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Mile 21

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  244 ratings  ·  75 reviews
The singles ward is the last place Abish wants to be. But after the unexpected death of her husband (and after being kicked out of her mom’s place), she has to move into single-student housing to finish up her schooling. Maybe training for a marathon and winning the heart of the handsome executive secretary are exactly what Abish needs to get a personal best.
Paperback, 336 pages
Published October 8th 2013 by Cedar Fort Publishing & Media (first published October 1st 2013)
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Community Reviews

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3.86  · 
Rating details
 ·  244 ratings  ·  75 reviews

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Katie W
Oct 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I was drawn into this story and I was feeling the emotions right along with Abish. Abish married young and was widowed less than a year later. At 21, she finds herself back in the singles scene at BYU-I. She's trying to cope with her grief and be self-sufficient, yet she doesn't feel she fits in anywhere--not with the marrieds, not with the singles. She doesn't want to accept help, which I can relate to--I hate asking for help. She is trying to come to terms with gospel truths and how they can s ...more
Jan 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A few months ago I saw this book and past over it. it kept coming up and I kept passing by it... the cover seemed a little 1980's from the gold rings to the pink rose. Well, I was in a bit of a book slump and this one popped up again, so I decided to try a sample... by page two I was hooked. I'm so glad I read this one!

This book is about a girl named Abish who is recently widowed. She is 21, not married, but not "single" and struggling to get through her life as an undergrad at BYU-I. She is tra
Aimee (Getting Your Read On)
There is no doubt that Abish has been through a great deal. Being a newlywed and losing your husband would be so hard. Abish has another heartache as well that adds to her overwhelming sense of loss. (you'll have to read to find that one out) Obviously Abish is facing huge obstacles to overcome. Not unlike so many of us at different times and places in our lives.

Here's the thing though. To me, Abish was just mean. Does heartache and loss give someone the right to treat everyone around them like
Rosalyn Eves
Feb 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
While the cover of this novel makes it appear to be a romance, I don't think that's really what it is. I think it's much more an exploration of the main character's personal recovery from devastating grief. At 21, Abish Cavendish Miller is a widow of one year and she's not coping well. She's reached the point in her grief where everyone expects her to move on, but she's not there yet. She's prickly at work, avoids her family, and is generally content to avoid everyone and everything (mostly by r ...more
Oct 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
Mile 21 is a poignant story that follows a young widow's journey of healing and learning to move forward with her life.

Twenty-one year old widow Abish is still grieving the loss of her husband a year after his death. She is having a hard time adjusting to life without her husband, she is unable to let go of the past and move forward with her life. Abish's life is on a downward spiral when she is evicted from her apartment and has to move into the student housing at BYU-Idaho, almost loses her jo
Oct 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: lds-fiction
I LOVED this book. I could not put it down.

I've been in kind of a reading slump lately--where the last 4 or 5 books I've picked up, I either stopped reading about half-way through, or finished them but was left feeling "meh."

When I started reading Mile 21, I had no idea what it was about, but it immediately sucked me in. It is so emotional and heart-wrenching and I had to see what happened to Abish. The back cover blurb makes it sound more romancy than it is. I wouldn't necessarily call this a
Dec 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lds-fiction, romance
There's a lot more to this book than a typical LDS romance. It deals with some tough subjects and for the most part handles them well. Typical of Cedar Fort publishers, it needs help in the copyediting department but it's well-written and enjoyable.
Apr 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
A Whitney Award finalist in the General Fiction category, Mile 21 is a moving account of grief, loss, and the painful process of healing in a uniquely LDS setting.

It's been a year since Abish Miller's husband of only seven months died from a fluke pulmonary embolism. At the age of 21, she'd never envisioned herself a widow and is struggling to maintain any semblance of a life. Her monotonous on-campus job, doing payroll at BYU-Idaho, and managing her mother's fourplex married student apartments
Lisa  (Bookworm Lisa)
4.5 star rating.

Abish is put into an impossible situation. She is grieving a year after the death of her husband, Everyone around her tells her to get on with her life and that she needs therapy. She just wants to have her husband back in her life and to be a mother to their child. She wants her happily ever after, but it ended suddenly when he unexpectedly passed away.

