Miles from Ordinary

Miles from Ordinary

by Carol Lynch Williams

Paperback(First Edition)

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250002600
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication date: 03/13/2012
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 208
Sales rank: 888,780
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range: 12 - 18 Years

About the Author

Carol Lynch Williams is the author of young adult novels including The Chosen One, which was named one of 2010 ALA's "Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers" and "Best Books for Young Adult Readers." It also won the Whitney and the Association of Mormon Letters awards for the best young adult fiction of the year, as well as numerous other honors. Williams was the winner of the 2009 PEN/Phyllis Naylor Working Writer Fellowship. She grew up in Florida and now lives in Utah.

Read an Excerpt

I

 

There are mice.

Lots of mice. Running all over my room. Letting out crying sounds that grate on my ears. They crawl on my feet. My legs. I feel them on my arms. Soft things with toenails like blunt needles.

“Momma?” I say. She’s dressed in a long nightgown. Her fingernails are sharp like the tops of just-opened cans. “We gotta get rid of the mice. We gotta call an exterminator.” I hand her an old-fashioned phone.

“You’re right, Lacey,” Momma says. But instead, she cuts at her face with her nails. Deep wounds open up, split wide, and blood, dark blood like ink, makes paths down her face to the floor. She cries.

“Stop that,” I say. “Stop it now.”

But Momma doesn’t listen. Just cuts and cries.

*   *   *

I AWOKE with a start, my heart thudding in my neck. My whole body felt like I’d been dunked in an ice bath.

“Only a dream,” I said to myself, then glanced at the clock: 3:46 A.M. I started to close my eyes. The wind nudged at the house. I could smell the magnolia tree.

Something moved in the corner.

“Hello?” I said, clutching my sheet to my chest. “Someone here?”

There was no answer.

The floor creaked near the closet.

“Hello?” I wanted to sit up in bed, but I couldn’t quite move.

“Granddaddy?” My voice came out small. It felt like all the hair on my head was trying to get away from me.

“Lacey?”

Fear flashed a white streak behind my eyes. I gave a jump. “Granddaddy?”

“Lacey?”

Momma! It was Momma! Crying out a second time from her room. Her voice sad and scared and weepy. So the crying part of my dream was real. And maybe there was a mouse near the closet. A mouse coming from my dreams, alive and real? That was ridiculous. Of course that couldn’t be.

“Are you okay?” I called to Momma. I kept my eyes toward the closet. Straining to see. Just darkness. No movement now.

The night breeze pushed into my room. The smell of the ocean. So peaceful. No more sounds from the closet. Good. Good. I took in a breath to push my fear away.

“Granddaddy,” I said, hoping he wasn’t close enough to hear me, “this is my room.” A girl should at least have privacy in her bedroom. My heartbeat slowed.

“Lacey? I need you.”

“Coming.”

Man, was I tired. My eyes burned. But I threw my feet over the side of the bed. As soon as I touched the cool wood of the floor, fear surged in behind me. Run! I hurried toward my mother’s room. It was like something chased me down the hall though I knew … Did I?… nothing was there.

A few more steps Go, go! and I made it. “What is it, Momma?” I leaned against the doorjamb. Her nightlight showed the pattern of flowers on the carpet.

“I’m scared.” Her voice was shaky. Did she have a nightmare, too? “Granddaddy keeps bothering me. Has he been coming into your room? I’ve told him not to. To let you sleep because of tomorrow.” Momma’s voice wasn’t even as loud as a whisper. I had to walk to the side of her bed to hear. I could see her slender form under the blankets. “And I told him I have to sleep too, because of you-know-what.”

I nodded but Momma didn’t look my way. Just gripped the sheet and blanket in her fingers and spoke like maybe I was glued to the ceiling.

“But he won’t let me alone,” Momma said. She glanced in my direction, then back again. “If you get in bed with me, Lacey, I think he’ll stay outta here for a while.”

Had he been to my room? For a moment I felt something behind me. Like someone watched. The feeling was muddy, heavy. Almost on my shoulder. Almost pushing me toward Momma. I refused to look back. Not that I could have seen much of anything. The darkness was fat, almost difficult, in the hall.

“Will you sleep here?”

