A Million Miles Away by Lara Avery

A Million Miles Away by Lara Avery

Another title this weekend from a YA perspective and a heavy dose of grief. Sure, there are more issues here: honesty, motivations and even the search to redefine oneself after a major world-shift, but those are the essentials.  Laura Avery has a lovely poetic writing style: her characters are developed with care and reveal little pieces of themselves gradually, allowing insight into motivations and choices in a way that wouldn’t have worked otherwise.

A Million Miles Away

Kelsey and Michelle had seen Peter off to his deployment in Afghanistan the morning before Michelle’s death.  With the death of Michelle, the existence of Peter as Michelle’s boyfriend is not even on Kelsey’s radar.  She’s too busy dealing with her own grief and what ifs.

A skype connection from Peter, who instantly mistakes Kelsey for Michelle, and shares that her memory is all that keeps him alive and we are off and running.  While Kelsey’s motivations are understandable to some extent, her willingness to allow Peter to confuse her with her now dead sister just threw up all sorts of warning bells for me.  Described as polar opposites, and from Kelsey’s searching and memories about her sister, it’s not as if she was completely at home with all things Michelle, Peter never notices a difference.  That just confused me – how can she have JUST met him, know nothing about him, and then suddenly become her sister so completely that Peter (no matter his stress) can’t see it?  It just didn’t work.

The façade continues, Kelsey as Michelle, until Kelsey starts to find she has feelings for Peter. Again – I can’t help but think that it was convenient and contrived – where the blurring of her own thoughts and feelings become her sister’s.  The steps that Kelsey took to ‘discover’ more were intriguing, and the memories shared showed the sublimation of Kelsey’s own desires and likes in the quest to deal with her grief.

Now, even with the overlay of fairy tale to this story, I was intrigued. While the progression of the story is predictable after that first initial deception, the relationship progresses as expected, with Kelsey’s entanglement in the lie, in Peter and in her own single-minded determination to know her dead sister becomes all consuming, but never boring.

A story that is a mildly angsty read that will entertain but expects a great suspension of disbelief from readers, this read will entertain and amuse while in the pages.  Avery’s voices and characters are well crafted, reasons behind choices are accessible if not comfortable or acceptable. When does a lie in support of a reason thought logical and right at the time of the first telling become just a lie?

A Million Miles Away by Lara Avery

Title: A Million Miles Away
Author: Lara Avery
Genre: Teen Reads, Coming of Age
Published by: Poppy
ISBN: 0316283681
Published on: 7 July 2015
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Pages: 320
Audio Length: 7 Hours: 16 minutes
Rated: three-stars
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Perfect for fans of Nicholas Sparks, this breathtaking story of love and loss is guaranteed to break your heart and sweep you off your feet.

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.

A copy of this title was provided via Publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.


About Lara Avery

Lara Avery is the author of Anything But Ordinary (Hyperion 2012) and A Million Miles Away (Little, Brown 2015), as well as the Director of Community Events at Revolver. Her work has also appeared in Bennington College’s anthology plain china: Best Undergraduate Writing of 2009, The Onion AV Club, ARTNews, and Women In Clothes (Blue Rider Press 2014).

Born in Topeka, Kansas, Lara studied film, cultural studies, and creative writing at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota. She now lives in Minneapolis where she is at work on a third novel for Young Adults, as well as a fourth novel about women’s basketball for general audiences.

In her spare time, Lara enjoys painting the town gray with her Revolver crew, shooting hoops, and making playlists.