In the middle of all of this she is in danger of loosing her job, she looses her apartment, and she fears she may be loosing her
Abish's life gets turned upside down when her husband dies after just a little over a year of marriage. She isn't quite sure what to do with her life after this and has a hard time adjusting to everyday life. When she continues to fall through on responsibilities she finds herself forced back into the single student scene and housing at BYU-Idaho. Her trials have left her hard and sarcastic and even doubting her faith at times.

At first I found myself having a hard time connecting with the main
Feb 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
Abish has lost a lot by the tender age of twenty-one. Which in turn leaves her in a state of grieving and strange behavior, especially by her actions and how she see's the world. She has a loving family, but they don't seem to understand what she is going through, so she ends up taking life and it's misfortunes and runs away from more she thinks.
Enter her boss (the turd) and Bob the executive secretary, and her new single man starved roommates and personalities collide!
Feb 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Mile 21 is a knockout of a book. It poses the question: What would happen if you were a 21-year-old widow, and then things got worse? That's what happens to Abish. As any person on the edge of depression might do, she makes some foolish choices. As she struggles to hold on to her values she must decide how to adjust to the unfair circumstances thrust upon her. Those around her try to help her regain her social and spiritual footing, but ultimately, Abish is the only one who can do that as she wo ...more
Dec 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I have a really bad habit of reading a book really fast because it is so good and then wishing I would have slowed down and let the enjoyment last longer, but it's so hard when a author like Dunster writes with such a captivating ability.

Spoiler alert:
Abish is tired of people telling her she should have moved on past her grief of losing her husband and child after just a year. She did everything right, was going to college, married in the temple and was waiting for the blessings to flow from her
Aug 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
It is a mark of a well-written book that most of the negative comments about it center around the dislike of a character's personality. I can understand this point of view if the bulk of your reading experience is in the LDS genre where the protagonists are practically perfect in every way. I do like the genre because I prefer its cleanliness- and I'm LDS so I get the jargon, but please do not discourage the injection of a bit of reality, too. I used to be a bishop's wife, but a close look at my ...more
Jul 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book pulls at your heart-strings and makes you wonder...what would you do if you lost your best friend, your soul-mate, your spouse? And how fast would you be able to move on?

Written with such raw emotions this book is one you just can 't put down.

LOVED it from the very first page!

Lots of very interesting questions are brought up throughout these pages....and are given as a great book club discussion at the end of the book.

Abish has had a very hard year!

First he
Oct 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: lds-fiction
In the beginning of Mile 21 Abish comes off as hard, sarcastic and irresponsible. As the story unfolded and I started learning what made Abish who she was. She is a 21 year old widow, everyone thinks she should be able to get past that and go on with life. Her mother seams like a harsh woman, her younger sister has practically perfect life, and she knows her father was against her getting married. Her boss seems like he would be difficult to work with.
When she is evicted from her apartment, her
Norah Baron
Feb 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. In fact I stayed up late one night to read the whole book. I really got into the characters, and I'm hoping some of them are used in future books. The book was laid out great and really built the storyline although I did feel that there was so much set up that the end seemed rushed somewhat. Good writing, enjoyable plot, love able characters and a happy ending, not much else I ask for in a book.
The names of most characters was so so for me. The life details of the characters w
Aug 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
LDS Fiction and one of the best I've read for quite awhile.
I don't know how to describe it without making it sound like a bummer, which it WAS NOT! Abish is a 21-year-old college student. She's also a widow. And her life is a mess. She's having a terrible time reconciling her life to what she had expected it to be. As she struggles with work and family and church and school and housing and dating (sort of) she really has to come to grips with what her faith means when things are not just bad, bu
Oct 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I haven't read a book in awhile that I totally devoured, but Mile 21 was so good that I didn't want to put it down! I picked it up from the post office on my lunch break, and was immediately sucked in. I couldn't wait for work to be over so I could get back to reading. I stayed up way too late to finish it, but it was worth it.

I loved that the setting was one I was familiar with. It was a fun throwback to my junior college days. Some of the references had me laughing out loud. I would love for
Jun 28, 2014 rated it it was ok
I like LDS romance fiction-it's clean and cheesy and sometimes I'm in the mood for that. This book was a tiny tiny bit of romance and a whole lot about depression and death. Which has it's place, but I felt like this book was falsely advertised. Also when she ended up in jail for trespassing I almost threw the book across the room-ridiculous-Rexburg Police would not put her in jail for 7 days for falling asleep on a park bench. The main character didn't show enough growth for me to like her-she ...more
Christine Jensen
Jan 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
What I like most about this book is Abish. She feels like a real person dealing with real issues and feelings. Her pain is so achingly real and her stuttering attempts to deal with it fill me with the desire to reach out and try to help along with her boss/bishop. But, then I realize she is just a character in a book and I must simply read and hope that she will find the help she needs to move on as best she can, in her own way.

