The Miles Between

The Miles Between

4.6 16
by Mary E. Pearson

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Seventeen-year-old Destiny keeps a painful childhood secret all to herself until she and three classmates from her exclusive boarding school take off on an unauthorized road trip in search of "one fair day."  See more details below


Seventeen-year-old Destiny keeps a painful childhood secret all to herself until she and three classmates from her exclusive boarding school take off on an unauthorized road trip in search of "one fair day."

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Four teens escape boarding school for a day when 17-year-old Destiny Faraday happens upon a pink convertible with the key in the ignition (conveniently, the glove box also contains a bundle of cash). These truants aren't out for a joyride: their quest is for a “fair day” in which everybody gets something they dearly deserve. Rather improbably, this is what happens. The coincidences involved in making this so push Pearson's (The Adoration of Jenna Fox) story in genre-bending ways. Is this a fantasy? A meditation on chance and coincidence? (“Can there be such a thing as a pattern to coincidence?” muses Destiny.) What keeps the pages turning while one's disbelief is in constant suspension is the mystery element—there's a dark secret lurking in Destiny's backstory that dribbles out as the day goes on. The big reveal is well orchestrated, but the way the story wraps up treats casually what readers will have learned is serious mental illness. Those willing to let that go will be carried along by the story's supernatural momentum and its affirming message about the redemptive power of friendship. Ages 14–up. (Sept.)
Children's Literature - Joyce Rice
When Destiny Farraday was seven she was sent away to attend boarding school. She never lived at home again and the only family that visited her was her maiden aunt, Aunt Edie. When all of the familiar comforts of home are missing, a child will create whatever environment is necessary to survive. Destiny pays attention to numbers—how they appear and reappear in nature and how they affect the way she lives her life. She shares her October 19th birthday with her mother and remembers that October 19th was the day she was sent to the first boarding school. Destiny has attended several boarding schools over the last 12 years but has never stayed at one very long. She has been at Hedgebrook for four years now and she is beginning to like it, although she cannot tell you why. She only knows that today is October 19th, Aunt Edie is not coming to visit, and something extraordinary will happen today. Destiny has few friends at Hedgebrook but she is unable to resist the bubbly personality of Mira and is curious about Seth, the new guy, and Aidan, the quiet one. An encounter with a friendly stranger will give Mira the opportunity to spend an extraordinary day with these semi-friends and, as a result, Destiny's future will take an entirely new turn. This is a delightful story, filled with surprises and an especially astonishing ending. Young adult readers will be captivated by the characters and the supporting roles of Mrs. Wicket and Lucky. Author Pearson certainly has a lock on what young teens like to read. Another of her novels, The Adoration of Jenna Fox, is headed for the big screen. This is an excellent addition to reading classrooms and media centers where young teens are served.Reviewer: Joyce Rice
School Library Journal
Gr 7–10—Routine and predictability are the backbone of 17-year-old Destiny Faraday's days at Hedgebrook Academy in Mary E. Pearson's novel (Holt, 2009). She has everything down to a system guaranteed to keep her from getting too close to anyone because, after all, she may not be here that long. Destiny's life has been a long series of boarding schools ever since her parents sent her away at age 7. But one day unexpected things begin to happen. Destiny crumples the calendar page, gets unsettling news at breakfast, cuts class to go to the garden, meets a mysterious stranger, and finds a car running in the driveway. Destiny and three other students take off on an unauthorized road trip searching for that "one fair day" where the good guys win and everything is just and right. What ensues is a touching, often funny, sometimes enlightening, and often improbably strange day. Jeannie Stith perfectly portrays all the characters.—Cynde Suite, Bartow County Public Library System, Cartersville, GA
Kirkus Reviews
Pearson mesmerizes with a heavily cryptic back story that explodes with full emotional force. Seventeen-year-old Destiny's a loner who's been shunted from one boarding school to another without seeing her parents for a decade. Two arcs emerge simultaneously: Destiny's childhood, sliding out in painful bits, and a terrifyingly beautiful truant day that sees Destiny and three not-quite-friends escape from campus in a found pink car for a road trip. The date is October 19th, which spells certain doom in Destiny's numbers-obsessed mind, yet a mystical momentum pulls her along as the day stacks up coincidence upon coincidence, each one sweet but suspicious. Aidan has national-policy opinions; he meets the president in a cafe restroom. Destiny wants a day that's fair; everything from lamb adoption to hot-dog vendors fits a puzzle-piece of fairness. The page-turning suspense lies in Destiny's oblique but bittersweet and humbly written history, and in the question, even, of what genre this is. Serendipity? Ominous forces? What's dangerous about October 19th? The long-awaited reveal has a massively cathartic payoff. (Fiction. YA)
From the Publisher

