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Miles from Ordinary

3.46  ·  Rating details ·  919 ratings  ·  278 reviews
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 ...more
Hardcover, 197 pages
Published March 15th 2011 by St. Martin's Griffin
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Average rating 3.46  · 
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 ·  919 ratings  ·  278 reviews

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Wendy Darling
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 stil ...more
Emily May
Nov 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult, 2011

This book literally had me sleeping with the light on. It's not just sad, it's very creepy towards the end. I spent about two thirds of the book thinking it was good and really captured the pain and loneliness of a young girl who is ostracised and has no friends because of the situation with her severely depressed mother. How sometimes she'll come home and find the house empty and have to go out searching for hours until she finds her mum wandering up the street in her nightgown. How she is
Mar 05, 2012 rated it liked it
A slight novel, weighing in at just under 200 pages, Miles from Ordinary is exactly what it says on the cover. Sparsely written, stripped back to the bones of Lacey’s narration, there’s not a wasted paragraph or scene here. Every line serves a purpose, contributing to the unsettling tone of the story, and the chilling way in which the plot plays out.

Carol Lynch William’s execution of fourteen-year old Lacey’s voice is excellent, capturing all the anxiety, fear and longing that she experiences d
Melissa (i swim for oceans)
Lacey is, on the outside, your everyday 14 year old girl. At home, however, she's the sole caregiver for her mother who is plagued every day by paranoia, delusions and bipolar tendencies. Lacey loves her mother more than anything in the world, but she relishes the time away from her mother - those little moments where she can be herself and be a teenager. She is excited for a summer full of the little joys in life. She wants sleepovers, trips to the library and an escape from her mother's delusi ...more
Great concept but uneven execution

In Williams' MILES FROM ORDINARY, thirteen-year-old Lacey just wants a normal day. Since her aunt left a year ago, Lacey has been forced to take care of her mentally ill mother by herself. In an attempt to gain some freedom and some income for both of them, Lacey gets her mother a job as a cashier while she plans to volunteer at the local library. Hoping against hope that she will have one ordinary day and maybe make a friend in the process, Lacey drops off her
Apr 03, 2011 rated it liked it
This is my first experience with Williams and I had high hopes and high expectations, but there were several things about it that didn't work for me. For starters, the voice was wrong. Despite the main character being 14 years old, her voice is so juvenile. Even if she had to deal with a mentally ill mother and a complete lack of social integration at school because of it, she'd still be less childish than this girl. I wanted included in the mix of emotions anger and embarrassment, something mor ...more
Feb 28, 2017 rated it liked it
Absorbing, but deeply flawed. This book is at its strongest when exploring Lacey's life with her profoundly mentally ill mother. (Her mother's condition is never definitively diagnosed. Depression is mentioned in passing, but her mother also experiences vivid auditory hallucinations and paranoia, which made me think schizophrenia.) Unfortunately, Williams verges into outright horror movie territory towards the end, and it really doesn't help the story at all. It also doesn't help that Lacey soun ...more
Reading Vacation
Mar 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
Powerful would be an understatement. Miles From Ordinary goes where other young adult books seldom go as it explores the world of mental illness.

Lacey is a young teen whose dream of a normal life is not realistic because she is the caregiver to her mentally ill mother. Facing this serious situation, Lacey is forced to grow up quickly. I found myself completely drawn into Lacey’s world. A world of fear and vulnerability – love and family bonds.

Carol Lynch Williams slowly drops bits of the past in
Emily Benoit
Jun 05, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2011
Wow, this book was really good. But also, extremely different. Let's start off by saying that the only thing keeping me from giving this book a 5/5 stars was because at parts, I was really confused. I wasn't really sure what was going on, and although I know it's pretty obvious at the end, the author was still not straight forward as to what exactly was going on with Lacey's mother. Clearly, some type of schizophrenia, I'm assuming, or just straight out crazy.

Other than that, this book was so go
Dec 04, 2011 rated it liked it
I had high expectations for this book. I am in a book club for adults who read "children's" literature. We are reading twelve book this month (this was number eight for me), four contenders for the Caldecott, four contenders for the Newbery, and four for the Printz. This was one of the books we will be discussing as a Printz contender. My expectations for this book were quickly dashed - no way will this win the Printz, in my humble opinion. I am not sure why it was include on our list.