While the title and cover image make you believe the book will cente
Stephanie Mason
Mar 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Is there life after death? And if there is, is there any happiness after death? Twenty-one year old Abish Miller isn't necessarily worried about her own salvation, rather she's trying to pick up the pieces of her life after the death of her spouse. In this rich and beautifully written story, life deals this BYU-I nursing student a lot of tough cards. When things get just too much to handle, she takes to the road, running. But there are some things you just can't outrun. It made me laugh and it m ...more
Braden Bell
Jan 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book was stunning. It is one of two I've read in the last year that truly made me laugh, cry, think, and feel. I admire how it was written from a stance that seemed faithful while also being honest. It didn't gloss over the quirks of people, difficult questions, or a unique culture. At the same time, it didn't descend into cynicism or cheap tropes. It was very faith affirming to me without feeling preachy or overly-sentimental. The writing style is lovely as well and it literally pulled me ...more
Jan Norton
Feb 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book is meant for LDS readers.
The main character is Abish, who got her unusual name from a heroine in The Book of Mormon. Abish is a very young widow, who is unable to adjust to life again. Her grief makes her sarcastic and anti-social, and as her life continues to spiral out of control, she seems unconcerned that she isn't coping mentally.
As the author slowly reveals more details throughout the book, you begin to develop more compassion for Abish, and begin to cheer her on for any small p
Feb 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
I really liked this book. Except I don't exactly think she got the diabetic part correct, I might be wrong, but that isn't what I have been taught and trained in at my work. But the rest of the story was poignant. It brought tears to my eyes a lot. I felt for her, I felt for her parents. I think her bishop did the best he could. What a difficult thing to go through. I can't imagine. Sarah Dunster did a good job in making sure she had to hit rock bottom before she could pull herself up again. She ...more
May 07, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction, lds-fiction
Abish is depressed and sorry for herself, and resists all efforts of others to help her be anything but depressed and sorry for herself, over and over again, until finally her life falls to pieces and she is forced into doing something about it. There are also more than a few real jerks out to get her. Luckily for her there are also some really wonderful people, who she is constantly rude to, who look past all that and decide she is worth saving. I agree that she has a genuine cause for depressi ...more
Jan 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book sucked me in with the main character's quick wit and snarky comments. At first she was really frustrating, but that kept me rooting for her to evolve and grow. I feel like the author did a really good job of how grieving can be for someone who has lost a loved one. The romance subplot was also very nicely done. This is the first book I've read by this author but now I'll for sure look into her other book.
Elizabeth Reid
Sep 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: book-reviews
This is one of my favorite books I've read lately for the Deseret News. Dunster's writing is amazing and she deals with some tough subjects. I only wish I had received a hard copy of this book, instead of the PDF ARC, then I would have been able to put it on my bookshelf!

Deseret News review here:
Mar 12, 2014 rated it liked it
I liked this book. It had a few unique elements that made it stand out from the crowd. It's a nominee for a 2014 Whitney award. It dealt with some of the harder concepts is LDS doctrine and had me doing a little research my self. There were a couple of times that I didn't quite understand the main characters reaction/action, but I have also never been in her position. I would recommend this book.
Mar 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Don't judge a book by the cover. I wasn't so sure about this one but I loved it. It doesn't help that I live close the place and went to college at the same place. I felt like I could relate more. I just kept thinking she is so angry, but then had to think I would probably be too if I lost a husband so young! Loved the book and the characters!!
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Sarah Dunster is an award-winning poet and fiction writer. Her poems have been published in Dialogue: a Journal of Mormon Thought, Segullah Magazine, Sunstone Magazine, Psaltery and Lyre, Irreantum Magazine and Victorian Violet Press. Her short fiction piece, Back North, is featured in Segullah’s Fall 2011 issue. She is a contributing poet to the anthologies Fire in the Pasture: 21st Century Mormo ...more
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