“Pearson manages a magic trick by melding the fantastic and the prosaic.” —The Los Angeles Times

“Pearson mesmerizes with a heavily cryptic back story that explodes with full emotional force.” —Kirkus Review, Starred Review

“Mary Pearson can rip out your heart, make you think, make you laugh-- then shock you with a plot twist. In The Miles Between she does all that and more. A wild ride and a stunning book.” —E. Lockhart, author of The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau Banks

“Well orchestrated.” —Publishers Weekly

“This story is well conceived and beautifully executed. The tight plot effortlessly conveys masterfully drawn characters, and a touch of magical realism adds to the wonder of the day.” —School Library Journal

“Pearson skillfully separates truth from illusion and offers an uplifting book, in which grace and redemption are never left to chance.” —Booklist

“Pearson (The Adoration of Jenna Fox, rev. 5/08; A Room on Lorelei Street) has written another strong novel about the difficult business of growing up, one tinged with mystery and just a touch of fantasy.” —The Horn Book

“Deeply moving without being sentimental . . . These are the kind of people you want to have on a road trip, as well as on the longer journey through life.” —The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

author of The Disreputable History of Frankie Land E. Lockhart
Mary Pearson can rip out your heart, make you think, make you laugh— then shock you with a plot twist. In The Miles Between she does all that and more. A wild ride and a stunning book.

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Product Details

Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.30(w) x 7.80(h) x 0.90(d)
HL650L (what's this?)
Age Range:
14 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

I was seven the first time I was sent away. This raised eyebrows, even among my parent’s globe trotting friends, and I was brought back home in short order. Rumors are embarrassing, you know? A nanny was employed, but that only partially solved their problem. I was still in the house. I was seen and heard. At eight years old it seemed reasonable to send me off again. And they did.

They never kept me at any one place for long. The counselors are bothersome and have too many requests. Like asking that my parents visit at least once. Or that I return home for holidays. When rumblings begin, I know I will be shuttled off somewhere new once again. I don’t allow myself to get too settled or attached. There is no point.

I came to Hedgebrook when I was fifteen. That was almost two years ago. It is by far the most beautiful of the boarding schools I have attended. I commend Mother and Father. Rolling green hills hem in the red brick mansion that serves as the school. Many of the dorm rooms still have bars on the windows, due to its previous use as a mental hospital, but they don’t interfere overly much with the view from my room. I can see pasture after pasture, white fences that bend and hide with the hills, two red barns, and a farmhouse that is so far away I can only guess that the color might be blue.

Today is October nineteenth, the exact same date I was sent away when I was seven. I pay attention to dates, numbers, and circumstance. Obsessively some say. I prefer to think of it as careful observation, finding the pattern to coincidence. Can there be such a thing as a pattern to coincidence? It would seem to defy the very definition. But many things are not what they seem to be.

Take Hedgebrook for instance. Hedges are abundant here. They separate gardens, stables, and fields. Some are large and loose, and move in the wind like sheets billowing on a line. Others are small and tight, like nervous turtles hunched in their shells. And others in the distance, naturally sprung up along brooks and in the dips of hills, are really a mixed batch of trees and shrubs, actual forests if you could get through them, but hedges by default.

And then there are the brooks. There are four within a short stroll of Hedgebrook. They all tie together somewhere I’m sure, or maybe they all started out together once and were separated by an unforeseen knoll, but they thread around Hedgebrook like thin shoelaces so there is always some babbling within earshot.