While I ad
Liz at Midnight Bloom Reads
I truly think it was the cover that first attracted me to Miles From Ordinary. There's just something about it makes it difficult for me to tear my eyes away... from the tendrils of hair slightly falling into Lacey's face to the way her mouth is slightly agape. It left me to ponder what the girl was facing and even after reading the short plot summary, I was still incredibly intrigued to learn more about the girl behind the face so to speak!

It was supposed to be a summer day full of promise. Lac
Missy (Missy's Reads & Reviews)
I didn't know what to expect from this story. Having no prior reading experience of Carol Lynch Williams, I was intrigued with praises of her writing but still clueless. After reading Miles from Ordinary, I can say that I will be singing her praises as well.

Whatever I may have been thinking this book was, it was not. The story is beautifully written and so moving. It was also set in only one day's time, which was amazing to me. You'd think something like that wouldn't be able to live up to such
Dec 27, 2010 rated it liked it
Thirteen year old Lacey just wants an ordinary life... shoot, she'll even settle for just one ordinary day. It's her first day of work at the library and, although she's excited to begin work at one of her favorite places and the chance at following in her aunt's footsteps, she still finds herself worried over her momma. For it is also her momma's first day of work as cashier at the Winn-Dixie.

She hopes for an ordinary day where they both go to work and meet back up on the bus route. But nothin
heather - NightlyReading
Feb 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
Reviewed at

This was a very suspenseful book which looks into the life of a family that has to deal with mental illness.

Lacey is her mother's caregiver. Her mother is literally suffering from major mental illness. Her mother believes that the ghost of Lacey's grandfather is helping them by telling her how to keep Lacey and herself safe. Lacey's life consists of trying to soothe and talk her mother into calming down and trying to get her out of the bad place i
Dec 22, 2010 rated it really liked it
This is a powerful, thought provoking book. It may not seem like it just by reading the blurb, or even when you first start the book, but your thoughts will still be churning long after you turn the last page. Miles from Ordinary shines light on something that most people don't think about, unless you are in that situation yourself. Living with someone who is mentally ill.

Lacy's Mom has always been "Not right", but she is getting worse and worse and the money is running out. The book takes place
Aug 12, 2011 rated it liked it
I am torn between a 3 or 4 star rating. The book was slow paced but kept me wondering what was going ot happen next, I just felt like the ending was a bit vague and left too open. I really enjoyed Carol Williams other book, The Chosen One, much more so I thought I would give this one a try too.

The enitre 197 page book is set in one day. Lacey and her mentally crazy mother both get jobs, and Lacey is excited to get some free time away from her crazy mother. Most of the book is a little heartwern
Anna Meyer
Oct 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Personal Response:
Miles From Ordinary would be a really good book for young adults. I think some people are able to relate to this book a lot, as its a girl going through a lot of things normal girls probably would not go through. I just think that books like these are easier to read and comprehend. So therefore, I really did enjoy this book.

Plot Summary:
Miles From Ordinary is about a girl named Lacey that shares a home with her mother that is very sick and somewhat depressed. Lacey has a lot o
Christina (Confessions of a Book Addict)
Lacey isn't your average teenager; she has a huge responsibility that is often overwhelming. Lacey takes care of her mom who suffers from a severe mental illness. This summer all Lacey wants is to be normal and work in the library while her mom starts her new job as a cashier at the local grocery store. Lacey spends most of her time worrying if her mom can handle this new job or if she is going to crack under the pressure; after all, they need the money. Miles From Ordinary by Carol Lynch Willia ...more
Alisha Marie
I had extremely high hopes for Miles From Ordinary considering that I loved The Chosen One. That book was deep, shocking, and heartwrenching. I remember sobbing for a half hour after I finished The Chosen One about three hours after I started it. I expected the same thing from Miles From Ordinary and ultimately, I ended up a tad bit disappointed.

I'm going to start out by saying that Miles From Ordinary starts out sloooowwww, like really, really, really slow. I took me about three days to get thr
Kristin (Beneath Shining Stars, I Read)
At the age of thirteen, would you care for your ailing mother on your own? Could you endure your classmates and the whispers around town? Lacey has been putting up with it for years and although things haven't been as bad as they've been before--for her mother--it's a far cry from the road to recovery. When summer comes, Lacey manages to convince her mother to apply for a job as a cashier at the local grocery store and she applies to work at the library over the summer. And although she loves bo ...more
Feb 07, 2011 rated it liked it
Miles from Ordinary is an extremely powerful and heart-breaking novel of one young girls struggle to care for her ailing mother and the impact that's had on her life.

