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Miles from Ordinary: A Novel Hardcover – March 15, 2011

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Thirteen-year-old Lacey hopes that this summer day will be a new start. She has gotten her mother a job at Winn-Dixie because they desperately need the money, and Lacey will be following in her aunt Linda�s footsteps by working at the public library. Lacey craves an opportunity to be �normal,� to flirt with her neighbor Aaron and not have to watch over Momma, who seems so much better these days. But the day quickly spins out of control when Momma disappears. Seeing things afresh through Aaron�s eyes as they search for her together, Lacey comes to realize that it�s impossible for her to help her mother on her own. This gripping story by the author of The Chosen One (2009) is as suspenseful as it is painful. Lacey�s love for her mother, mixed with resentment and frustration over Momma�s mental illness, is thoroughly believable (if a little sophisticated). Provocatively dark and at times downright scary, this novel will have readers rushing to the unforeseen, achingly authentic conclusion. Grades 6-9. --Melissa Moore


“Absorbing....[Williams] has crafted both a riveting, unusual suspense tale and an absolutely convincing character in Lacey. The book truly is miles from ordinary, in the very best way. Outstanding.” ―Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“In a novel spanning a mere 24 hours, Williams takes readers on an emotional roller-coaster ride....Poignant.” ―Publishers Weekly

“Gripping....Provocatively dark and at times downright scary, this novel will have readers rushing to the unforeseen, achingly authentic conclusion.” ―Booklist

“A powerful and heartbreaking novel of love and hope.” ―Meg Cabot, New York Times bestselling author of The Princess Diaries and Airhead, on The Chosen One

“Fiction can offer emotional truth where other tools fail.... Williams unveils life among the Chosen with spare, evocative writing and an honest sense of character that helps bridge the rift between Kyra's world and ours.... The cinematic drama of her a means to reach a quieter truth, revealing that moment in childhood when you recognize your thoughts as your own and discover forces in the world that your parents cannot--or will not--protect you from.” ―The New York Times Book Review (Editor's Choice) on The Chosen One

“Intensely gripping and grippingly intense.” ―Kirkus Reviews on The Chosen One

“Extraordinary....The Chosen One is brave, its plumb is true, it's a masterpiece.” ―Kathi Appelt, author of the National Book Award finalist The Underneath, on The Chosen One

“Makes the heart race, the teeth grind, and the brow bead up in sweat.” ―Gregory Maguire, New York Times bestselling author of Wicked and A Lion Among Men, on The Chosen One


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 - 18 years
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 410L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin (March 15, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312555121
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312555122
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,496,248 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Lucy Cat VINE VOICE on March 7, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I was inclined to pick up "MILES FROM ORDINARY" after reading the author's previous novel "THE CHOSEN ONE" (which I rather enjoyed). Unfortunately, this book didn't quite meet my expectations and, in fact, was a rather disappointing read.
I should start by saying that I am definitely an advocate of books which promote mental health awareness. However, Williams' delivery was hardly encouraging and lacked any semblance of a positive resolution.

Synopsis (spoiler warning):
Thirteen-year old Lacey has been living alone with her mother for about a year in her deceased grandfather's house. In that time, her mother (who has a history of serious mental illness) has developed what seems to be extreme depression, paranoia and possibly, schizophrenia. The book is set over the course of a single day, however, the narrator Lacy tells her story through a series of memories and flashbacks. The day was supposed to be a good one-- her mom was scheduled to start her first day of work as a cashier at Winn-Dixie and Lacy was volunteering at the local library. However, things go sour quickly after her mother leaves work in a fit of anxiety only to get lost somewhere in town (we learn this happens fairly often). Lacey, with the help of a schoolmate searches everywhere for her lost mother dreading the possibility of finding her deranged or even dead. This is where the book gets a little loopy. In a sweeping change of pace, what was a depressing and seemingly plotless story suddenly becomes a flashlight-horror film on paper. It's nighttime (of course) and Lacy still hasn't found her mom but her dead grandfather's ghost appears in the living room of their house and he somehow compels her to "head upstairs to check things out.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Wendy Darling on April 20, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This is a pretty intriguing novel, especially because the events mostly unfold over the course of one day and the story went in directions I didn't quite expect. 14-year-old Lacey has a lot on her plate for someone who's so young; she's trying to pretend everything is normal to the outside world, but in reality, she's dealing with a depressed, unreliable mother and it's starting to take its toll on her. Particularly because her mom still talks to Lacey's dead grandpa as if he were still alive.

While I was very interested in the premise and it's certainly a fast read, I think there is perhaps a disconnect between subject, style, content, and intended audience. The novel is very short and the plot is somewhat simple, and because it only touches on the surface of the topics of mental illness, potential foster care, etc., it seems more suited to middle grade fiction or very young YA readers. But then again, I see why this is categorized as young adult fiction, because the first person narrative and book's focus on Lacey's state of mind really would make this appealing to that audience.

This isn't the first time in which mental illness and a horror/thriller have gone hand in hand, but since there was so much focus on the former, without scenarios and solutions that seemed more sound, it became a bit more difficult to stay invested in the story. Some of the dialogue also seemed more juvenile and the events rather overly dramatic, though they certainly contribute to getting a sense of Lacey's possible paranoia and being out of control.

I'll tell you what made this book for me, however: in the last third or so of the book, Lacey's emotions reach a fever pitch in a way that suddenly and masterfully draws in the reader with an unrelenting grip.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Neutron Lurver Reviews VINE VOICE on March 16, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
In Williams' Miles from Ordinary: A Novel, thirteen-year-old Lacey just wants a normal day. Since her aunt left a year ago, Lacey has been forced to take care of her mentally ill mother by herself. In an attempt to gain some freedom and some income for both of them, Lacey gets her mother a job as a cashier while she plans to volunteer at the local library. Hoping against hope that she will have one ordinary day and maybe make a friend in the process, Lacey drops off her mother at the grocery store. When Lacey later discovers that her mother is missing, her world begins to quickly spiral out of control.

Despite the affecting subject matter, MILES FROM ORDINARY didn't grab me as I had hoped. The topic squarely put the novel in the young adult category, but the writing and the young voice seemed more appropriate for middle grades. Because of this, I'm unsure of whether the book will find the right fit with its intended audience. Pacing was slow throughout much of the novel, but the final 30 pages became fast-paced and downright terror-filled. Though engaging, this quick shift in tone and style didn't mesh with the rest of the book. Events became unexplainable during these final pages too, in a way that made the events unbelievable. When the story does wrap up, it does so too quickly and too easily. Further, while the book accurately portrays that mental illness can lead to horrible ends, it does so in a way that I fear may unfairly stigmatize mental illness as being a condition that frequently leads to hurting others.

On the positive side, I appreciated that Williams was willing to tackle an important issue like mental illness and how it affects children.
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