But it is only coincidence, for it is not the hedges or the brooks for which Hedgebrook is named but for Argus Hedgebrook who built the first home here in 1702. Not a tremendous coincidence. Some would say none at all. But still, I think about it and wonder, like I wonder about today.

I snap my sheet as I have done every morning since I have been here. Schedules are the lifeblood of Hedgebrook. Failure to follow the prescribed routine has consequences, and I am resigned to that, because really, Hedgebrook is a place I can sink into. I wouldn’t say I love it, but I can feel invisible which is not such a bad thing to be. It fits around me comfortably, like my gray chenille robe. But mind you, I am not attached to Hedgebrook. I wouldn’t be so foolish as that.

My Aunt Edie visits every three months. It is not easy for her. As rich as my parents are, she is poor. Not destitute poor, but traveling is a luxury for her. She tried to get custody of me when I was ten, but I suppose she couldn’t out-muscle my parents’ lawyers. Nothing came of it. But every time she visited she would tell me she loved me, and every time I would ask why my parents wouldn’t let me live at home, and every time she would turn away and wipe at her eyes. I don’t ask her anymore. I enjoy her visits and I don’t like to see her cry. Crying is something I avoid watching and doing. Nothing comes of it either. I learned that when I was seven.

The breakfast bell rings and I hear shuffling in the hall outside my door.

“Breakfast, Des,” Mira says, briefly poking her head in the door, before she hurries on.

Like I don’t know.

Mira’s daily reminder drove me mad at first. I punched her on my fourth day here. Impulsive, yes, but I hadn’t quite settled in yet. I thought it would stop her, but the next day, there she was again, announcing breakfast, and I realized that perhaps she couldn’t help herself. Well certainly she couldn’t if. Even her swollen lip was not a deterrent. And she didn’t tell anyone how she got it either, so I tolerate her daily intrusion, thinking of it as a newspaper smacking my door. I’ve even added to the routine with my daily response.

“On my way, Mira.” It’s a small thing to offer for one who doesn’t cry over split lips.

I tuck the sheet beneath the mattress, and quickly tuck in the blankets as well, neatly folding the corners, the way Aunt Edie showed me years ago. She comes after classes today for a two day visit. Mrs.Wicket, knows that Aunt Edie is low on funds, so she allows her to stay in an empty room over the old carriage house. It is against the rules, but Mrs. Wicket likes Aunt Edie, and I suppose she likes me, though I have no idea why. I make a quick phone call to the front office to remind them of my aunt’s pending arrival and then comb my short black locks with my fingers and a sprinkling of water from the glass by my bedside.

Before I leave for breakfast I take a last look at my calendar. My days are bunching up. I have never been anywhere this long. I know the news will come soon. Where will they send me next? But it is best not to think about it, because that means I would care, and I don’t. I rip October 19th from the pad and crumple it into the trash. It feels almost illegal to dispense with a day that hasn’t yet played out. I smile at the thought of being able to so easily control my destiny.

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Meet the Author

Mary E. Pearson’s books to date are The Adoration of Jenna Fox, The Miles Between, and Scribbler of Dreams. She writes full time from her home in San Diego.

