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The Ballad of Ami Miles

3.43  ·  Rating details ·  539 ratings  ·  132 reviews
Raised in isolation at Heavenly Shepherd, her family’s trailer-dealership-turned-survival compound, Ami Miles knows that she was lucky to be born into a place of safety after the old world ended and the chaos began. But when her grandfather arranges a marriage to a cold-eyed stranger, she realizes that her “destiny” as one of the few females capable of still bearing childr ...more
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published December 1st 2020 by Swoon Reads
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Nenia ✨ I yeet my books back and forth ✨ Campbell
I love books about cults lol
Samantha Hastings
Oct 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A compelling, post-apocalyptic story where the emphasis is firmly on the heroine.

Ami has been raised in a survival compound her whole life with the knowledge that it is her duty to have babies. When the world “broke” most woman had become in fertile. Ami’s mom was fertile which means she might be too. But when Papa Solomon brings an older stranger to impregnate Ami, she goes on the run... to find her mother. To find herself.

Ami’s character development shines in this story as she sorts out the t
Shannon (It Starts At Midnight)
You can find the full review and all the fancy and/or randomness that accompanies it at It Starts at Midnight


I love cult books. I love post-apocalyptic books. So how do you improve upon these already fabulous genres? Why, mash 'em together, of course! And I shall now tell you exactly what worked for me in this book, and then what kind of didn't as much.

What I Enjoyed:

I was rooting for Ami from the start. How could I not? We open the story with her about to be married off to some old man
☼ Sarah ☼
The Ballad of Ami Miles is a coming-of-age dystopian story with echoes of The Handmaid's Tale. In a post-apocalyptic setting where many have been rendered infertile, sixteen-year-old Ami has been raised by her religious grandparents at the family compound, Heavenly Shepherd, with the expectation that she'll one day have a baby to keep the line going. When a man old enough to be her father turns up and she's told that she has to breed with him, she must make a choice: stay and live a life that wi ...more
Dec 22, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: rona-reads
Okay, so normally I save one-star reviews for books I hated, or books I hated so much that I didn't finish them. I did finish this one, and I wouldn't go so far as to say that I hated it. But it just...wasn't a complete book. This read like the first draft of a better book.

"The Ballad of Ami Miles" follows a girl, Ami Miles, (shocker, I know) on a journey from what could ostensibly be called a cult to a healthier life situation. In this book, the world has undergone some kind of plague that make
Well…didn’t hate it, didn’t love it. As far as dystopians go, this was fun. It had a bit of a cult, a safe haven (a trope I live in dystopian), some great reveals, and a good cast of characters.
Alex Nonymous
Jan 11, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: 7-8-and-9
I really enjoyed the opening of The Ballad of Ami Miles, but plotwise it really goes downhill from there. The story's already short, but so much of it is just characters recapping things to other characters and I honestly felt like I was reading a draft for the first act of a story instead of a fully contained novel. The premise was really interest and Kristy Dallas Alley is definitely a good writer, but this was ultimately a bit of a let down. ...more
Jan 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I wish I could’ve read this book when I was a teenager. I wonder how different my life might have been. A beautiful story that will make life a little better for young people finding their way in this very confusing world.

Thank you for telling this story.
Jay G
Mar 31, 2021 rated it it was ok
Want to see more bookish things from me? Check out my Youtube channel:

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review*

2.5/5 Stars

Since she was born, Ami has been raised by her grandparents on a compound in isolation. After the world fell apart, many woman became infertile, so Ami has grown up believing that her sole duty is to have babies, like her mother once did. When Ami was a baby, her mother left, to escape the go
B.R. Myers
Dec 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Part coming of age story, this YA dystopian tale is told through an authentic voice that’s as gritty and compelling as the main character herself. After escaping her family compound to avoid an arranged marriage to an older man, seventeen-year-old Ami desperately searches for a sanctuary and her long lost mother. Well versed in survival skills Ami manages to find safety only to discover that the world she knew was based on lies. With revelations that will keep the reader turning pages, the unexp ...more
I received this book from NetGalley in exchange of an honest review. Thank you so much, Macmillan Children's Publishing Group and Swoon Reads, for the chance to read and review it.

TW: racism, homophobia, bigotism

Ami is a young girl who was raised in isolation with her family at Heavenly Sheperd, her family's trailer-dealership that became a survival compound. Safe and cared for, her life changes when her grandfather brings home a stranger and makes clear her "destiny" as one of the few female st
Dec 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
Overall, although it was bit shorter than I would have liked, this dystopian cult story is truly interesting.

Spoiler-free Review:

I received an ecopy of this book via Netgalley; however, my opinions are my own.
Dec 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lgbtq
Thank you to Macmillan Children's Publishing Group for a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are my own.

First and foremost, I loved this book! This is definitely one of my top 10 reads of 2020.

Ami is an innocent 16 year old girl who has grown up in a very isolated place. After "the change" most women became unable to have children, so when Ami was born she was considered a blessing. Now that she is of child bearing age her
Many thanks to EdelweissPlus and the publisher for providing me with a DRC of this title for review. All opinions are my own.

When I was about 25% done with this book, I was ready to give it a solid shoulder-shrugging "meh" as a review. I went into it expecting a dystopian story with a side of cult psychology and some feminism, and that wasn't exactly what I got. BUT, I found myself unable to look away from Ami and her story of self-discovery. Because, in the end, this was a coming of age story.
Nov 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
I didn't have a lot of expectations, going into this book, but it was still completely different from what I imagined. Opening up with the history of Heavenly Shepherd, an outpost and colony of people who fled during the government breakdown, these people reverted back to historic and bigoted practices: racism, sexism, homophobia, and general isolation. What I didn't expect though, was the fact that Ami was meant to be breed like an animal. 

