesiest comparison ever, but Something Like Normal got into my head and won't let me think anything but cheesy proclamations of how much I love this book.
Trish Doller's writing is... there's no way to describe it; it's everything. It sucked me into Travis's world and didn't let me go. It's lush and beautiful and just so perfect. It flows so nicely you don't notice the time passing or anything around you. Trish Doller's style is versatile and unique and so perfect for this story. It's understated and let's Travis's voice take center stage most of the time, but then there'll be a sentence that's like a punch in the stomach and will make your heart fill with hurt and love at the same time, somehow. (Here I go again with the cheesy metaphors - I've never been punched in the stomach and I have no idea how it feels. But I imagine it's somewhat like one of those scenes that just completely shattered my heart.)
I feel like I'm not doing a good enough at explaining how amazing Trish Doller's writing it is. We all call writing beautiful all the time, but Trish Doller's style? It goes above and beyond. It's not just beautiful, it's... wow. In the beginning, I found myself reading every single sentence twice, because I kept being amazed - I did not know that words could be so perfect.
And the characters. Oh my God, the characters. Travis, will you marry me? Pretty please? I loved Travis so much. His voice is one of the most realistic male POVs I've ever read. He's so real and his emotions are perfect and I don't even know what to say except I LOVE YOU, TRAVIS. He's kind of an asshole, but he's so freaking adorable at the same time. I loved being inside his mind.
And Harper. Girl, you are so badass it's not even funny. I take my wanting to marry Travis back because Travis and Harper are perfect together and I would never want to mess with that. In the beginning, I was fearing insta-love, because these two do accidentally meet more than is realistic, but this is so not insta-love, and I didn't even care whether their meetings were unrealistic. Their chemistry is hot, and their bantering and teasing is so freaking adorable. Really, these two make me want to squee and swoon and sigh with happiness. (Also, I'm kind of in love with the names Harper and Travis. They're not that special, but I just loved them. Seriously, I'm considering naming my hypothetical future children after these characters because I loved them so much.)
I also loved reading about the family storyline, and I wish we'd gotten to know even more about it. The way Travis is with his mom is adorable. (Sorry, Travis, for calling everything about you adorable - I get that'd kinda piss you off. BUT YOU ARE.) I wish the dad's and the brother's characters would have been explored some more, though, even if both of them made me want to hit something.
But none of this is what I really loved most about Something Like Normal; it's how much it made me feel. There's this feeling you get whenever you finish a really good book. (Well, at least I do... I can't be the only one!?) And after finishing Something Like Normal, I had that feeling, times a hundred. That feeling filled me to the brim, and it made me want to laugh and cry and scream and dance and LIVE. This book has a dark topic, and there are plenty of scenes that tore at my heartstrings, but there are so many more that just brought a gigantic grin to my face. I don't know what it is about it, but this book made me so ridiculously happy!
My only complaint is that it's so short. It ended, and I went, what? How can it be over already!? I love the way it ended, but still. I just wasn't ready for it to be over. Really, if there were a way to make this book never end, I'd be totally fine spending the rest of my life reading this book. But in a way, I get why Trish Doller ended the book the way she did.
Sorry I'm so weird in this review, not making any sense and talking to the characters and all. But this book is so good it might have made me a little incoherent. I don't even know what to say, other than READ THIS BOOK. (Also, sorry about the caps lock. I don't normally do this, but this book calls for caps lock statements. And for random sentences in parentheses.) Trish Doller, please hurry up writing another book, and another one, and another one - I know I'll be reading them all.