Dec 18, 2013

Review: Something Like Normal by Trish Doller

Title: Something Like Normal
Author: Trish Doller
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Publication Date: 6.19.2012
Pages: 224
Genre: Contemporary, Real Life Issues, New Adult
Series: No
Source: Purchased ebook

Rating: A+

Summary (from Goodreads):
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’m going to let you guys in on a little secret: I sometimes quit reading.

I think I get burned out and tired of the same revolving plots, characters, clich├ęs, and tropes that everything starts to blur and I just get exhausted. So it’s not uncommon for me to take a sabbatical from reading for several weeks or a couple months. I recently hit this point in October. I was just over the constant read, review, repeat. I took a break and had just felt like crawling back into the world of reading when a friend (*cough*JEN*cough*) told me I needed to read Something Like Normal. I had read Trish Doller’s other book (Where the Stars Still Shine) and loved it, so I figured why not?

Cut to twenty-four hours later to me sitting in my office, furiously reading the ebook on my kindle app on my iPhone as I kept an ear open to notice if anyone was coming down the hall to bust me. But it didn’t matter because I was hopeless, desperately, irrevocably in love with this book.

Doller has a simple beauty in the way she tells a story. There are little frills and lace, but an inherent sophistication to her writing. Every word is precise and weighted to keep the reader firmly tethered to the story and characters. Travis had my heart from the first line to moment he signed off at the end. In fact, my heart is probably going to be eternally trapped somewhere in those pages.

I also have to say that this book is entirely told from Travis’ point of view. It’s sometimes awkward for a female writer to give a male character a voice that isn’t, well, girly. I’ve seen it go wrong more times than right, but this is one of those books where it was so spot-on, so incredibly perfect. Travis was a complexly uncomplex guy. He’s battling PTSD while trying to maintain that strong, macho bravado that it seems men need to cling to so as not to appear weak.

I loved his relationship with Harper. I loved that Harper was a strong, vibrant girl who wasn’t a doormat but also wasn’t a bulldozer. She didn’t let Travis get away with anything and she wasn’t on a mission to change or even save him. She was patient and listened and argued when needed. Their relationship had this perfect way of balancing each other, and that is what I love seeing. There was no insta-love or wildly unbridled passion … It was fluid and natural and organic.

I am such a hardcore Trish Doller fan (in case you were unsure). Now and forever, I will follow her words to the ends of the earth and beyond. She’s a writer who just gets human emotion and is able to capture it with a grace that is inspiring. This book made me so excited about reading all over again. I had forgotten that magic moment where a book touches your heart for a little while. Something Like Normal made me believe in book magic again.

Buy: Amazon


  1. This is a fantastic review. I'm glad you find the magic again to both read and share your thoughts. I love the relationship you described here and I will for sure keep an eye on Trish Dollar. I hope she will surprise me too :)

  2. I've been quitting a lot of books lately so I do understand. But how fantastic that you became a secret reader for this book! That's some serious sticking power, there.

  3. This is such a beautifully written review. Apparently I need to read Trish Doller. I mean everybody tells me she's amazing, but now I feel like I need to run out and get this book right now.

  4. I think it's harder to write a review on a book we love, but this is perfect Your review, your reaction to the book and characters makes me want to read this, now!

    I don't get in reading slumps anymore, but sometimes I have to take genre breaks. I can't just read YA or thrillers or fantasy without burning out. And sometimes a really good book wakes me up, this sounds like a wide awake book!

  5. The same thing happens to me Hannah! I just get tired of reading/reviewing and need a break. When that happens I normally binge watch a tv show or devour as many movies as I can get my hands on. So glad this book got you back into the swing of things, I've heard nothing but good things about it. I think it's time I gave it a try! I want to love it as hard as you did:)

  6. I am a lazy person. Even with doing what I love, I get lazy so I'm glad I'm not alone! YAY! that A+ made me smile because it isn't every day a book gets an A+. For me, those are REALLY important because it sets an A between an A+. So glad you like it!

    - Nova

  7. I think everyone gets burned out, even of doing something we love. It happens with work, hobbies and everything else in life, so why not reading? I'm glad you loved this one, I'll be sure to check it our my friend, I love everything you recommend :)

  8. As with WHERE THE STARS STILL SHINE, you're welcome. ;)


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