“All right, Momma.” Forcing myself not to hurry, Quick, move it!, I took my time. Granddaddy might be the boss of this house, but I wasn’t going to let him know he scared me, too. I climbed in next to my mother and snuggled close. “Turn on your side and I’ll scrooch up to your back.”

“Okay, Lacey. Okay.”

Momma was so thin I could feel her ribs. Could have counted them. I could smell her sweat, too. “You go on to sleep,” I said. “If Granddaddy comes back in, I’ll send him out.”

Don’t let him come in here. And then, You know he won’t. And another, He could.

“Thank you, baby,” Momma said. “You watch for him awhile. But wake me if he tries anything.”

I yawned big. “I will.” Here I was, all of fourteen years old, and I was crawling into bed with my momma.

You big scaredy cat, I thought. Don’t let him come in here. You know he won’t. He can’t. Not possible.

With Momma so near, my fears faded some. My heart slowed. And at last I was asleep.

 

Copyright © 2011 by Carol Lynch Williams

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Miles from Ordinary 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 27 reviews.
wordforteens More than 1 year ago
Carol Lynch Williams has that rare talent of being able to punch out an emotional roller coaster of a story in a small amount of pages. I absolutely loved Miles from Ordinary. It took me a few chapters to figure out everything that was going on and Lacey's relationship with each of the characters, but that was the point; it was supposed to be confusing. Even once you had a grip on the actual relationships, you felt like Lacey felt - constantly losing your grip on reality, always afraid of falling down the spiral staircase of insanity. I'm a character driven person; the fact that I could easily feel for Lacey without having to work for it made me love this story. I never had to worry about being bored while reading it because the emotional roller coaster that Lacey was on had me intense. The only thing that really irritated me throughout the entire story was part of the ending where Aaron, the boy who Lacey meets at the beginning of the story, does something while he's helping Lacey with something. (This is an intentionally vague sentence to keep it spoiler free.) I don't think it was necessary; he had done enough to further the relationship in one day that it wasn't necessary for it to be in the story. There was potential for the relationship at the end of their story without having that happen. Oh, and did I mention that the entire story takes place over the course of the day? Carol Lynch Williams is one hell of a talented author.
BornBookish on LibraryThing 11 months ago
I could have stopped reading this book at any point and never thought twice about it. It was repetitive, boring, and just plain weird.The whole story takes place in a 24-hour period, which I normally love. However, in this case there was not enough of a plot to even fill that 24 hours, instead it was full of repetition and scenes being dragged out painfully slow. The best part about this book was that Lacey is an easy character to connect with. She has a really hard life for a thirteen year old, and spends all of her time outside of school taking care of her mother who is mentally ill. You are instantly pulled into what it¿s like for Lacey, the stress, worry, and fear she lives with make you wish there was something you could do to help. Although she¿s just thirteen years old, Lacey has had to deal with stuff way beyond her age level so she seemed a lot older to me. I felt like this was intended to be a suspenseful story, but it just came off as strange and a little creepy rather than suspenseful. The author took the ending in a different direction than I thought, so that was a nice twist (I use that word very loosely).
ForeignCircus on LibraryThing 11 months ago
I chose this book because I read Carol Lynch Williams' The Chosen One a couple of years ago and thought it was wonderful. If anything, Miles from Ordinary surpasses that earlier work with its tender and haunting look at one daughter's effort to care for a mother spiralling into madness. 13 year old Lacey has simple desires for her summer- jobs for her and her mother, and the chance to make a friend. The book traces one day in Lacey's life, one day that starts out hopeful only to fall apart in every way when her mother goes missing. William's has a unique ability to convey the pain of adolescence and Lacey is a powerful character who is much harder on herself than any reader will ever be. Highly recommended for both YA and older readers.
TeenCentral on LibraryThing 11 months ago
