Today’s Second Chance Sunday is brought to you by Trish Doller and her amazing debut Something Like Normal. Before I post the review let me tell you one thing: I read this book originally on Netgalley but loved it so much I went out and bought a copy just so I would have it always. You’ve been warned.
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.
Amazing!!!! Simply put this book was amazing! The story is told in such a way that it dragged me immediately. I wanted to be friends with Harper, hang out with Travis’ mom and date Travis. I wanted to be right in the middle of the action and at times I felt like I was.
Basically Something Like Normal is about Travis, an active Marine home on leave from Afghanistan for a month, and the adjustments he has to make to life back in the states. Before joining the Marines Travis was not the best of kids. He smoked pot, butted heads with his father over his lack of love for football, and had a girlfriend that was no good for him. Now back and bogged down with nightmares and guilt, Travis has to put the pieces of his life together. His once happy parents are anything but and his girlfriend is now with the last person Travis expected. Unsure where he stands in all of it or how to fit in Travis runs into the one person that could get to him. He runs into Harper, his first kiss and the girl he destroyed. Harper has the potential to make nothing the same for him again or to make him feel something like normal.
What I really liked the most about this book is the fact that it is told entirely from Travis’ point of view. I had read a military book previously that was told from the prospective of the female character and what happens while he was away. With Something Like Normal I got a look at what I really wanted to know, what happens when you come back, even if it is for a short period of time. Travis gave me that glimpse into what it is like to have everything feel off kilter and not to know which end is up. And it was done with humor and heartache and uncertainty. It is difficult to get the voice right for a guy. If you go too crass you can make the character come across as sounding, for lack of a better word, douchey. But Doller managed to make Travis sound genuine and loveable. No wonder Harper couldn’t stay away. I don’t think I could either. He kind of had a way about him that could just melt your heart.
Really, it is very rare that I will willingly give up sleep to finish a book in a full day, but this one I did and I don’t regret one minute of lost sleep. Doller’s debut novel is wonderfully done and should be praised. This one is definitely a keeper and I look forward to reading more from her in the future. Oh and how do I get a Travis of my own?! ♥