A Million Miles Away
Author: Lara Avery
Publisher: Poppy (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)
Genre: YA Contemporary
Release Date: July 7, 2015
Source: egalley received from publisher via Netgalley
Rating: 3 Stars
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***I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This has in no way changed my opinion of the book. The review below is my open and honest opinion.***
Synopsis from Goodreads:
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.
This book was different from anything I’ve ever read. It was heart-breaking, but also beautiful. About a girl Kelsey, whose identical twin sister Michelle dies in a tragic accident. Kelsey is falling apart at the seams until she answers a Skype call from Michelle’s boyfriend, Peter, who is stationed in Afghanistan. When he mistakes Kelsey for Michelle, she plays along and realizes that she can breathe again. As long as she keeps up this ruse, Michelle is still here. Peter thinks she’s still alive and that makes her more real.
I really enjoyed reading about Kelsey’s character. I can’t imagine what it would be like to lose a sister. My sisters are my best friends so this was heart-breaking for me to read about. I really loved the relationship portrayed between the two girls. Even though Michelle is gone, you can feel that strong, sisterly bond they had between them. It was familiar to me and perfectly done.
Kelsey makes some bad choices in this book, but I think all people do when they’re deep in their grief. There were times when I wanted to scream at her to just tell him already because the truth is, I loved them together, but I knew the longer she put it off, the greater chance there was of him walking away. I loved watching Kelsey rediscover her sister and in the process, discover new things about herself. After Michelle’s death, she feels like she didn’t really know her and wishes she had taken more time to listen to Michelle talk about her interests. So she switches to an art history class and starts listening to Michelle’s music. She honors her sister by learning about the things she loved. Not only do I think Kelsey learned more about her sister, I also think she realized they had more in common than she thought. While Michelle is an artist, Kelsey is a dancer, but she learns that maybe they’re one in the same. Kelsey’s growth and character arc in this book was really well done.
Peter was an interesting character as well, though I do wish we had gotten to know him a bit better. I could feel the stress he was under being in Afghanistan and I felt horrible for him. And this even made me understand a little bit more why Kelsey did what she did. I can’t imagine having to break news like that to a guy who already has so little to look forward to each day. I loved that Peter wasn’t your typical macho-guy. He was sensitive, liked words and art and music. He was different, in a good way.
The one thing I will complain about is the fact that Kelsey’s parents fell off the face of the earth. Of course, that’s kind of understandable since they lost their daughter, but still, I wish they had noticed Kelsey wasn’t dealing well sooner. However, at the end, her mom redeems herself and apologizes for being so checked out so kudos for that.
So after this pretty good review you’re probably wondering why it only got three stars. There wasn’t really anything inherently wrong with it, but it just didn’t stand out to me. Simple as that. The characters were okay, but they aren’t ones I will remember. However, I think this is a great story of what grief can make people do. And if you’re looking for a touching, albeit heart-breaking, sister story, then I think you’ll enjoy this as well.
Have you read this one yet? What did you think?