Jen Bigheart (I Read Banned Books)'s Reviews > Something like Normal

Something like Normal by Trish Doller
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Jun 25, 12

bookshelves: arc
Read in June, 2012

Oh, wow! The blurb from Lauren Myracle is so spot on. I felt all of the things she described and I am telling you, read this book now! I was so excited to read a book with a male point of view, and not just a male, but an older teen male. I can't think of a whole lot of contemporary fiction books with older teen male protagonists. Travis is back for a 30-day leave after he loses his best friend in combat. He comes home to an ish storm and soon realizes that he is a different man and doesn't quite fit in the same way he used to. Travis felt so very real to me. He fights his demons, leftover from the war, and he is so not perfect. I ached every time he made a mistake and then I found myself saying, "Well hell, can you blame the guy?" I wanted to give him so much leeway because of loss, but sometimes I cringed over his decisions.

There is a dynamic group of characters in this story as well. Travis' home life isn't exactly peachy and he is thrown into his parents mess. We quickly learn that the issues go way beyond the time that Travis was in boot camp and in Afghanistan. The family dynamics are complicated, very complicated, but Travis' relationship with his mother is special. They have a bond that can't be denied and when they lean on each other, it is moving. Travis' fellow Marines are a force and their rowdy and raunchy humor was pretty funny. When Travis begins a relationship with Harper, a girl he has middle school history with, we start to see the real Travis, the Travis that Travis wants to be. That Harper is a patient and forgiving girl. I really enjoyed her as well and their romance was great to watch.

This story deals with real and current issues; the high pressure that teens go through to please their parents, the pressure to be somebody right out of high school, and that crazy time in your life where you transition from childhood to adulthood. This book covers it all, and more, so very well. There is some adult content - Travis is an adult, after all, so I would not recommended for those under 15. Now, do what Myracle says and go buy this book now!
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