Something like normal

Something like normal

by Trish Doller


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

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Dear Travis,

I know you’ve been through a lot and I care for you with all my heart.
I love the honesty with which you describe your world with the good and the bad, I love how you know when you’re wrong, how you are sad to be right, how you want to say you’re sorry but the apologies get stuck in your throat, how happy you would be to find some light in the darkness of your nightmares, how much you need to be held in fragile arms because you are so afraid that you will break apart.

Tumblr_m3krkigaa01qfb46yo1_500_largeI love the way you keep holding on even though it is not easy for you; how you help your mother even when it’s none of your business; how you allow yourself to love and be loved even though you’ve made it all so hard for yourself. Yeah, I get that you were young and restless (LOL) but you were a bit stupid too, and that stupidity is catching up quite fast with you now.. right?

I was so sad seeing that you still had feeling for your ex, but I was more than happy to see that you did realize that there was someone better waiting for you out there.

Also I know that it is hard to forget your best friend; that you wish you could turn back time; that you could save him somehow. I know that you feel like you are losing your mind and I understand that grieve might do that to a person, but hold on there, dear, be strong.. You can make it, you can have what your friend never will – you can be happy with the girl you want, you can have a future, you can hug your mom and tell her how much you love her for being so awesome, you can hope for a better day, you can make friends when the old ones become strangers, you can go back and relive your good old memories in your dreams and then you can wake up and just live..
You can do that – for you, for your loved ones, for Charlie.


This being said, did I love this story?

Yes I did, because in a twisted kind of way I enjoyed Travis’s struggle, the pain he was going true. It made him feel like a real person, with realistic feelings and insecurities, and regrets.

… Because I loved Travis and his mother (when I become a mother I want to be just like her), and I liked Harper so much ‘cause she was cute and spontaneous and the best thing that could have happened to Travis.

… Because the writing seemed so genuinely honest and the conversations sometimes painfully realistic… I can’t even put into words how much I enjoyed every page of this story.

Reviewer’s notes:
I am not sure why people go to war, and I am not sure why there must be a war in the first place. You see, this is a crappy world because the ones that are supposed to be fighting (as behind it all there are always a handful of men that only take the decidion that there must be a war, but they never take any part in it) are safe in their houses while innocent people get trapped into this whole mess, killing and being killed, causing pain and more pain – and you see, the winners are not the ones that are on the ‘winning side’, are the ones that have less loss on their side.
What a cruel world we are living in. We never learn from our mistakes, there’s always someone looking for power and destruction, and there’s always someone on the other side of the coin.

I can’t even imagine how Travis must feel – with the conscience full of people that have died at his hand, with his best friend lost in a war that wasn’t even theirs, without knowing what normal is anymore, not knowing how to be himself again.
Maybe some day we will learn to appreciate not only our life, but the life of others too; maybe someday this will be only a story, some fiction that someone will enjoy without the fear that it might be real for someone, somewhere…

‘Til then, happy reading!

Book source: An ARC was kindly provided to me by the publisher for review.

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10 responses to “Something like normal”

  1. Monik says:

    I am so jealous, I can’t wait to read this book as well.

  2. Maja (The Nocturnal Library) says:

    There aren’t that many new adult novels around, especially ones worth reading. I think characters with PTSD are incredibly hard to write, and i can’t wait to find out how this one worked, especially if the writing is that good
    Thanks for the review.

    • Ari says:

      I know, I tried to find books about older characters that I might enjoy and some failed to hold my attention.
      But in this one I really liked Travis and reading from his point of view. I am not sure how to explain this, but it felt like the author didn’t try too much like some others do, she just let the character speak for himself, and his voice seemed honest, natural, not forced. I liked that a lot.
      I really hope that you will like this book as well.

  3. Kimniewiadomski says:

    I really want to read this book.

  4. Kim says:

    I can’t wait to read this book.

    My blog:

  5. Heidi@Rainy Day Ramblings says:

    Beautiful and creative, Ari. Yes, it is a cruel world that we resort to violence and killing in order to gain power and yes, how awful it must be to bear the blood and guilt of others’ deaths on your hands. This sounds like a very powerful read. I am sure someday you will be a wonderful mother as well.

    • Ari says:

      Thanks Heidi, I really liked this story and I hope you will as well if you get to read it 🙂 As for the last statement, well.. will see in a few years probably – I hope you are right though ;))

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