3.5 starsA good book that I probably don't have a lot to say about because it was so perfectly, middle of the road, solidly and completely good. Something Like Normal tells the story of Travis as he visits home for the first time since enlisting in the Marines. He comes home physically intact, but suffering from PTSD after witnessing the death of his best friend in Afghanistan. Travis navigates the life he left behind, the tricks his mind plays on him, nightmares, and even has time for a pretty girl who helps him through it all. I really, really liked Travis' voice. I'll admit that I sometimes have trouble reading male narratives. Or maybe just the badly done ones. But Trish Doller gets it right with Travis, I think. He felt genuine. All the things he is as a young war veteran come out in his thoughts and actions. He's a little crude, but he's also learned and aged a lot in his time away. He makes mistakes still, but he's learning how to own them. I'm not sure if I'm telling you I enjoyed reading him or that I want to date him. He's a little young for me, though, so we'll move on. My favorite parts of the book were Travis' relationship with his mom and with his Marine buddies. Mostly with his mom, though because it made my heart swell.Not as favorite was Travis' relationship with his father and brother, which sort of faded off into the distance and were only ever touched upon briefly. Superficially. There were big, gray, issues here but they weren't handled as deftly as the PTSD, etc.The romance aspect of it was okay. Nothing out of the ordinary. My main gripe was with Harper herself, who was basically a Mary Sue disguised in worn jeans and ratty t-shirts. She was almost too good to be true, considering what Travis did to her, past and present. But it's fine. Sweet, even, and it helped advance the story and get Trav to where he was going. I don't want to get into a discussion about politics or the military, which Doller does a nice job of avoiding in favor of the story, but one thing this book really made me realize, really made me digest, is how young soldiers can be. In one scene, Travis' mother looks at him disapprovingly when he orders beer because he isn't old enough. It's so strange to think about it, especially when he tells him mother, "I'm a veteran of a foreign war." (paraphrased.) I say, pour him another one. Like I said, a good story. If you really love contemporary YA, this wouldn't be a bad one for you to pursue. Lastly: I am such a dork for stories set in Florida. It's so sad. So very, very sad.