Monday, June 18, 2012

Apocalypsies Love! Book Review: Something Like Normal by Trish Doller

Apocalypsies Love is all about me telling you what I loved about a 2012 debut book written by one of the amazing Apocalypsies. I also chat with the author to gain insight into their very favorite parts of their creation.

Today I'm featuring SOMETHING LIKE NORMAL, a stellar contemporary YA about a teenage Marine adjusting to life back at home after being at war in Afghanistan.

What struck me first about SOMETHING LIKE NORMAL was Travis' voice.  It oozes authenticity and makes you sympathize with Travis despite his obvious shortcomings.  I mean, it's definitely gross what he's got going on with his ex-girlfriend and despite probably not deserving the fabulous Harper, you root for their romance to develop.  

The story itself is compelling in that raw way that utterly rips out your heart. Travis' experiences in the war have damaged him, and his arc here is one of healing. I especially liked how Travis finds his way back to "something like normal" not only via a romantic relationship, but also via his relationship with his mother.

Yes, this novel has it's share of ache, but it also has its funny, lighthearted moments.  One of my favorite scenes takes place in a diner and involves Travis, his friends, Harper, a kiss and a $10 bet. 

Trish also did a ton of research for this book (read this guest post Trish wrote for Presenting Lenore 2 years ago to get an inkling of how much) and it shows. 

Now that you know what I love about SOMETHING LIKE NORMAL, let's turn to Trish for her favorites!


What is your favorite scene in the book?
My favorite scene is one in which Travis is recalling his best friend, Charlie's enlistment tale. Charlie saw a commercial on television that snagged his attention and his mom did everything she could to talk him out of it--including proposing some unusual alternatives. I don't want to give any spoilers, but it's a funny scene that never fails to make me laugh.

What is your favorite line in the book?
My favorite line is from the scene I mentioned above. Charlie says, "My mom--the only parent on the planet to try and talk her kid into doing drugs to keep him out of the Marines."

What setting was most fun to write?
Afghanistan was definitely the most interesting setting in the book. I learned so much about what it was like to be deployed there by Marines who'd actually been, and I feel it added authenticity to Travis's story.

Who is your favorite supporting character - one you could see getting a spin-off book - and why?
Charlie, despite being dead through the entire novel, is my favorite supporting character and it might be interesting to look at his life before he enlisted in the Marines. But, I think Travis's brother, Ryan would be a more compelling story. In Something Like Normal, he's a spoiled kid who thinks he's been living in his brother's shadow. It could be fun to see him get over himself.

What has been your favorite part of your publishing journey so far?
The best part of my journey has been the book bloggers. And I'm not just saying that. I reached a very low point when my first book was cancelled by the publisher and they stuck with me, as cheerleaders as I wrote Something Like Normal and, really, just as friends. Their support meant the world to me then and their unflagging enthusiasm for the book never fails to make me smile.

Yep, book bloggers rule! Thanks Trish!


SOMETHING LIKE NORMAL comes out tomorrow! Find out more about it at the author's website.

FTC disclosure: I read a copy provided by the publishers via NetGalley.


Rowena said...

Ooh, I would LOVE to read a book from either Charlie or Ryan's POV. I think it'd be interesting to get to know Charlie considering how important he was to Travis (and I LOVED Travis) but you're right. Ryan's story would be a compelling one. I'd totally read his book, cause I'd love to see him get over himself.

Great post!

Jenna D. said...

What an excellent post! I cannot wait to read Something Like Normal, and this post made me even more excited about the book's launch party that I will be attending this Saturday! :)

bermudaonion said...

I bet this is a heartbreaker. Vance had a friend go to Iraq as a teen and he had a lot of trouble adjusting when he came back.

Anonymous said...

Woooooo I've pre-ordered this and can't wait to read it!

Liviania said...

I want to read this one. I've had a number of friends go to Iraq, and it's a story that isn't really being told yet, especially not for young people.

Sarah said...

Thoroughly loved this book!

The Insouciant Sophisticate said...

It would be really interesting to read a book from Ryan's POV as I hated him in this book. What makes him tick? What would make him sympathetic to a reader who is already prejudiced against him for his jerky behavior and negative portrayal in SLN?