Wendy Darling's Reviews > Miles from Ordinary

Miles from Ordinary by Carol Lynch Williams
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's review
Apr 24, 12

liked it
bookshelves: 2012-publication, young-adult, realistic-fiction, smp, march, psychological-thriller, read-2012, mg-not-ya
Read from March 04 to 06, 2012

3.5 stars This is a pretty intriguing novel, especially because the events mostly unfold over the course of one day and the story went in directions I didn't quite expect. 14-year-old Lacey has a lot on her plate for someone who's so young; she's trying to pretend everything is normal to the outside world, but in reality, she's dealing with a depressed, unreliable mother and it's starting to take its toll on her. Particularly because her mom still talks to Lacey's dead grandpa as if he were still alive.

While I was very interested in the premise and it's certainly a fast read, I think there is perhaps a disconnect between subject, style, content, and intended audience. The novel is very short and the plot is somewhat simple, and because it only touches on the surface of the topics of mental illness, potential foster care, etc., it seems more suited to middle grade fiction or very young YA readers. But then again, I see why this is categorized as young adult fiction, because the first person narrative and book's focus on Lacey's state of mind really would make this appealing to that audience.

This isn't the first time in which mental illness and a horror/thriller have gone hand in hand, but since there was so much focus on the former, without scenarios and solutions that seemed more sound, it became a bit more difficult to stay invested in the story. Some of the dialogue also seemed more juvenile and the events rather overly dramatic, though they certainly contribute to getting a sense of Lacey's possible paranoia and being out of control.

I'll tell you what made this book for me, however: in the last third or so of the book, Lacey's emotions reach a fever pitch in a way that suddenly and masterfully draws in the reader with an unrelenting grip. There is a creepy scene towards the end when your imagination runs wild and you're not quite sure what's real and what's not, and suddenly there is a question in your mind (view spoiler). That chilling moment alone is worth reading this book for, and it got me very excited about where the story was going. I just wish I had felt more of that intense interest throughout the entire novel.

Still, I'm definitely interested in checking out other books by this author, and I'd recommend this one as a library read if you're curious.

An advance copy was provided by the publisher for review.
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Comments (showing 1-8 of 8) (8 new)

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message 1: by Cara (new)

Cara Have you read The Chosen One? It's an ealier book by the same author and I simply loved it.

Wendy Darling I haven't read that one yet, Cara! I've heard a lot of good things about it though, and definitely will give it a try sometime, thanks. :)

message 3: by Cara (new)

Cara When/if you do I would love to see your thoughts on it;)

Wendy Darling I will definitely compare notes with you, Miss Cara! :)

Annalisa I want to read The Chosen One too. Even though this had its flaws, I agree that in the end it came through and I really liked William's writing.

Wendy Darling I liked her writing too, Annalisa. It's interesting that many of us had similarly mixed reactions to this book--I do feel very positive towards it overall.

And I'm looking forward to seeing what you think of this one, Sam! It's not perfect, but it's definitely an interesting book and a worthwhile read.

message 7: by Mimi (new) - added it

Mimi Valentine Beautiful review, Wendy! I've read a few books that feel more MG than YA before too, but I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing either :) I'm glad you think it'll be worth the read! *adds to TBR pile*

Wendy Darling Oh thank you, Mimi! I do think it's worth a read, even though it definitely isn't a perfect book. Let me know what you think of it when you get to it!

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