Mar 11, 2013

Review | Miles from Ordinary by Carol Lynch Williams

Miles from Ordinary by Carol Lynch Williams
Series: N/A
Genre: YA - Contemporary
Publication: 03.15.2011 by St. Martin's Griffin
Format: ARC
Source: Orange County Book Festival (Gift)
Rating: ★★☆☆☆
Synopsis: 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...

Thoughts: The biggest mistake I made when starting this was having such high expectations of this author. Her previous book, The Chosen One, blew me away and going into Miles from Ordinary I expected something similar that was equally heart-wrenching. Of course it was silly of me to think that this book would be like the last one, with the story being so different, but it sounded like it would be something just as captivating. Sadly, I was let down more than I thought I would be, and while Williams is amazing at capturing the mind of a 13/14 year old girl, the story weaved into Miles from Ordinary was not extraordinary and left me feeling iffy about the whole thing.

Lacey is this quiet, simple girl who pretty much takes care of her mother, who sees and hears Lacey's dead grandfather. Being short on money, Lacey talks her mother into getting a job as a cashier and helps her every step of the way. On the first day of her new job, and Lacey's new volunteer position at the library, they head out together and Lacey hopes that this will be a new beginning for them. Unfortunately, when the day comes to an end, Lacey finds her world spinning out of control and she struggles to figure where everything went wrong.

I have to say that I liked Lacey. I totally got what she was going through and even though I wasn't exactly able to relate to her because I've never had a crazy mother, I was still able to connect with her. I think Williams does an amazing job in writing what goes on inside a young girls head, and this was probably my favorite part of the book. The secondary characters are also important, each one playing an important part in Lacey's day.

The story takes place in a day, and while it was a short read, it was too slow for my liking. Nothing really happens in the first half of the book, and while we do learn a little more about Lacey, her mother, her aunt and their complicated relationship through memories, I wasn't too captivated by the story. The book drags on as Lacey discovers her mother is missing and then attempts to find her before anything disastrous happens. The last third of the book is creepy, but also dragged on so much in those few pages, that I eventually lost interest in the weirdness and put the book down for a while.

Towards the end, there is an incident Lacey goes through, and I feel like I never really got what was going on there. It added to the creepy factor, definitely, but it is not explained once the book is concluded and I was disappointed because I expected some kind of twist! And while the conclusion is reasonable, I thought it was rushed and flat compared to the prose that is used for the rest of the book.

Overall: I am glad I gave this a shot, honestly. I definitely didn't love it and I really wanted to. It wasn't at all what I expected, but I think that was the problem. I definitely think others who enjoy contemporary/heartbreaking/powerful books will enjoy this one. I plan to pick the other books by Williams because this one will not deter me from reading more of her work. I know she is an amazing writer, and while Miles from Ordinary did not turn out to be for me, I have hope for the next book!


  1. Sorry this book was such a disappointment to you. I have only read 1 book by this author, Waiting, which was written in verse and I thought it was pretty good. I want to read her next book, The Haven. I haven't decided if I want to go back and read her previous books, but I may skip this one. Thanks for the review.

  2. Yeah, I am sorry too. I am definitely going to check out her other books because I know she is a great writer and still remains one of my favorites, regardless of how I felt about this one.

  3. I've had her book Waiting in my to-read list for a long time now and I'm really hoping that I love that. Having said that, it's disappointing that you didn't find Miles From Ordinary to be an engaging read. I'd have totally predicted it to be good given the synopsis but it happens. If you do get to read Waiting, I'll look forward to seeing how you like it.

    Sana @ artsy musings of a bibliophile

  4. Oh no! I love heartbreaking contemporaries and I always thought this one looked pretty good. Sorry it didn't work out for you. I don't like slow books at all so I may pass on this one. I'm super surprised the entire book takes place in a day! Not many do such short timespans. Thanks for your honest review!

  5. Another promising-sounding book! Bleargh. I've never read any of Carol Lynch Williams' books, actually, and I don't think I'll be willing to start reading anything of hers now >.< I'm glad that there were certain good aspects of the book, though, but I understand where you're coming from. Slow and draggy books are most definitely not one of my strong points either. Hope your next read will blow your mind! (Because, really, reading slumps are NOT nice.) Great review!

  6. I'm a fan of 1 day books, but i'm sad that this dissapointed you! Maybe part of it was because of your high expectations for it? Anyways, i'll definitely have to check out The Chosen One, and maybe this one too! Great review!

    - Farah @ MajiBookshelf

  7. That is definitely part of the reason, because I definitely loved The Chosen One. I highly recommend that one. Thanks for stopping by :)

  8. The idea that this book takes place all in one day really intrigues me! I think, despite your less-than-shining review, I still might give this a shot one day. And I'll try to read the whole thing in one day! (Because I'm a major dork.)

  9. It's too bad you didn't enjoy this. I enjoy her novels. Maybe you'll like a different one by her? Very thoughtful review.