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Coming Soon:
~Review: The Killing Woods
~Review: The Waiting Sky
~Review: A Certain Slant of Light
~Review: Timepiece
~Review: Infinityglass

Friday, March 11, 2011

Review: Miles from Ordinary

Miles from Ordinary (ARC) by Carol Lynch Williams
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Release Date: March 15th, 2011
Pages: 197
Age Level: 12+
Source: For review from publisher.

Synopsis via Goodreads
Thirteen-year-old Lacey wakes to a beautiful summer morning excited to begin her new job at the library, just as her mother is supposed to start work at the grocery store. Lacey hopes that her mother's ghosts have finally been laid to rest; after all, she seems so much better these days, and they really do need the money. But as the hours tick by and memories come flooding back, a day full of hope spins terrifyingly out of control....

“No one can get inside the head and heart of a 13-year-old girl better than Carol Lynch Williams, and I mean no one," said James S. Jacobs, Professor of Children's Literature at Brigham Young University, of her breakout novel, The Chosen One. Now this award-winning YA author brings us an equally gripping story of a girl who loves her mother, but must face the truth of what life with that mother means for both of them.

Miles from Ordinary is one of those books that you just don't forget, nor will you want to.

Lacey is a purely raw and genuine heroine. Everything about her rang true as a thirteen-year-old girl; her emotions were relatable and she still had that hopeful innocence about her. Lacey is also very strong, having to deal with and face problems no girl her age should have to. All of these traits really made me love her and hope everything would turn out right. Lacey's mother, Angela, was one of those characters who could make me feel all sorts of things. At times my heart went out to her and I pitied her. However, I also felt a small amount of contempt towards her for not trying or allowing herself to be helped, thus forcing her daughter into such an awful situation. Then I'd be back to feeling sorry for her and that she wasn't all to blame. I actually loved this quality about her for some reason and thought she was very well crafted as a character. Lacey's Aunt Linda isn't actually in the story much but I learned a lot about her through the flashbacks and found I really liked her. Occasionally, I was just as angry at her as Lacey, but then I would look at how much she had done and tried to fix things just to hit a dead end and that erased any resentment. Aaron was like a breath of fresh air to the story; this little dash of lightness and air of being carefree. He contrasted nicely with Laney and was also very understanding, instead of judgemental. Last is Lacey's granddaddy who, ghost or figment of imagination, was downright scary.

Miles from Ordinary gets off to a heart-pounding start with it's first chapter. After that, the plot relaxes, slows, and gradually builds back up to, and exceeds, the intensity of the beginning as it reaches the climax and nears the end. Williams' cleverly weaves in flashbacks in a way that not only furthers the development and provides texture to the plot but also in a way that keeps the story flowing seamlessly, versus being disruptive. There were a couple of places where the plot dragged in the middle but nothing serious, with the book still possessing quality suspense and twists. I thought the story line itself was, overall, very refreshing and memorable.

Williams' writing style is simple yet effective and haunting. There is something about it that just grabbed hold and sucked me in. My only complaint would be that the pacing seemed a touch off, sometimes moving quickly and, at other times, slowing down.

The ending left me wide-eyed with goose bumps as everything came to it's dramatic but oh so appropriate finale. Williams' truly did a brilliant job drawing everything to a close. I'm still slightly confused about one thing, though, and that is, "What exactly happened involving Mr. Dewey?" However, I also got the impression that maybe I'm just not meant to know all the details.

Miles from Ordinary is just what its title implies. Nothing about this book is ordinary and, instead, is strange in a dark manner with the lines between what is real and what is not being blurred. Knowing that there are probably kids out there having to deal with a parent who's mental instability is as severe as Lacey's mom's just made this story even more chilling. If you are looking for light and fun, Miles from Ordinary is not for you. However, if you're looking for something a little more edgy and subtly sinister but also touching, you should definitely pick this one up. I know I'm looking forward to reading more of Williams' work.

Characters: A-
Writing: B
Plot: B
Ending: A-
Enjoyment/Likability: B
Recommendable: B+

Overall: B+

Cover: B+


Naj said...

For some reason I didn't get this post on my feed. -.- Now a days I have to go the blog itself to check out new posts. Blogger hates me. -.-

Anyways! I've seen this around but never thought it would be a book that I'd want to read until now. Sinister and Edgy ey? Love the combination. Awesome Review Briana! :D Keep it up! And I'm sure you'll receive loads of comments soon. :D

Sara said...

This is such a powerful & amazing review! I'm so happy to hear it was so good. Carol Lynch Williams is just really really amazing. If you haven't read The Chosen One and Glimpse by her you definitely should. :P

I so can't wait to read this, especially after this review! :)

Unknown said...

Great review! I've been wanting to read this one for a while! Thank you for sharing!

Nikki (Wicked Awesome Books) said...

Wonderful and thoughtful review, Briana! I wanted to read this one when I first heard of it, but I can't always connect with younger YA narrators. Lacey sounds like a character I could connect with and feel for though. I hadn't realized just how dark/serious the book was before, but now I want to read it that much more.

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Hello all! My name is Briana, I'm 20, and I live in the beautiful state of Georgia. I love reading and photography.

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