Chachic's Book Nook

Something Like Normal by Trish Doller

39 Comments

Trish Doller’s debut novel, Something Like Normal, is one of my most anticipated releases this year. I read the excerpt and immediately wanted to read the book, I probably would have if it was already available at that time. I’ve also chatted with Trish on Twitter and I keep liking and reblogging her Tumblr posts. I was really excited when I finally got my hands on a copy of her book and I read it as soon as I could.

Here’s the summary from Goodreads:

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.

I love reading older YA or new adult novels and I believe Something Like Normal falls under these categories. Sure, Travis is just 19 but I think being a Marine makes him a more mature character. He’s seen and experienced the atrocities of war and is suffering from the loss of his best friend, Charlie. Now I’ve never been a teenage boy so I don’t exactly know how they think. But I do have guy friends and I feel like Travis has a realistic voice for a guy. He’s far from being perfect and he makes stupid mistakes throughout the course of the novel but I believe he’s a decent guy who genuinely wants to get his act together. It’s just that he’s messed up from everything that he’s been through – failing his father’s unreasonable expectations, signing up to be in the military to escape and heading off straight to serve in an unfamiliar country. Also, I know next to nothing about Marines but I found Travis’ experiences intriguing.

Trish Doller’s debut is something that I wholeheartedly recommend to everyone, even those who don’t usually read contemporary YA because I feel like it has crossover appeal for many readers. It’s refreshing in the sense that it doesn’t focus on a high school setting, isn’t just about the romance and is the first novel that I’ve read with a teen main character in the military. Something Like Normal is very easy to fall into. It’s the kind of novel that you read within one day because you can’t get enough of Travis and his complicated relationships – his issues with his dad and his brother, how he tries to be a better son to his overly supportive mother, how he interacts with his Marine buddies and how he gets to know the girl he’s always had a crush on. While I don’t think the romance is the main focus of the novel, there was plenty of swoon that kept me more than satisfied. I like that Travis and Harper have a history that dates back to middle school. Harper is just the person Travis needs in his life – she’s smart, fun to be with and knows exactly how to handle him. Here’s a spoiler-free snippet from early on:

“Do you need help?” a female voice from behind asks.

I’m about to throw an offended no over my shoulder when Harper comes up alongside me, all green eyes and tousled hair. I could probably look at her forever and not get tired of that face. “If I say yes will you think less of me?”

She shrugs, but I can see a smile at the corner of her mouth. “I already do think less of you.”

Doesn’t that make you curious? Like I said, I love Trish’s Tumblr so I thought it would be fitting to include some of the images that she’s posted in this review. These images actually remind of Travis and Harper. 🙂

Something Like Normal will be released June 19, 2012 and I know this review is ridiculously early but I couldn’t help but spread the word about this novel. I have a feeling a lot of readers will fall in love with Travis’ story. Can’t wait to see what Trish writes next.

Other reviews:
A Good Addiction

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Author: Chachic

Welcome to Chachic's Book Nook! I'm a Filipino book blogger currently based in Singapore. My blog features all sorts of books that I read from various genres (fantasy, contemporary romance, young adult fiction). Click on About Me to learn more and check out my Favorite Books page for a list of books that I love. Thanks for dropping by! Chachic /ˈtʃɑːtʃɪk/ is pronounced with hard “ch” sounds. The first syllable is pronounced like the dance cha-cha while the second syllable is like chick (baby chicken).

39 thoughts on “Something Like Normal by Trish Doller

  1. this review really made me smile – this book is just incredible right? and I totally get what you mean about the cross over appeal! this isn’t a book that should be boxed into any genre, it’s simply a book for readers; a book for people who enjoy the written word. Can’t even put into words just how much I love this story and the people it in.

    her writing is like the best hug ever – it makes you feel happy and warm and you never want it to end. love it big time.

    • Carla, like I said on Twitter, I first found out about Something Like Normal from you! So thank for the heads up. 🙂 I agree, I think it’s a book that a lot of readers will enjoy regardless of genre preferences.

      her writing is like the best hug ever -> Love this! I think that’s a great way to describe her writing. I really can’t wait to read her next novel – I’m enjoying the snippets that she’s posting on Tumblr.