Carol Lynch Williams' latest book, Miles from Ordinary, has a few flaws, but is overall a good read that will particularly appeal to reluctant readers. The story might have benefited from some tighter editing and faster movement in the initial chapters, as the plot does not immediately grab one's attention. Much of the initial story takes place inside Lacey's head, before you have really had time to invest in the character, so the internal monologue can drag at times. However, the text is generally simple and easy to comprehend, reminiscent of Laurie Halse Anderson's Speak, and even reluctant readers will likely hold on until the suspense picks up. And, more importantly the internal voice rings true; the personality and dialect are strong even before you have a good grasp of the characters. When the suspense arrives, it knocks the reader over with its power. I found myself walking around with the book practically glued to my hand, unable to put it down. I plan on purchasing this book for many of my teen libraries. While it can be frightening, I think it is content that most teens and some tweens could handle. I recommend it for reluctant readers, particularly girls, and any youth who have struggled through the experience of having a mentally ill parent. I would also recommend it to adults who have an interest in mental illness memoirs or adults looking for books that reflect their own experiences as a person with a mental illness. I think many will identify with the mother and will appreciate both the sensitive portrayal of an adult struggling with mental illness and the insight into how that experience can look and feel to the children in their lives.
Tinasbookreviews on LibraryThing 11 months ago
Saying that this would be an easy read, would be lying¿With its heart break and realistic world that for some may hit pretty close to home, Lynch creates a novel of one girls struggle to fit in, be normal and take care of her sick mother.Lacey is not the typical 13-yr old gracing the halls of her middle school, while others around her experience adolescence at its core, Lacey¿s life is slowly but surely falling apart. The most troubling aspect of this book was its honesty, some of the scenes are down-right hard to digest, but with its fast moving plot and strong lean towards contemporary fiction I couldn¿t help but get lost in Lacey¿s sad story. Certainly not for the weak at heart and I would recommend it to older teen readers, despite its characters young age.
aimless22 on LibraryThing 11 months ago
A powerful story of one momentous day in the life of Lacey, a teenage girl with a mentally ill mother. The day begins with a nightmare that wakes Lacey. She thinks someone is in her room, perhaps her dead Grandaddy. Her mother also cannot sleep and Lacey goes to her and they fall into a restless sleep for the rest of the morning.They arise for their big day - they both begin new jobs. Momma at the Winn-Dixie; Lacey at the library. Lacey feel guilty that she wants some time to herself, to be normal. Lacey meets a boy, Aaron, on the bus. She already knows who he is, but she does not have friends. She spends all of her time taking care of Momma or hiding, in plain sight, from the people that have witnessed her Momma's outbreaks. Lacey tried to ignore the talk, the looks, the gossip. Aaron seems different. He really seems to want to know her.The day turns into a living nightmare when her Momma walks away from her new job and Lacey cannot find her. Aaron helps her get through until her Aunt can come to help her. Ms. Williams crafts a riveting suspense novel that confronts mental illness and its effects on the family members. This fourteen year old girl learns that she is braver than she thought she could ever be. Faced with the terror of her mother's hallucinations and conspiracy theories, Lacey must grow up fast when her mother goes off the deep end.Started and finished the book in one sitting, about three hours. Could not put it down.
thebookwormsorg on LibraryThing 11 months ago
Carol Lynch Williams is definitely standing out by entering the reality of what its like to live and take care of someone who is mentally ill. I thought Miles From Ordinary was such a deep story that turned out quite surprising actually. I loved that I was expecting one thing and I was taken on another path.I feel that the unique twists and turns in the story signify how hard it really is to be Lacey, a 13-year-old girl taking care of her sick mother. Lacey is strong on the outside and made it look like a breeze to take care of someone who is supposed to be taking care of her. But the further into her thoughts you go, the more you understand the pain and hardship she¿s going through.Lacey and her mom, Angela, just picked up new jobs in town and Lacey hopes her mom won¿t freak out and she might have a chance at meeting friends and having a normal summer. Unfortunately, things don¿t happen the way she hopes and Lacey has to frantically search for her mom before something awful happens.At times it was hard for me to get a grip on what was happening and I think its because it was written using a southern style (or so I imagined). It was also hard for me to keep track of what was present and past, because it breaks into past times a lot!I honestly didn¿t know what to expect from this author, but she really put it out there. Miles From Ordinary was raw and very emotional. I agree that Williams knows how to get into the heart of a girl who¿s struggling with her mom alongside her own problems and feelings.Review based on ARC copy
hrose2931 on LibraryThing 11 months ago