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The Miles Between 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
Coincidence, fate, destiny - how much of our lives do these control? Destiny Faraday believes these powers have been in control of her life since the day she turned seven. Destiny is now seventeen; in fact, it is October 19th, her birthday. She pulls herself out of her bed at Hedgebrook Academy as a fellow boarding school student calls out "Breakfast, Des." At breakfast, she sits with the usual people and eats the same lumpy oatmeal the cook churns out every day. Will this day be the same as any other day, or could this day somehow be different? It turns out that quite a bit about this day will be different, and yet just the same. Later that morning, Destiny stumbles across a beautiful, pink convertible idling on the school grounds. The car offers the possibility of adventure and perhaps a chance to prove something to the parents she feels have abandoned her in various boarding schools for the past ten years. When Destiny spies Seth hiding out to avoid trash duty, she asks if he drives. When the answer is yes, they hop in the car and cautiously head toward the main gate. This is the first of a long line of coincidences that will take Destiny on the roadtrip of her life. Joined by two other students, Mira and Aidan, Destiny and Seth turn in the direction of Langdon some two-and-a-half hours away. Along the way they encounter some odd situations. They rescue a little lamb wandering in the roadway, and Seth promptly names him Lucky. When the gas supply begins to dwindle, a quick check of their finances reveals nothing but empty pockets until they check the glove compartment and discover a thick packet of $100 bills. Many other strange and unusual happenings fill their day until they finally arrive in Langdon. Destiny confesses to her travel companions that this is her home and that today is the day she wants to confront her parents about her feelings of abandonment. With promises to support her, her classmates rally as the joyous adventure suddenly turns more serious. THE MILES BETWEEN is the story of a girl searching for answers. So much in her short life has gone wrong, with coincidence as the only explanation, and now she seems ready to face the fears she has lived with for so long. Mary E. Pearson weaves together an amazing and tragic tale as she turns four acquaintances into true friends. The range of emotions packed into this novel will take readers from laughter to tears and everything in between. This is a must-read due out this September.
SoaringLove More than 1 year ago
I love this book... Des and her friends go on such an amazing journey together! I'm so jealous of their fabulous friendships! What happens is: Des (main charactor) wish's for "one fair day" and she, unknowingly, gets her wish. She finds a car with the engine running and the driver's side door open. So she grabs her "friend" (more like accuantance) so he can drive her... Soon though, Mira and Aiden join her. They go through many triles and adventures all together... The Miles Between is amazing... I laughed, I cried, and I hurried to the end. Totally Extreme
Loves_Echo More than 1 year ago
okay so this book wasn't totally least not in the exact ways that were used in the book...but weird things could just happen to happen...all at the same time on one day. I think the overall idea was awesome and fun and this book was unexpectedly suspensful!! not boring at all...made me bust out laughing at the baboon heart thing ;) Mary E. Pearson has quickly become one of my favorite authors. She writes about origional topics and her plots are always way cool. This book was particularly emotion for me in the second half...i finished it too quickly but I would (and will) deff read it again and again!
Booktastic More than 1 year ago
This elegantly written book has so much packed into it. It has they mystery of Destiny's backstory, the power of friendship, a fabulous roadtrip and a sheep! I was drawn into the story with the excellent writing, the great characters, and the idea of one truly "fair" day when the good guys win. It was hilarious, poignant, and so ultimately satisfying that as soon as I finished reading it I wanted to pick it back up and read it all over again. One I would definitely recommend, with nothing objectionable about it even for younger readers, say, 10 and up.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
MissPrint More than 1 year ago
October 19 is not going to be a good day. For some people this would be an educated guess. For Destiny Faraday it is a bleak statement of fact. It is also part of why she tries so hard to never get attached. To anything or anyone. October 19 has never been a good day for Des, which is why she crumples the day's calendar page before the day has even started. What was supposed to be a throw away day suddenly turns into something else. Thanks to an encounter with an odd stranger and the sudden appearance of a car, Destiny and three of her classmates start a road trip searching for one fair day--a day where the good guy wins and everything adds up to something just right. Which might be what will change everything in The Miles Between (2009) by Mary E. Pearson. Destiny is a broken, lonely character at the start of The Miles Between. Part road trip, part coming of age, this is the story of Des' one fair day but also her own, literal and figurative, journey to healing. Pearson maintains a sense of wonder throughout this story to temper Destiny's harsh reality and elevates what could have been a merely maudlin story to a charming, magically complex one filled with surprises where everything really does add up. Destiny and her wacky classmates (Destiny does not waste time making friends) are lovable and utterly tangible as characters. Possible Pairings: Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech, An Abundance of Katherines by John Green, 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson, The View From Saturday by E. L. Konigsburg, Stealing Henry by Carolyn MacCullough, Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli, Absolutely Maybe by Lisa Yee
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this author. I love all the twists and turns. She writes extremely well and I can't wait start another book by her.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved it
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I went through so many different emotions in this book and it absolutely amazed me. Recommed
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Maya Dorn More than 1 year ago
I would recommend this book to anyone who knows how to read. It was fantastic! Maybe there is such thing as a fair day.