  2. Wonderful review! I love the snippet you included and the pictures (so cute! I love looking through Trish’s Tumblr!). SLN just sounds so good. It’s one of my most anticipated novels this year as well. I seriously cannot wait to read Travis’ story! 🙂

    • Alexa, did you request it from NetGalley? I had a hard time picking a scene that wasn’t too spoilery but would give a nice snapshot of how things are between Travis and Harper. Glad you liked it. 😛

  3. Really nice review, Chachic! Sometimes I just can’t wait to read these new releases either. I’ve got a few that are really burning a hole in my e-reader right now! This book sounds really sweet. Does it get serious too?

    • Catie, I know what you mean! I can’t catch up with my TBR pile because new releases keep tempting me. It does get serious in some parts because Travis has a lot of issues but I never found it overwhelming.

  4. Fantastic review! I read SLN in a single sitting last week and absolutely adored it. Travis’ voice seemed so real, and I think this is one that will appeal to both folks who don’t think they like YA and folks who don’t think they like contemporaries.

    • I read it in one day too. Yes, exactly! It has cross over appeal that would make even readers who don’t usually read YA pick it up. So glad to hear you loved reading this one. 🙂

  5. That clip IS intriguing. I’m so glad that I can get to this soon.

  6. I love Trish’s tumblr–I think half of the images I have on mine are just reblogged from hers xD Anyway, thank you for the wonderful review. 🙂

    • LOL me too, I keep reblogging her posts because I think they’re awesome. So I thought it would be nice to include some of the pictures in my review. Hope you get to read this one soon, Sandy! 🙂

  7. I have it downloaded from NetGalley and REALLY can’t wait to get to it now.

  8. This book looks good! Here’s to hoping my NetGalley request gets accepted!

  9. Your excitement over the past few weeks made me ridiculously excited to read this. When I got approved on NG, I was like pissing myself. The publisher had a caveat on the acceptance that said we had to hold our reviews until a month before release so I guess I won’t be reading it until May:-/ It sounds wonderful.

    • Flann, I’d have to say that book excitement is pretty contagious. 😛 I don’t regret passing my excitement for this book on to you. Aww sorry to hear that you won’t be reading this one until May. You could read it early and maybe wait to post your review?

  10. Oh, goodness. You can’t just go posting little excerpts like that! *fans self* Swoon! I love little moments like that in books. =)

    • Can’t wait for you to read this one! I know you’re really looking forward to it and you’re friends with Trish on Twitter too. I have a feeling you’re going to love this. 😀

  11. I have to write my review, but I had a similar reaction to yours over this one. It was good, and I was happy with it meeting my expectations (which were high I think). I love that it’s from a guy’s POV and that he is in the military. I went to college with a lot of ROTC people (Reserve Officer’s Training Corps) and have friends who went to Iraq and Afghanistan, and I was sending them care packages and hoping they’d come back OK. I know of at least one guy who has some PSTD from his experience.

    • Why am I not surprised that we felt the same way about this book? 😛 I did have pretty high expectations going into this but SLN lived up to them. Oh wow, you have friends who have experience in Iraq and Afghanistan – are they still there or are they back home? Wonder what they’ll think of SLN if they get to read it?

      • They’re back. I don’t think any of the guys read contemporary though. It’s all mystery or just non-fiction when them. And I sense the romance bit would not go over. 😛 Hah!

      • LOL that’s too bad! Well, Trish did mention that there have been some Marines who have read and enjoyed her book.

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  13. Oh, I love Doller’s Tumblr! It has so much awesome. I’m so glad you enjoyed this book- I can’t wait to read it!

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  17. I get your excitement now! 🙂 Now I just need to read Code Name Verity. Another book with war overtones! I love the images you chose from Trish’s tumblr. Sexay.

    • Maggie, so glad you enjoyed reading this! It’s finally being released and I hope that means more people will get to read it. 😛 I’ll keep my fingers crossed that you’ll like Code Name Verity too.

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