Thursday, June 13, 2013


A few days after I signed up to review SOMETHING LIKE NORMAL Netgalley approved me to read Trish Doller's next YA contemp, WHERE THE STARS STILL SHINE. Now that I've read both books I don't think I can simply talk about one. I apologize if this post turns into an all-out love fest for Trish Doller, but I really can't help myself.

First things first. Here's the Goodreads description of 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.

I don't read a lot of books with male protagonists. I think the last one I read was LOOKING FOR ALASKA by John Green. It's not that I don't enjoy them, I just find that I can relate more with female characters. Go figure.
In SOMETHING LIKE NORMAL we begin with Travis returning home from Afghanistan. He is emotionally broken after losing his best friend and not quite sure what to do with himself. There were moments I wanted to slap Travis, keep him from making some of the choices he made, but never did I lose interest in him. He was far too engaging. And the relationship that grows between Travis and Harper is sweet and raw the way it should be. Every romance should be based in reality, I say, otherwise it is no longer believable. And Trish's books are real in a way that makes you feel something whether the protagonist is male or female.
I highly recommend you check this one out. I promise you will fall in love with Travis. He will steal your heart for sure.

And as a added bonus I just have to share my thoughts on Trish Doller's next YA contemp, WHERE THE STARS STILL SHINE, coming September 24, 2013. 

Here's what Goodreads says about it:

Stolen as a child from her large and loving family, and on the run with her mom for more than ten years, Callie has only the barest idea of what normal life might be like. She's never had a home, never gone to school, and has gotten most of her meals from laundromat vending machines. Her dreams are haunted by memories she’d like to forget completely. But when Callie’s mom is finally arrested for kidnapping her, and Callie’s real dad whisks her back to what would have been her life, in a small town in Florida, Callie must find a way to leave the past behind. She must learn to be part of a family. And she must believe that love--even with someone who seems an improbable choice--is more than just a possibility.

This was definitely one of those stories you will think about long after you've finished the book. It is as though the characters live and breath in real life.

From the very first scene you are captivated. I didn't know anything about Callie, but I was worried about her. Uncomfortable. As the the book continues we do learn about Callie through emotional flashbacks that piece together what her life has been like up to this point. And we get to know what she is capable of. She is heartbreaking and yet inspiring. There is such a genuineness to Callie that makes you think she has to be real. This book was emotional and heartfelt and raw. I usually consider a book a success if it can make me feel something while reading it. Whether it's anger or frustration with how the book is progressing, or if it simply makes my heart flutter. This book nearly took my breath away. Truthfully, I just found it beautiful. This is definitely a book I will recommend to anyone looking to read something amazing. It is a book I will read again and again, if only to appreciate the sincerity behind the writing, the true-to-life quality of the characters, and the raw emotion threaded throughout the story.

But please don't take my word for it. You should all just read it for yourself.


See what the other Bookanistas are raving about this week!

Lenore Appelhans  wonders at ALL YOU NEVER WANTED by Adele Griffin

Tracy Banghart embraces IMPOSTOR by Susanne Winnacker

Shelli Johannes-Wells  delights in Cory Doctorow’s LITTLE BROTHER and HOMELAND

Nikki Katz gets the shivers for 3:59 by Gretchen McNeil

Stasia Ward Kehoe, Carolina Valdez Miller & Debra Driza  sing out for the cover of THE SOUND OF LETTING GO

Jessica Love raves about ROAD TO TATER HILL by Edith M. Hemingway

Katy Upperman celebrates THE SEA OF TRANQUILITY by Katja Millay – with giveaway!



  1. Wow - I'm going to have to check out Trish Doller...her books sound fantastic! Great reviews!

  2. I really enjoyed reading this book. Gave me a great insight of what people give up to serve this country.