Author: Carol Lynch Williams
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Published: March 15, 2011
Genre: YA, Contemporary
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....
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 delusions of her dead father visiting her...but dreams are hard to hold onto when reality is far from happy.
I've yet to read anything by the author, Carol Lynch Williams, but people have sung the praises of her other book, The Chosen One. The premise of Miles From Ordinary captured me, and despite being wary of a younger MC narrating the story, I was hopeful for the best. Carol Lynch Williams nailed Lacey's voice with a raw, insightful and powerful look into a young girl's mind as she tries to hold both her life and her mother's life together. Pieced together with stark and simple prose, a haunting background and a setting that sets a scene of its own, Miles From Ordinary is one of those stories that resonates real feeling from every page.
Lacey's story begins with a bang. Her nightmares are real, and her reality is somewhat of a nightmare, too, so Miles From Ordinary captured me from the get-go. Lacey, though young, had a distinct voice and take on her life situation. She's strong, but she has a vulnerability about her that makes the sadness of the story that much more tangible. Lacey's mother, Angela, had me hating her, pitying her and loving her all at the same time. Her illness was a character of sorts, as well, spinning the struggles into every bit of Lacey's story. Gripping and realistic, Lacey's struggle to find her mother, both literally and figuratively was captivating.
I have to admit, though I was excited for Miles From Ordinary, I was still worried that it would live up to the premise. However, it definitely exceeded all my expectations. I cried for Lacey and her mother, and I felt myself rooting for a happy ending the whole time. I give this book a firm 5 out of 5, and I recommend it to all fans of YA and even adult fiction, especially those who enjoy contemporary stories.
I received this ARC free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This, in no way, affected my opinion or review of this book.