Lacey is a shy, brave and mentally strong young girl who's basically slowly falling apart. The weight of the responsibility she's been carrying has made her wary of new people or asking others for help. She believes she must care for her mother all on her own or risk losing everything. I felt so sympathetic for Lacey since she's had
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Star Frasier
Apr 27, 2016 marked it as to-read
Personal response:
I loved this book Miles from Ordinary, because it describes how it is to have everyone leave you and you have to take care of your sick mom and run after her just to find her.
This book started out with lacey getting called into her mom’s room to help her get her dead granddaddy out. Later in this book they foreshadow back to when Lacey’s mom kicked her out of the house. Lacey got a job at the library where her aunt used to work, and her mom got a job at the store Winn
Jan 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult
Em's Review: Lacey lives with her mom and the ghost of her granddad (no, this isn’t paranormal fiction), but feels alone in the world. Since her Aunt Linda left, Lacey has had to serve as caretaker for her mother whose mental illness keeps her from living independently. But her mom has seemed better lately, and Lacey has convinced her to start working at the local grocery store. Lacey is excited to start a summer job of her own as well – at the library where her Aunt Linda used to work. On the f ...more
Sara Grochowski
Dec 01, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Carol Lynch Williams is quickly becoming one of my absolute favorite authors... Of her three published titles, I've read both GLIMPSE and MILES FROM ORDINARY and am completely in awe of both.

I feel the need to point out how very different GLIMPSE and MILES FROM ORDINARY are. Both are powerful, relatively short reads, but GLIMPSE is written in free verse and MILES FROM ORDINARY is written in traditional novel format. Williams' mastery of both forms astound me... Neither story is more or less det
Rosalyn Eves
Mar 23, 2012 rated it liked it
This book was a hard one for me to read--there's a reason why my preferences in fiction run to lighter fare! This book follows 13-year-old Lacey Mills through an eventful 24 hours in her life. Lacey starts the day hopeful that things are on the mend for her and her mother, as her mother is about to start a real job at the grocery store and Lacey has a job at the local library. As the day progresses, however, we learn more about Lacey's background: about her mom's schizophrenia (or similar disord ...more
Princess Bookie
Sep 09, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read2011
My Thoughts: Miles from Ordinary was an extraordinary novel. I also read The Chosen One, I did like the Chosen One a bit more but Miles From Ordinary was a good novel. We are introduced to Lacey who is only 13 years old. She lives with her mother and basically takes care of her. She doesn't get out much so when she gets a job at the library while her mother also gets a job at the store, she is thrilled. She thinks it will be good for her mother to get out and do something. Lacey's aunt used to w ...more
Feb 25, 2011 rated it it was ok
Lacey is filled with excitement and anxiety. Today is the first day of her volunteer job at the public library and her mother's first day as a checker at Winn-Dixie. Lacey can't wait to have some time out of the house - some time for herself.

Lacey has been the sole caretaker of her mother ever since her Aunt Linda was forced to leave a year ago. Lacey's mother's paranoia and depression has only gotten worse, leaving Lacey scared that her mother won't be able to manage her job outside the house,
Alyssa hoffmaster
Apr 03, 2011 rated it it was ok
The cover really sucked me into this book; unfortunately I didn’t enjoy this book at all. Not only was this book creepy, I got annoyed at Lacey.

I don’t mind the creepiness at all. In fact I enjoy a few creepy books once in awhile, but this book did not hold my attention at all. The mother has a problem. I don’t know why Lacey didn’t tell anyone about it. She was very strong to be able to take care of her mom like that. She was mental.
Ever since Lacy’s mom found her dad hanging in the closet s
Amy Jacobs
Mar 08, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-i-own
After reading the summary on this book, I wasn't sure what to expect. What was Lacey's Mother recovering from and what is Lacey worried about? Yet, as I read the book, I didn't worry about the reason so much and just enjoyed the writing that the author was telling.

Lacey is worried about starting her first day as a volunteer at the library. Her mother is also starting her first day of work at the local grocery store as a checker. As you read the book, you can feel the intensity of worry and antic
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Carol Lynch Williams is the author of more than 30 books for middle grade and young adult readers. Her novels include The Chosen One, Never that Far, Messenger and Never Said. Her most recent book is the novelization of the movie Once I Was a Beehive. Carol has an MFA from Vermont College in Writing for Children and Young Adults and teaches creative writing at BYU. She runs Writing and Illustratin ...more

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“Lacey-girl, books take you anywhere. Any place you want to go. You remember that always.” 7 likes
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