Miles from Ordinary is the story of thirteen year old Lacey and her mother Angela as they struggle through one day, the day that they both start new jobs. For Lacey it's a welcome relief from caring for her mentally ill mother, a chance to make friends, to feel normal and to reconnect to her Aunt Linda, in the place she used to work, even if she doesn't work there anymore, the public library. For Angela, it's a terrifying ordeal which she is attempting we can only assume because Lacey has talked her into it and on some level she doesn't want to let Lacey down. She's going to be a clerk at the checkout counter in the Winn Dixie, something she's done before, but she's very hesitant, really doubtful that she can do it. Lacey walks her through when she should meet her at the bus stop and goes on to her volunteer job with doubts. She's angry at her mother for not letting her be a normal teen and then chastises herself for being mad at her. She knows her mother isn't right.Through a day full of flashbacks, we learn that Aunt Linda, Angela's younger sister used to live with them but the two sisters had a huge fight over Angela's mental health and Angela kicked Linda out. She called the police and went so far as to get a restraining order. Lacey knows how to get in touch with her, but feels abandoned and is angry with her, so she doesn't. But she's drawn to the public library where she worked secretly hoping she will stop by and Lacey will be there.Lacey is a likable teenager. More than that, she's admirable even if she's in over her head. Maybe she doesn't know how sick her mother is. But she's too stubborn for her own good. And her aunt, knowing how sick her sister is, should have checked in with her. But the real fault for the condition of Angela and Lacey's plight, is Angela. She has medication she can take but won't. She was diagnosed as depressed, but it seems to have gone beyond that. I believe, considering what she'd been through, she had Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and she just, as the author wrote kept, "...slipping over a steep ledge in slow motion."The story is told from Lacey's point of view and is set in present day in a small town in Florida. Lacey thinks about her mother constantly thinking how this or that will affect her mother. She looks at the world in a kind of black and white good for momma bad for momma kind of way. She has so much inner conflict and no one to talk to about it. Or help her. This is really her story and everyone else is a secondary character.The final events are chilling and heart wrenching with Lacey still believing she can take care of her mom. She's loyal to a fault. Even after her mother's frightening words. This is a fast paced novel, as the events all take place in one day. I can't say whether it's plot driven or character driven-maybe both? They are both tied so closely together and it's kind of like running downhill to the end. You can't turn the pages fast enough and you can't skip a single word. It gains momentum right until the end. Then there's a little time to sit and take a breath and wonder.I received this ARC from Library Things Early Reviewers Program free of charge. This in no way influenced my review of this novel.
smileydq on LibraryThing 11 months ago
I loved Carol Lynch Williams' 'The Chosen One' when I read it a couple of years ago - 'Miles from Ordinary' certainly rose to the challenge of meeting and exceeding my expectations for Williams' next work. At the start of the book, thirteen-year-old Lacey has very reasonable hopes for her summer - jobs for herself and for her mom, and the chance to make a real friend for herself, someone who might share and understand her life. The book chronicles one day, from hopeful morning through to desperate and tragic evening, and captures with haunting realism the desperation Lacey feels when her mother disappears and her day - and life - fall apart. Williams has a real knack for writing adolescence with honesty and tenderness - Lacey is a well-developed, nuanced character and I acutely felt her pain and distress through Williams' prose. I highly recommend this book, for YA and mature readers alike - 5 stars!
likesbooksrs on LibraryThing 11 months ago
Thirteen year-old Lacy, the narrator of the story, lives with her mother, a woman debilitated by mental illness. Lacy, who has no friends and is the object of scorn and ridicule at school because of some of the behavior of her mother, hopes to make new friends during the summer while she works at the library. Williams writes convincingly using the voice of a young girl who takes on the role of the adult in the family while needing someone to love and care for her.
pocketmermaid on LibraryThing 11 months ago
What an extreme disappointment. I LOVED Carol Lynch Williams' "The Chosen One," which had me enthralled from beginning to end without ever missing a beat, so I was delighted to score an early review copy. But this ... this was made up of entirely missed beats. I had trouble maintaining interest in the story and could only stand to dip into it for a little at a time. And for a novel that takes place in the course of one day, I could not believe how slowly the action moved. It took me nearly an entire month to read, and it's just shy of two hundred pages. It was nowhere near as riveting as I expected, judging from the author's previous novel. Bummers all around.The main character, Lacey, is an extremely annoying, deluded wuss. Okay, I'll cut her SOME slack for living all of her thirteen years with a seriously mentally disturbed mother. Fine. But I can not forgive