Review: Miles from Ordinary by Carol Lynch Williams



Title: Miles from Ordinary
Author: Carol Lynch Williams
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Pub. Date: 3.15.11
Genre: Contemporary YA
Keywords: Mental Illness, Single Parent, Grief, Hallucinations
Pages: 197
Description (from Goodreads):
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….


Carol Lynch Williams is quickly becoming one of my absolute favorite authors… Of her three published titles, I’ve read both GLIMPSE and MILES FROM ORDINARY and am completely in awe of both. 


I feel the need to point out how very different GLIMPSE and MILES FROM ORDINARY are. Both are powerful, relatively short reads, but GLIMPSE is written in free verse and MILES FROM ORDINARY is written in traditional novel format. Williams’ mastery of both forms astound me… Neither story is more or less detailed or profound, the writing is fluid and each word seems chosen for a specific purpose. 


MILES FROM ORDINARY is narrated by 13-year old Lacey, which, under normal circumstances, might bother me. Luckily, a novel by Williams doesn’t count as “normal circumstances.” Williams has the ability to write a novel with a 13-year old main character in which the character genuinely acts like a 13-year old, but the novel still feels YA not MG. When I read the descriptions of Williams’ books and see the young age of the narrators, I don’t even pause. I know that the character’s age will not slow the plot of soften the book’s message; Williams is definitely a YA author.


This novel definitely has a sinister edge. Williams hints at the drama in Lacey and her mother’s life, revealing more and more as the novel progresses, building until the truth descends like a torrential downpour and there’s no holding back the darkness. 


I highly suggest you read MILES FROM ORDINARY and GLIMPSE… I’m left speechless each time I finish one of Williams’ novels. The stories held within these covers are powerful and they need to be heard. I’ve also heard wonderful things about THE CHOSEN ONE, Williams’ debut, and will be reading that as soon as possible. 



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4 thoughts on “Review: Miles from Ordinary by Carol Lynch Williams

  1. Haven't read anything by Carolyn Lynch Williams but I definitely will now. Particularly interested in Glimpse as I love verse novels. Thanks for the great review!

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