by Carol Lynch Williams
I read The Chosen One a few summers ago (one of the first books I bought via book blog recommendation) and it had this distinctive tone to it. So when Miles of Ordinary came out, I had a feeling it would be equally awesome.
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....
My Expectations: mid-level, I had enjoyed The Chosen One but didn’t love it.
Delivery: it was pretty good
If there was an author who could write a voice and emotions of a young teen as well as Carol Lynch Williams, I will be surprised. Lacey, the fourteen year old protagonist, has such a sweet and unique tone that drew me into her story and into her dark world. The writing is extremely impressive, and set the mood and atmosphere well, along with moving along a plot that seems to have been stretched out.
Miles from Ordinary takes place in a single day, and I think this adds originality to the novel. There could have been a lot of times when an idea of this goes south, when it drags and drags, but Lynch keeps a tight leash on most of the story. Through this small time frame, readers still get various flashbacks of Lacey to learn her history and better understand her relationships. I enjoyed this aspect of it and thought it done in a clean, relevant manner.
I loved Lacey as the narrator, mostly because she was such a sweet, caring kid towards her mother. The amount of responsibility she has versus the freedom she longs for (such as crushing on boys) was nicely contrasted. Also, her delight at the library and with books in general made me smile :) Her character growth in one day is phenomenal, and it’s the small bits and pieces that help her reach the final revelation.
Despite strong writing and characters, I never really fell in love with the plot. I felt that while kind of adorable, the events with Aaron were extremely unrealistic (mainly due to the one-day timeline) and during the end of the book, the book started to get a bit… wacky. I will say the mannequin part scared the heck out of me ;)
While I think the ending gets odd, I will say I really enjoyed the way the story started escalating half-way through and doesn’t really slow down. As things get tenser and random things occur, the novel gets better and kept me hooked.
Rating in HP Terms: Acceptable
Recommended for: I think most YA fans might like this, tbh :)
7.9/10 – because while I adored the writing and the well-portrayed narrator, I wished the plot could have been more engaging at the beginning. The way Williams created the complicated character of Lacey, through small quirks and reactions made her come alive—which I loved. Overall, I think this relatively short novel can be both heartbreaking and uplifting, and is made for a memorable read.