Sunday, July 5, 2015

ARC Review: A Million Miles Away - Lara Avery

A Million Miles Away
Lara Avery 
Series: N/A
Genre: Romance, Contemporary
Release Date: July 7, 2015
Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers: Poppy
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

Thanks to Little Brown Books for Young Readers for the ARC I received at BookExpo America!

I picked up an ARC of A Million Miles Away at BEA and if we're being totally honest, it was one of those books that flew under the radar that I probably would have forgotten I had if Kiersten hadn't noticed out that it was an ARC I had being released soon if I wanted to read it. And in the interest of honesty, going in to the book, I didn't think I would be all that impressed. I think the whole premise -- a girl's identical twin dies in a car crash and she doesn't have the heart to tell her boyfriend serving in Afghanistan so she panics and pretends to be her but keeps it up and falls in love with him herself -- just sounded so ridiculous when put on a blurb. Also, I wasn't feeling the cover. (Sorry if Lara Avery or the marketing team or anyone else involved reads this but please keep reading so you know that the rest of the review is positive)

Anyway, I didn't have super high expectations but I was definitely proven wrong and pleasantly surprised by how much I ended up liking this book. The first thing I enjoyed was Lara Avery's writing style. While subtle, her diction had a nice flow about it that gave the book a sort of lilting quality, although the lilt came and went, but Avery's style rang through. The first thing that made me really start to appreciate the book was the description of Kelsey's (the twin that didn't die) depression after Michelle (her twin)'s death (that's not a spoiler, right? people sad after their twins die?). Anyway, something about watching her unable to cry or really speak to any of her friends was intriguing, especially compared to the way we saw her in the first scene, a party girl who could do the longest keg stand and socialized with everyone. It was truly haunting seeing the way Michelle's absence was affecting her and weighing on her and a beautifully done part of the book.

It's hard to talk about this book without giving anything away about what actually happened but the progression was definitely well-done. My only grievance with the book is that everything that happens is a bit far fetched. I know it's a book and I should enjoy it for what it is but a lot of the time I kept thinking of ways situations wouldn't work in reality and how Kelsey wouldn't really get away with some things. Most of them are major spoilers so I can't really say. One tiny example that doesn't spoil the story if I tell you is that Kelsey switched classes in the middle of the year so she could switch into an AP class (because Michelle took it and she wanted to connect with her more). You can't just switch classes in the middle of the year like that! That wasn't a big thing but something that for a moment took me out of the story. While that specific detail wasn't a big one I had an issue with, some other things were a bit much.

However, in general I very much enjoyed the storyline and the direction it went. I knew I was sucked in when I literally felt my heart drop during a certain scene and could feel every emotion Kelsey was describing herself as feeling. Speaking of Kelsey, she really drew me in as a character. While whatever she was projecting was an amalgam of her and Michelle, the more she explored who her sister really was, the more these understandings of Michelle's personality and life led to Kelsey's shift in character from beginning to end. I enjoyed reading about the things she cared about and the way she saw the world -- and the way this changed throughout the book.

I also really liked Peter and his charm, especially the way his voice came out in his letters. He was funny and sweet and all in all a great male lead. I have opinions about the other characters as well: Kelsey's friends were cute but I didn't loooove them, they were just ok, I think I was mostly indifferent towards them, but I liked that they were dynamic for side characters; I really wasn't a fan of Davis, he was very annoying to me in every scene he was in but I kindof felt bad that I didn't like him because he was a sweet kindof annoying; Meg was adorable A+ Meg 4 for you; Sam was also A+ despite being so minor of a character I don't know why I'm so emotional over him; lastly, Michelle's presence lingered throughout the book despite dying after making one appearance in the first chapter.

I realize this is getting long so I'm going to wrap it up, but essentially this is an excellent book with wonderful prose and a heartwarming story. If you want something cutesy that's emotionally resonant that'll leave you happy and with everything neatly tied up definitely consider this book. I'm glad I read it and hope you all do the same!!

- Noor

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