Series: Stand alone
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Publication Date: June 19, 2012
Source: Personal Purchase
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.In short, Something Like Normal is easily one of the best books I've ever read. A book that makes me want to look at most other books and say "Nice try. Better luck next time."
Something Like Normal is one of the most raw and unflinchingly honest books I've ever read. Travis Stephensen is a boy struggling to hold himself together in the aftermath of losing his best friend in the war. He's struggling with grief and guilt. Travis may have survived, but in some respects, every soldier is a casualty to war.
There's not really much I can say about this book that I feel hasn't already been said by other reviewers. The story was quietly devastating. Doller did a remarkable job at laying out Travis' emotional devastation, piece by piece. It was a privilege to watch this young man slowly unravel, then knit himself back together again (with help from the perfectly written Harper).I don't know about anyone else's feelings, but for me, Something Like Normal is a love letter to all the Travis' out there. All those boys, and women, who do the very best they can, and unfailingly search for their new normal.
Something Like Normal is just an amazing book, written by an amazing author and you should just go ahead and do yourself the favor of reading it.
"No matter how rough my dad was on me, or how hard things got in boot camp, or how scared I was in Afghanistan, I never cried. Ever. And I know I should be embarrassed, but this is Harper, who doesn't try to tell me everything is going to be okay. She stands there and keeps me from drowning." (pg 187)
Genre: Contemporary YA
Publication Date: 1/10/
Source: Personal Purchase
THERE'S A GIRL.My reading Ditched was fate. Never in my life have I found a heroine who I could identify with as much as Justina Griffith. Ditched is told in pieces as Justina works out how things went from so potentially epic to so epically awful to the ladies at the 7-Eleven. Some might say that the craziness Justina stumbles through is a stretch of reality. I say it is possible, and I lived it.
Justina Griffith was never the girl who dreamed of going to prom. Designer dresses and strappy heels? Not her thing. That said, she never expected her best friend, Ian Clark, to ask her.
AND THERE'S A BOY.
Ian, who always passed her the baseball bat, handle first.
Ian, who knew exactly when she needed red licorice.
Ian, who promised her the most amazing night at prom.
THEN THERE'S A DITCH.
But when Justina is ditched, figuratively and literally, she must piece together--stain-by-stain on her thrift store dress--exactly how she ended up dateless...with only the help of some opinionated ladies at the 7-Eleven.
To get the whole store, Justina will have to face the boy who ditched her. Can losing out at her prom ultimately lead to finding true love?
Here's the dealio: Teenage Andrea was just like Justina in every way imaginable. Justina has a low-blood sugar, and becomes cranky and irrational when she goes too long without food. Let's just say that my hubby compares me to the Incredible Hulk when I get hungry. I cry and make weird frantic gestures. Justina and her best friend Hailey are kissing addicts. They love kissing boys for fun and keeping count. My high school bestie and I were also kissing addicts. I think we finally stopped tallying kisses at around boy number fifty, when we became slightly ashamed. Another way I was like Justina: Horrific Prom Night from HELL, complete with a ripped zipper? Yep, and I even told my boyfriend I'd meet him after, but ended up hanging out with my friends and other boys, NO kissing involved. I had not one but TWO horrible Prom Nights, one that I included a boy shoving shortcake in my friend's face during the meal. I hate Prom.
Like Justina, I was clueless when it came to guys liking me. There are several boys who years later told me I was blind to every signal they threw my way. I'm convinced that the only reason I ever ended up dating my husband was the fact that he locked me in a car and asked me, point blank, to be his girlfriend. Seriously, he had to get drunk to find the courage to propose! So yeah, I can say from first-hand experience that girls like Justina exist, and if we're lucky, we find boys like Ian. Patient, thoughtful and immune to the insanity, boys like Ian Clarke make girls like Justina Stop...Take a Breath...and Fall in Love.
There is a paragraph in Ditched that I wish every person who's never found The One to read:
"It's true. I'm not that girl anymore. And there will be a time when I'll be The Girl. It is all about timing--and one day when I'm not planning it, and organizing it and strangling it, love will become possible. There won't be any more leapfrogging. We'll land in the exact spot at the same precise moment. And I will wait." (pg.268)
Sidenote: Any book/author that includes John Hughes in their Acknowledgements is a book/author that must be read.
Ditched is hysterically funny, surprisingly thoughtful, and infinitely delightful.
"My chest heaved and my heart jumped out of my chest, cannonball-style. All I could think about was throwing something at her---something made of glass. Or spikes. Or a viral disease. They really should invent Herpes In A Jar for moments like these." (pg.112)
"But what I loved most about our friendship was the way he said my name...always dripping with adoration. And annoyance. I had always figured that's what had drawn Ian to me. My adorably low tolerance for PMS mixed with my all-black wardrobe. It was sexy to him.
Probably." (pg. 196)