This was a nice enough story. I don't think it was very special and I guess both the main characters could have been more developed. But all in all it was a nice a bit sad story about Travis, a 19 year old who returns home from Afghanistan after losing his best friend, fighting demons (mostly his ghost best friend), nightmares and his family - the father he always disappointed, the brother who takes everything from him and his mother he never really got or knew.
The only thing he isn't struggling with, the only thing that works for him is Harper. After their first (and only) kiss in the 8th grade, her reputation became one of a slut (I kinda think it's because of Paige, Travis's ex) and he never actually looked back or thought about it. Then when he keeps stumbling into her when he returns from the army he realizes he wants her, and not like he wanted his ex - just for the sex. He wants more, even if he's really messed up.
I wouldn't have forgiven Travis so easily if I was in Harper's shoes and frankly, I didn't get what she even saw in him... for someone who had a terrible teenagerhood (is that even a word?) BECAUSE of him (even if he wasn't ALL to blame) it would have taken me YEARS to consider forgiving him and I probably wouldn't have been able to in the end. But you know what, she is a sweet and innocent girl and she was really good for/to him.
I loved his relationship with his mother or at least how it changed and developed. I also loved Charlie's mother and her effect on Travis even though her "gift" for him was a bit, well, bizarre (and I'm usually into those things).
My main problem is Travis - the main and only POV in this book. Let's just say it, OK? he's a jerk even if he's trying not to be. Yeah the army matured him a little but not enough if one of the first nights home he sleeps with his obnoxious ex - Paige - who is his brother's girlfriend (she was sweet enough to break up with him in a letter she send him to Afghanistan). What's up with that? I understand the need for sex, but I also have self respect.. and not only that I actually have values.. Like "thou shalt not have sex with your brother's girlfriend even if she was your girlfriend before and even if the both of you cheated on one another repeatedly". It's not just disgusting it's mostly childish and unclear. To sum it up, I didn't feel a "connection" with him. I couldn't sympathize with his character (even though I did feel sorry for him and what he's been through)
I liked the ending, it felt real. It wasn't too overly cheerful and unreal, especially considering the time line, the options they had and well, life in general and the time it takes to deal with these shitty things we have to deal with in life.
The book was very fluent, even though it deals with something dark and sad it wasn't a depressing book. With all the complaints I had above I DID enjoy this one. You just have to realize it's not that deep. It's just a nice enough book about two young adults dealing with life. Living in a country with mandatory enlisting I feel like it's a "story from life" something that could happen 'round here. something believable. and if Travis would have been more likable I would probably enjoyed it more.