Sunday, July 5, 2015

Review: A Million Miles Away by Lara Avery

A Million Miles Away by Lara Avery
Release Date: July 7, 2015
Publisher: Poppy
Purchase: Amazon
Perfect for fans of Nicholas Sparks, this breathtaking story of love and loss is guaranteed to break your heart and sweep you off your feet.

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.
My Thoughts: 

When I came across A Million Miles Away at a book haul from BEA in YouTube, I realized that it should exactly like a book I could potentially fall in love with. A character suffering from loss, a misunderstanding with serious consequences and a love interest who is also a soldier. YES PLEASE.

The description defines A Million Miles Away as perfect for fans of Nicholas Sparks, and yeah, I can certainly see why that comparison has been made. At the same time though, I constantly felt like the plot of the novel was a bit too unbelievable to work in an adult novel. By saying this I don't, in no way, mean that adult readers are more intelligent than young adult readers. NOT AT ALL. I just mean that what goes on in this novel requires willingness to believe in the almost impossible which sometimes is not required while reading realistic adult fiction.

The morning before Michelle dies in a car accident, her twin Kelsey meets Peter, Michelle's newest boyfriend who is about to ship to Afghanistan. The loss of her twin turns Kelsey's life upside down, and in the middle of the grief and the processing of everything that has happened, Kelsey completely forgets Peter... until Peter tries to contact Michelle via Skype. When Peter, struggling with his deployment, tells Kelsey, believing that she is Michelle, that she is the reason that keeps him going, Kelsey does not have the heart to tell Peter the truth... She pretends to be Kelsey, and as time goes by, she gets deeper and deeper into the lie.

So yeah, I know there are twins that look extremely similar; I actually had a pair of identical twins in my class for about 8 years. And yes, I know that for those who did not really know them, they sometimes got mixed. But if you claim to be in love with someone, how can you mix her with someone else? And since Kelsey and Michelle are described to be pretty much the sun and the moon, how is it possible that Kelsey is able to fool Peter?

I must admit that I wished that I could have let go off my skepticism a bit more than I did while reading this book. I tried very hard to ignore the fact that I found it quite impossible for these twins to actually get mixed, and I did succeed at points, but it was there, at the back of my mind, pretty much the whole time. If they would have been in contact only via letters and chat it would have been more believable. But the fact that they see each other via the computer screen and Peter hears Kelsey talk kind of made me question the logic of the story.

Due to her actions and lies, Kelsey is a very difficult character to define. I know many readers to whom I know the actions of Kelsey would be too much. She lies and she keeps secrets, but at same time she is going through grief and loss. Though the fact that you are sad does not mean that you can act like an idiot, the death of Michelle can be seen as a catalyst for Kelsey which results in her making decisions she would not necessarily make otherwise.

In addition to having some issues with believing the whole concept of the novel, I found it quite strange how little the book actually goes into the death of Michelle, especially in regards to the reaction of Michelle's friends etc. Yes, this is a story of Kelsey, but I still somewhat missed seeing how the community, which seems quite tight, reacts to Michelle's destiny.

The relationship between Kelsey (believed to be Michelle) and Peter is beautiful and it really seems like they seem to connect, but from time to time, I just couldn't help blocking away from my mind the fact that Kelsey is lying to Peter in a quite horrible way. Yes, she is trying to protect his heart and keep up his spirit, but at the same time, I occasionally felt like the easiest thing for them both would be the truth. Kelsey starts to live through Peter because that makes her feel like Michelle is still there. She also tries to learn to know Michelle better through taking a class Michelle loved and by listening to Michelle's playlists. I feel like a novel about a girl trying to get to know her death twin sister would have worked for me without the romance element very well, but at the same time, it was nice to get a twist of romance there once in a while.

Avery writes well and I did find myself entertained by this book. And since books are my escape, I did not horrible mind the fact that the plot lacked some logic. If you are looking for an uber-realistic YA contemporary, A Million Miles Away is not for you. But if you are ready for an escape and an occasionally heart-wrenching story, you definitely should check this one out.


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