how stupid and immature she acts throughout the entire damn novel. Since Lacey has lived alone with her unstable mother for an entire year and prides herself on taking care of her, I find it incredibly hard to believe that she lacks the maturity to handle some of the situations she encounters in the book. Girl, when your mother goes missing, you call the damn police. You don't go around and hoping she'll turn up wherever you decide to look for her. Especially because you know she be crazy.Okay. All of that aside, I have two positives to mention. One is that I love how Williams continues to tackle tough subjects (mental disorders and how it affects children here, and polygamist culture in "The Chosen One.") And I love love love Williams writing. She is so skilled, so descriptive, so vivid. Every sentence was so delicately constructed. Even a poor story can get bumped up a star if I enjoy the writing style. Unfortunately, that's not the case here. The story was not developed enough and characters never fully realized for me to cut it slack purely based on being beautifully written.
sydamy on LibraryThing 11 months ago
As a 14 year old, the intended audience for this novel, i found the story could have been very interesting, however i didn't think it lived up to the potential. I found the plot slow and and climax in the story came far too quickly and lasted for too long. When the climax ended, the book ended. In my opinion that was a very sudden ending and Williams didn't wrap the storyline up very well, it seems like she could write a sequel to this book. The idea of a 13 year old being the parent of her mother whose mentally ill, could have gone many ways. Williams made this story haunting and in some points almost disturbing to read. I liked that she introduce Aaron as a potential love interest of Lacey, but i don't feel there relationship developed as it could have. Their relationship was very awkward for most of the story. Near the end of the book it was almost as Aaron was just an accessory, he was just following Lacey everywhere. I wouldn't highly recommend it but i wouldn't tell people not to read it
ylin.0621 on LibraryThing 11 months ago
I first discover Carol Lynch Williams when THE CHOSEN ONE released. It was an amazing novel--a stunner--that wouldn't let me escape from the pages long after I finished. From that point on Carol Lynch Williams remained on my list of authors to watch out for. The second novel that I read was GLIMPSE, a verse novel. It was simplistic novel, but still resonated with me.With MILES FROM ORDINARY I liked it but didn't feel it was up to par as I was expecting from Williams. The plot was slower and some of the relationships seemed too awkward. Williams continues to write haunting tales and MILES FROM ORDINARY was no different. I wished the readers could have delve deeper into Lacey's subconscious mind to get the firm grasp of those "voices". In some ways Lacey is mature than age, but in others she was younger.I plan on continuing to read more of Carol Lynch William's work, however, won't have the bar raised so high.
JRlibrary on LibraryThing 11 months ago
Warning: Complete spoilers follow.This could be a really frustrating read for some readers, because it's the kind of story where you don't know anything to start, and you have to piece it together bit by bit. Most of the story is revealed through the main character, Lacey, through flashbacks. Eventually you find out that Lacey had an Aunt Linda, who used to live with them and who worked at the Peace City library, but Aunt Linda has been gone for more than a year, after her sister, Angela, Lacey's mom, kicked her out. Lacey has just landed a volunteer job at the library, and her mom is going to work at the Winn-Dixie if everything works out the way Lacey hopes. Lacey's mom has severe mental illness and imagines her dead father speaks to her. Lacey never labels the illness, but some of the paranoia she describes made me think schizophrenia. Lacey drops her mom at the Winn Dixie stop, and she keeps going to the library. She's desperately hoping her mom successfully holds onto the job. Lacey wants a break from looking after her mom, she wants just a little time to herself, and she wants a friend. Aaron Ririe gets on the bus, and although initially Lacey is suspicious and guarded, eventually he wins her over and she decides to trust that he really is nice. Through a flash back triggered by Lacey's first day volunteering at the library, we learn that Angela evicted Linda when Linda tried to force her to take her meds or go to the hospital. The house was in Lacey's mom's name, so she was able to make the sister leave. Back to the present, Aaron appears at the library at the end of Lacey's shift, and offers to travel home with Lacey, and she accepts. When they get to the bus stop where Angela is supposed to be, she isn't there. Lacey jumps off the bus and Aaron goes with her, and they find out that Angela quit an hour after she started work, and now she's gone. Aaron sticks with Lacey, even when he finds out her mom is mentally ill. They go home and find a dead parrot and a mannequin of Linda in the bed, and finally they decide to call Aunt Linda for help. While waiting for the aunt, Lacey and Aaron talk a lot more, and we find out that Lacey's grandfather hung himself in a closet. Aaron leaves when his mom comes to pick him up. Then Lacey hears her grandfather in the house and goes to investigate. She finds her mom, talking in a voice that imitates her father, and she has hung two nooses; one for her and one for Lacey, and she tries to kill her. Linda comes in time to save her, and Lacey comes to the realization that her mom is probably not ever going to recover. Not a very happy book, but does a great job of putting you into Lacey's mind. I'm passing it along to my high school.
