Thursday, June 21, 2012
Review: Something Like Normal
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.
This book was my "I Hate This Cover" winner for the month of June. To all the publishers (I'm thinking of you in particular Disney) who evidently don't value bloggers, you're wrong. Really, really, wrong to the point of moving past misguided into "evil overlord" territory. Why? Because I decided to read a book (this one) that I had basically slushed into "Will Never Read" pile due to bloggers posting about this book. Telling people that it's not a YA romance, but rather a book about a young man returning from the war in Afghanistan.
Okay, this is probably the best YA book I've read that was published this year. (Again, thank you fellow bloggers and "Stuff it", Disney.) Better yet, it's an important book. Even better, it doesn't read like it's self-conscious about being an "Important Book". Instead, it just tells one person's story about war. I'm torn because I want to write a detailed review, but on the other hand I don't want to spoil it. So, I'm just going with the angle of, "Trust me, this is good". How good? Good enough to buy new.
Finally, this book does a good job portraying America's "Unsung Heroes". The families of veterans. The wives, husbands, moms, dads, girlfriends, boyfriends, and assorted friends and relatives, who keep the home fires burning. Who raise the kids, write the letters, say the prayers, cry oceans of tears, wear out the carpets pacing, etc. The heroes left behind who give the men and women fighting something tangible to fight for, live for, and come home to.
P.S. As the wife of a former Navy man, if you've ever written a "Dear John" letter to someone while they were serving at the front... unfriend me, unfollow me, etc. I can't know you.
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