Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Up and Coming: Something Like Normal by Trish Doller

Something Like Normal by Trish Doller

Release Date: June 19, 2012
Travis is back at the house he grew up at. But home still feels a couple thousand miles away in Afghanistan. His bed is too soft and the entire house is too quiet.

Travis didn't sign up for the Marines because of September 11, he was only 9 when that happened. It was an option that didn't give his dad any control over his life, and that was exactly what he was looking for. Back at home on leave for a month he'd much rather have to answer to a sergeant than his former pro-football player dad.

Because this book has kissing on the cover, there is a big chance that I have already lost the boys out there. WAIT, come back! The author says, there's kissing in the book, but it's mostly about Marines and that is 100% true. It's about the way that Travis can't relate to his  dad or even his brother the way he can with the total strangers he served with. Those guys are now more family to him than any of the men with whom he shares DNA. This is a book about the brothers you choose. It's very different from the other military YA I've read because it's not about what/whom Travis left behind, but what he found when he came back.

I figured you might not listen to me, the girl librarian who reads a lot of romances, so I have enlisted my go-to-defense-analyst to give a guy perspective on this book.

First, as a researcher myself, I was pleased that the author really did her homework. She acknowledges the assistance of a Marine unit and soldiers that she spoke with (you can read a little bit more about that here), so you know the military stuff is pretty true to life as she dug into the experiences of real Marines.

I found Travis easy to relate to and his experience rang true to me. He struggles with post-traumatic stress disorder (including a scene in a doctor's office, which brilliantly captures the challenges soldiers and Marines face in dealing with this condition).

He no longer relates to the friends he left behind, even as he pursues a girl from his past. At the same time, he has to deal with the aftermath of the death of his best friend Charlie, including meeting Charlie's unique mother and facing a funeral.  It's a great story, with great characters and well worth a read!

So, there you have it, don't let kissing on the cover scare you away from meeting Travis and reading Something Like Normal or you will seriously miss out. 

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