bookwormygirl on LibraryThing 11 months ago
Thirteen year old Lacey just wants an ordinary life... shoot, she'll even settle for just one ordinary day. It's her first day of work at the library and, although she's excited to begin work at one of her favorite places and the chance at following in her aunt's footsteps, she still finds herself worried over her momma. For it is also her momma's first day of work as cashier at the Winn-Dixie. She hopes for an ordinary day where they both go to work and meet back up on the bus route. But nothing is ordinary in Lacey's life. For her day takes an unexpected turn and you slowly begin to realize just how not ordinary Lacey's life truly is.As a big fan of Ms. Lynch Williams' The Chosen One, I knew Miles from Ordinary would be a powerful and thought-provoking story. The whole story takes place throughout the span of one day in Lacey's life. With tons of flashbacks you get a feel for the background of these characters and just how big Lacey's responsibilities as the caregiver for her mother are.At a little over 200 pages this was a very quick read. I sat down and read the whole story through. My only complaint is that it did have a slow start but yet I found myself captivated by the young Lacey's voice. You know from the start that something is not right and you find the intrigue and mystery of it all to be a real page turner. By the story's conclusion I was terrified. I think Ms. Lynch Williams did a phenomenal job in describing someone suffering from mental illness. The paranoia, the delusions - I had moments where I wondered if something was real or not... it was all very well done.While I didn't love this one as much as I did The Chosen One, it was still a riveting read. Carol Lynch Williams has beautifully written a novel that will touch your heart. It is a unique and interesting contemporary story that will leave you feeling haunted.
ShaEliPar on LibraryThing 11 months ago
Miles from Ordinary is an extremely powerful and heart-breaking novel of one young girls struggle to care for her ailing mother and the impact that's had on her life.Lacey is a shy, brave and mentally strong young girl who's basically slowly falling apart. The weight of the responsibility she's been carrying has made her wary of new people or asking others for help. She believes she must care for her mother all on her own or risk losing everything. I felt so sympathetic for Lacey since she's had to grow up very quickly and constantly lives in a state of fear. At the same time though, I was equally frustrated that Lacey didn't always allow others to help her. I realize she's young and trying to protect her mother but as a mother myself, it just broke my heart.The story moves very quickly and the entire novel takes place during the course of one day. Much of it is told through Lacey's memories of the past, which are triggered by the different places she goes or things she sees. At times I admit to being a bit confused on whether or not we were in the past or present, but I'm also very glad the novel is told this way, since it help deepen Lacey character and explain how her life ended up the way it did.The character of Aaron was one of the main reasons I think I ended up liking the book as much as I did. He never once judges Lacey's situation, even if he doesn't completely understand it and continues to help her when she desperately needs someone to believe in. He also allows Lacey to see what her life is like from an outsiders point-of-view.Several times I thought perhaps I wouldn't finish the book. Not because it was poorly written or had unlikeable characters, but because of its realistic portrayal of how mental illness effects a person and their family. Some of the scenes between Lacey and her mother are so hard to read that I not only became extremely angry and heart-broken but also quite nausea.A novel so moving its to the point of desperation, Miles from Ordinary is certainly not a story for everyone but its definitely an important one nevertheless. I would recommend this book to readers who enjoy contemporary fiction with an emphasis on mental, social and family issues as it tackles all three subjects very honestly.
gubry on LibraryThing 11 months ago
