Monday, July 20, 2015

Book Review: A Million Miles Away by Lara Avery

Pages: 320
Genre: YA Realistic Fiction
Pub. Date: July 7, 2015
Source: Publisher for review
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "When high school senior Kelsey's identical twin sister, Michelle, dies in a car crash, Kelsey is left without her other half. The only person who doesn't know about the tragedy is Michelle's boyfriend, Peter, recently deployed to Afghanistan. But when Kelsey finally connects with Peter online, she can't bear to tell him the truth. Active duty has taken its toll, and Peter, thinking that Kelsey is Michelle, says that seeing her is the one thing keeping him alive. Caught up in the moment, Kelsey has no choice: She lets Peter believe that she is her sister. As Kelsey keeps up the act, she crosses the line from pretend to real. Soon, Kelsey can't deny that she's falling, hard, for the one boy she shouldn't want."

Kelsey and Michelle are twins and although they look exactly alike, they are very different from each other. Kelsey is a dancer, whereas Michelle is an artist and lives a more bohemian lifestyle.  Kelsey has been with the same boyfriend for years and Michelle dates around, that is until she meets Peter.  Peter is about to be deployed to Afghanistan and after their goodbyes, Michelle is tragically killed in a car accident, but Peter doesn't know this.  Obviously, this rocks Kelsey's family's world.  After some time passes, Kelsey is reminded of Peter when she encounters him trying to Skype with Michelle.  Planning to Skype with him and tell him what happened to Michelle, Kelsey starts the Skype session; however, things don't go as planned. Kelsey doesn't gain the courage to tell him the truth, because he says all of these things that make her feel guilty and that Michelle is his rock and lifeline in the unpredictable world of Afghanistan.  As more time goes by, Kelsey continues to "pretend" she is her sister and true feelings start to develop. Now she is in over her head and Peter doesn't know the truth yet.  Fans of young adult romance will enjoy A Million Miles Away. Although I didn't agree with Kelsey's actions throughout the novel and it was a tad predictable, I still found it to be a compelling read.

I'm going to be honest. I wasn't a big fan of Kelsey in A Million Miles Away. I just couldn't get past the fact that she hid the truth from Peter. As more time goes by, she is just digging a deeper hole for herself.  Readers may expect Peter to figure it out, especially when they meet in person, but Kelsey and Michelle were identical twins, so it was a plausible situation. Despite the fact that I wasn't a big fan of Kelsey, Avery made me care about her future, so I was dying to learn how Peter would find out the truth, because we all know the truth always comes out.  

I like that Avery demonstrates what life must be like when loved ones are deployed overseas. The constant worrying, the unpredictable events that occur, the lack of communication from time to time...it was all portrayed well. My heart went out to Peter, especially when things got very dangerous for him and his men.

A Million Miles Away also deals with grief. Kelsey deals with it very differently than her parents. It was an all-consuming type of grief and I really felt for Kelsey's family. My only issue with her parents is their lack of control over their own children. I know both Michelle and Kelsey were seniors, but they seem to be really relaxed about a lot of things and not truly present.

The ending was a bit too tidy for me and a bit too good to be true, but I expected that as A Million Miles Away is very similar to a Nicholas Sparks novel. Many people have made comparisons to Sparks and I would definitely agree. So, if you are looking for young adult romance this summer, check out A Million Miles Away.


6 comments:

  1. I started read this one but haven't finished it yet. I was afraid I wouldn't like Kelsey either. One thing I did notice was that Michelle wasn't a very likable character. I didn't like how she punched her sister in the gut and this seems like a normal way of behavior for the two of them and something their parents didn't bother to correct.

    I am glad that you liked the book in spite of Kelsey. I will have to give this a try again.

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    1. I wasn't a big fan of Kelsey or Michelle, actually, and I totally get why the punching scene would annoy you. I was a little taken back by it as well....pretty strange. I had issues with the lack of parental control in this book, but I did enjoy it despite my issues. It definitely read like a Sparks novel, which is probably why I got sucked in....perfect beach reading! Thanks for visiting, Christina!

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  2. I didn't make the connection at first but, now that you mention it, it totally sounds like a Nicholas Sparks story! Thanks for sharing this one, Christina!

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    1. Doesn't it?!? It would definitely translate well to the screen too. Thanks for visiting, Tara!

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  3. Oh yeah, I may have to pass on this one. Sparks...he's just not my thing. At all. I always wondered how he couldn't tell her from her sister - even identical twins have their own mannerisms, scares, ect. There's several sets of them in my family, and they're fairly easy to tell apart once you get to know them.

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    1. Yeah, if Sparks ins't your thing (for me, he is hit or miss) then you may want to avoid it. I don't know too many identical twins, so it felt totally plausible to me. But there were many moments in this book that I didn't quite buy, but was entertained nonetheless. Thanks for visiting!

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