Title: Something Like Normal
Genre: Contemporary, War, Young Adult
Publisher: Bloomsbury Teens (26th October 2012)
I just came home from Afghanistan.
My parents are splitting up.
My brother has stolen my girlfriend.
(He also stole my car).
And I’m haunted by the ghost of my best friend.
Then I run into Harper.
(Technically, her fist runs into my face).
She’s beautiful, smart, funny . . .
. . . and wants nothing to with the messed-up Marine who ruined her life.
Sometimes the best thing you can hope for is something like normal.
Sometimes what you get might be even better.
Rating: *****(5 stars)
I’ve wanted to read this book for a while, ever since I saw the blurb in a Waiting on Wednesday post. There were a couple of reasons I wanted to get my hands on Something Like Normal. The first was that I thought that the blurb sounded interesting, and the second one was because of the topic. War isn’t an easy or a nice subject, but it’s something I wish was covered more in literature – both Adult and Young Adult.
This book broke my heart a little bit.
Something Like Normal isn’t a “usual” war book. To start with, all the action of the book takes place in the US – in Detroit and Florida, to be exact. Something Like Normal isn’t so much to do with war, but of the consequences of war on a nineteen year-old soldier whose best friend died.
In many ways Something Like Normal is a very hard read. At times I wanted to cry, because my heart went out to Travis as he struggled to fit back in to “normal” life. Other times I found myself shaking my head in disappointment at a choice he’d made. And yet, I felt compelled to keep reading because there is a lot of hope to be found within Something Like Normal. Doller does a really good job at showing how hard it must be for soldiers who have come back from war to try to fit into a life that doesn’t quite fit them any more – not just because of them, but because everyone else has moved forward too. Travis was a really interesting character. I obviously couldn’t relate to him, but I did find myself drawn into his world.
The plot of the book was both what I expected and not. Doller wrote a really beautiful story around a simple and compelling plot. She also did a good job at making the story seem realistic. The struggles Travis faced seemed very real, as did his actions and the actions of his fellow soldiers, and the friends and family he left at home. I thought Doller did a great job at writing Travis with Harper, and the struggle he faces with her and with himself.
If you are looking for a contemporary novel with a different twist, then you should consider picking up Something Like Normal. If you’ve read Code Name Verity (review), or Between Shades of Gray (review) and enjoyed them and want to read more books like them then you should also consider Something Like Normal. In fact honestly, I would recommend this book to almost everyone because it is a very beautifully told story.