This book is only 262 or so pages long and yet so much
Brandy {The Review Booth}
I could see The Ballad of Ami Miles coming to fruition in some aspects. You hear more and more about infertility as well as couples deciding not to have any children. The attitude surrounding women and their roles that we see at Heavenly Shepherd is unfortunately nothing new. I wouldn’t be surprised at something like it cropping up if something like the Break happened in the near future. Heavenly Shepherd is a terrifying example of a mentality that could take root in isolation and societal colla ...more
Apr 28, 2021 rated it liked it
This is a story about a girl who grew up in isolation discovering the outside world and the questions and confusion that goes along with it. It touches on important topics but never goes too deep into anything. The short page count keeps everything moving at a pretty quick pace, though it never feels rushed.

I didn't really go in with any expectations, but I did end up enjoying it. 3.5 stars
Sarah Sammis
Some pre-Covid reviews of the book take issue with the number of children who live at the site of the former Lakepoint State Park. After nearly a year and a half of living through the pandemic of highly contagious virus, we've learned first hand how uneven the infection rates can be, even in places that are a few minutes away by car. What Ami experiences is possible and relatable in this post-Covid world.

Beyond the set up of Ami's world, is how she grows once she's free of her grandparents. She

Really surprising. I couldn't stop reading about Ami! Her story shows just how easy it is for kids to share the beliefs of those who raise them and what can happen once those kids step out into the real world. It's a coming-of-age story set in a post-apocalypse future where most women have gone sterile and having babies has become women's most important job but Ami's not sure that's what she wants.
Ami's been raised on a compound (with cult-like qualities) founded by her great-great-gra
May 09, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Candyce Kirk
Dec 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
The Ballad of Ami Miles is the first dystopian book I’ve read in quite some time. Kristy Dallas Alley has created a post-apocalyptic world that could easily be our future (or so it feels that way with how it’s described). The author had me completely sucked into this world and I just had to know how everything would play out!

In this book the story basically revolves around our main character, Ami, and her journey into the world she didn’t knew existed. It’s also been awhile since I’ve read such
Dec 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020release
Ami has grown up on her family's trailer dealership turned compound after the world fell apart. She knows she is one of the lucky ones. She has grown up safe, with enough food in her belly and her family around her. That is until the day the man appeared, the man her grandparent's intended to pair with her with, because Ami might be one of the few fertile woman left in the world.

Realizes this isn't something she is ready to face Ami runs away with the help one of her aunts. She hopes to find no
Alize V
May 12, 2021 rated it it was amazing
The Ballad of Ami Miles written by Kristy Dallas is an action-packed dystopian novel with the main focal point being self-discovery. In this post-societal setting, years of infertility have infected the world and reduced the population dramatically. Within this meltdown we find ourselves in a religious, cult-like and family-owned compound, Heavenly Shephard, with our main character Ami Miles. Ami is brought up believing her duty as a woman is to bear children. Having a fertile mother, the chance ...more
Bridget Waters
Feb 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
If anyone has seen or read anything about cults, IE: Escaping Polygamy, Jeff Warrens, FLDS, etc, it’s clear that’s the type of place we are talking about. It doesn’t seem to be on that large of a scale but the same idea was still there. (I don’t see any signs of polygamy it is clearly a cult none the less). Ami is 16 years old and what seemed very suddenly to her, a stranger named Zeke came to the compound. She put two and two together and seen that they expected her to do “God’s Will” and have ...more
Feb 11, 2021 rated it liked it
Thank you Netgalley for this ARC of The Ballad of Ami Miles by Kristy Dallas Alley.

This is a story about a young girl escaping a damaging cult who teach her the the majority of her value comes with the ability to reproduce. After being introduced to her future husband, her aunt comes to her rescue and helps her to run. Now Ami is on her own in this new world, and has a lot to learn, about the world and herself.

These kinds of books are hard to read, especially because high control groups like the
Mar 02, 2021 rated it really liked it
CW: religious trauma, post apocalyptic world, racism, sexism, abuse

Okay I think that post apocalyptic queer love stories are a niche I could quickly become obsessed with. Watching Ami’s whole life unravel before her, with one goal in mind and then realizing that it wasn’t actually all she wanted in life was amazing.

I was a little confused by the pacing of the book. So it starts off with a five day journey, which only takes like two chapters, and then when she gets to the place and they tell her
Dec 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This debut novel by (my friend!) Kristy Dallas Alley covers a lot of ground, all told in that lyrical, soft southern voice that eases you through the story like a song. I read an earlier version of the book when she first put it up on Swoon and it was a joy to see how it evolved into this.
Dec 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audiobooks
This strong, compelling heroine questions her beliefs without fundamentally changing who she is as a person. A beautifully written coming of age story.
Feb 12, 2021 rated it did not like it
The plot points moved too fast and the ending felt super rushed and abrupt.
Shawna Briseno
Jun 08, 2021 rated it really liked it
Ami is just a teenager when her grandfather introduces her future husband, a man surely at least old enough to be her father. It’s her duty to reproduce, she’s been told since she was a young child, to help repopulate the world. But for the help of her caring aunts and uncles, this is the fate she would have been resigned to. With their planning, she makes her way off the family compound and begins the journey to find her mother. When she finally succeeds, she realizes the world is much differen ...more
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