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.