Published by Little Brown Books for Young Readers on 7/7/15
Genres: Dating & Sex, Death & Dying, Love & Romance, Social Issues, Young Adult
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 Million Miles Away is a story about how loss affects us and how we sometimes try to hold on to the past and refuse to let go. This was the case for Kelsey, who couldn’t figure out how to move on from her twin sister’s death. Her parents chose a grief support group, but Kelsey didn’t want anything to do with that. But when Michelle’s boyfriend reaches out to her from Afghanistan, Kelsey can’t bring herself to tell him that Michelle is dead – at first she just doesn’t know how to say the words, but then she feels like this is the one way she can keep her sister close. Keep her alive. Plus, Michelle’s boyfriend, Peter, sees Michelle as a lifeline when everything else in his life is turned upside down by war. Kelsey tells herself that telling him the truth would only harm him – so she pretends to be Michelle.
What I loved:
- The concept of twins switching. For some reason, I’ve always been fascinated by this concept of twins switching places. I don’t know why, but I love it. Peter and Michelle hadn’t been together for all that long, and even though he said that he loved Michelle, they didn’t really know each other all that well. So, when Kelsey and Peter start talking, and they actually do form a bond, it’s really Kelsey he’s falling for – even though she tries to fill in some Michelle-like details, her personality is her own. So, I bought into the romance and the concept of the switch pretty easily (this would have been a lot harder if Peter had actually known Michelle better – the fact is that he was really in love with an idea of her and with something that tied him to home when he was about to go off to war.)
- Peter’s experiences. Peter’s life in Afghanistan was a mixture of horrible and fascinating, and it was easy for me to understand why Kelsey would feel connected to him right away considering his circumstances. He saw her as a lifeline, and she couldn’t help but fulfill that role for him when she saw how the war was affecting him. I appreciated seeing snippets of the war through Peter’s eyes, and I sympathized with the pain and confusion that he sometimes went through. I could easily see why Kelsey would feel the same – and how she was able to convince herself that what she was doing was okay.
- The romance. I also appreciated that the romance between Peter and Kelsey built slowly – at least on her side. She really was just acting at first, but she slowly started to realize how important her calls with Peter were to her and how much she looked forward to them. The romance kind of snuck up on her, and once she realized she loved him she knew it would be even harder to tell him the truth.
- Cheating and lying. My biggest issue with the romance was the fact that Kelsey already had a boyfriend – of three years. I just plain have issues with cheating, and I couldn’t help but feel kind of horrible for Kelsey’s boyfriend the whole time things were building between her and Peter. Plus, it got to the point where the all-around dishonesty (between Kelsey and Peter AND Kelsey and her boyfriend) made her harder to sympathize with. I understood it for a while, but you knew it was just a matter of time before it all blew up in her face. Still, overall, I definitely felt for Kelsey and could kind of understand how she got to where she ended up – and I was definitely rooting for her and Peter to work things out in the end!
Overall, I thought this book was a really good read and I’d recommend it (as long as cheating isn’t one of those issues that you just can’t get past in a book). I teetered and tottered a little bit on my rating for this one, but in the end I gave it 4/5 stars.
***Disclosure: This book was provided to me by NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own.***
About the Author
Lara Avery is an editor at Revolver and the author of Anything But Ordinary, which Booklistpraised for its “tender and lyrical prose.” Raised in Kansas, where A Million Miles Away is set, she now lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
I am totally fascinated by twins and if they switch places even more so. This sounds really good but I know I will get annoyed Kelsey. Still cheating doesn’t bug me as much in books as much other people. Great review!
The cheating in this book was pretty mild, so if it’s not a hot button issue with you, you should be fine.
I don’t I could handle this book – simply because he is overseas. those are so hard for me.
I could be wrong, but you are the first one I have see to mention the cheating aspect, so that adds to the debate as well, I think. Still, overall im glad to hear you liked it.
I remember your post about that. I can totally understand how you would have a hard time with books that feature soldiers overseas (or even after they come home).
I have this to review and I just cannot bring myself to read it. It sounds pretty interesting but pretty frustrating. I think I’ll continue to hold off.
Hate when that happens – when you get a book for review and then hear some things about it that make you wonder why you picked it up in the first place. I still thought this one was a good read, but it’s probably not for everyone.
Cheating is one of those issues I cannot get past. It makes me so angry. Not that I don’t read books with cheating I just hate it. It sounds good though. BUT, I am probably the only reader in the blogging world that doesn’t like Nicholas Sparks so when a book is “compared to” Nicholas Sparks it automatically turns me off. Ugh…It’s a hard decision..hehe. Great review though 🙂
I’ve never read a Nicholas Sparks book, but they seem a bit schmaltzy to me, based on the movies I’ve seen. Maybe one of these days I’ll give one a try, though.
I agree 1000% about the cheating and the lying. Those issues just bugged me so much and I couldn’t get past them to give a higher rating. I think I rated it two stars on Goodreads. I do understand why Kelsey felt the need to lie at first, but I thought it was so stupid that she kept on with it. And even though I liked Peter, he couldn’t have known Michelle very well if he couldn’t tell the two of them apart. And yet, he supposedly loved her. That was just annoying.
Yes – I agree that Peter’s “love” for Michelle wasn’t very real, but I was actually okay with that aspect of the book. I didn’t see it as him truly being in love with her, but more just clinging to something from home before he went off to war. But the lying did get hard to stomach after a while – I agree with that for sure. I felt badly enough for Kelsey that it didn’t ruin the book for me, but I can see how it would for some people.
Oh, wow, I had no idea Kelsey had a boyfriend! I figured the pretending to be her twin would be enough drama. >.<
I'm glad you mostly liked the book, though! That cover is so pretty!
Yes – the boyfriend seems to be left out of most reviews for some reason. But she’d been with him for three years, so that seemed pretty significant to me!
See, I was admittedly a bit confused about the boyfriend. (Or maybe I just read it so long ago I don’t remember, who knows!) But **POSSIBLE SPOILER?** didn’t they break up somewhere along the line? I mean, I know when the whole thing first went down they were together.. I don’t know, like I said, I don’t really remember!
But I totally agree with you that it was a good book, VERY easy to read (and get lost in!) and I want a Peter of my very own 😉
**SLIGHT SPOILER**The breakup happened after there was kissing involved … so I wasn’t crazy about that. I kept hoping she’d break up with her boyfriend of three years before she really got involved with Peter, but she was so in denial about him that she couldn’t really admit she had real feelings until she actually met up with him. I was able to forgive her for that and she did end things soon after.***SLIGHT SPOILER***
Great review, Nicole! I think I’d actually love this- even with the lying and the cheating. The cheating really was emotional, right? And Kelsie had just lost her twin, so that’s an excuse in my opinion. She could and should have broken things off with her own boyfriend, of course… but then there wouldn’t have been enough tension in the story, maybe?
I’m adding this to my TBR 🙂
Yes, the cheating was mostly emotional and she broke things off with her boyfriend as soon as it went any further than that (and she was honestly in denial about it for a lot of the book).
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