I have to admit, this is the first book I¿ve actually read from this author, actually. I¿ve heard many things about her other books though (The Chosen One), and I keep on reminding myself to go on and read them, but I haven¿t. I will soon, eventually. When picking up and reading this book, I wasn¿t sure what to expect, even after reading the jacket flap¿s summary.The novel¿s events take the course of one full day, including a lot of flashbacks so in a way, it¿s a short book but still a powerful one. The flashbacks explain why Lacey¿s mother is the way she is and who her mother¿s ghosts are as bits and pieces of Lacey¿s past are shown.For the start of Miles from Ordinary, it began out pretty slow. But eventually it picked up its pace and soon I was anticipating for what the ending might be as tension rose from the last forty pages or so. What Lacey¿s mother wanted to do was pretty horrifying if you¿ve read it.I found myself liking, besides Lacey, some of the other cast of characters you see from the book. And in the end, I think the only gripe I have is the way Lacey thinks about one thing and twists it around and says that it¿s wrong. It¿s pretty strange.I¿ll be looking forward to reading the author¿s other novels in the future.
missyreadsreviews on LibraryThing 11 months ago
I didn't know what to expect from this story. Having no prior reading experience of Carol Lynch Williams, I was intrigued with praises of her writing but still clueless. After reading Miles from Ordinary, I can say that I will be singing her praises as well.Whatever I may have been thinking this book was, it was not. The story is beautifully written and so moving. It was also set in only one day's time, which was amazing to me. You'd think something like that wouldn't be able to live up to such high expectations in such a short timeline, but it far exceeds that with flashbacks of Lacey's past helping to guide you and help you understand. Did I mention it's nothing like I thought it would be?Lacey's story goes from heart-wrenching to haunting in the span of the book. Despite everything, you can't help but feel sorry for her and wish that she could have a typical carefree, happy childhood like all the other kids her age. Nevertheless, she's a strong character with an equally strong voice. I was hesitant at first with the main character being younger, but Williams did an incredible job with her voice. Lacey's aunt was a character I also thought was completely selfish, but when the flashbacks reveal more of the story, we see more of why each of the characters are the way they are. I'm not saying I completely agree with every character's actions, though the flashbacks help to understand them better than what I had originally thought.At the very beginning, I struggled a little to get into the story. I think maybe it was the accent of the character and the way she talked? I'm not sure. But my attention was caught very soon after and it wasn't long before I was finishing the book with white knuckles and a sore heart. This book is eerie, to say the least. It's contemporary - and a fine one at that - but I'd also put it in the psychological thriller category as well. If you like either of those, I'm positive you'll love this book.
skstiles612 on LibraryThing 11 months ago
Growing up is tough. Your teen years are years of change. Most teens welcome change. Thirteen-year-old Lacy doesn¿t want any more change, she wants normalcy. Lacey¿s problem is her mother¿s mental illness. She helps her mother with everything. Her Aunt Linda used to live with them and help. Now money is running out so Lacey helped her mother get a job at the local Winn Dixie and she is volunteering at the local library. The plan is simple. She and her mother will ride the bus to town. Her mother will get off at the Winn Dixie and work four hours. Lacey will meet her mother on the bus after work. Lacey needs her mother to do this. She needs her bit of freedom. She needs the opportunity to make friends. On the bus she sees Aaron, a boy who lives on her street. He doesn¿t treat her like the other kids. He is there for her when she realizes her mother is not at the bus stop. She slowly confides in him about her mother¿s illness as he tries to help her find her mother.The author has given us a look at what life might be like for the children of a mentally ill parent. This book is very realistic. Unfortunately as a teacher, I have come across one or two kids who have had a parent with a mental illness. Without assistance their lives could have taken the route that Lacey¿s did. The problem is Lacey loved her mother enough to take abuse from kids at school to protect her mother. I enjoy reading books by this author and look forward to recommending this one.
librarian_k on LibraryThing 11 months ago
This is the kind of book that YA naysayers may scream is "too dark" or "too real" for teens. But I think it's the kind of books that teens need to be reading. Particularly because there are many teens facing the same issues as Lacy -- mental illness, no friends, shunned at school. This is the kind of book that can make a reader feel like they're no the only one out there with these problems. Carol Lynch Williams delivers a great story with a powerful narrator!
crazyhippo37 on LibraryThing 11 months ago
Miles from Ordinary was a really difficult book to read at times, but it was a really good book. Well-written and interesting, Miles from Ordinary was a heart-wrenching portrayal of the experience of a child having to care for their parent. Lacey constantly felt like she was betraying her mother when she did anything for herself, and she felt guilty for wanting to do things outside of caring for her mother. Lacey's entire story was really difficult, but Carol Lynch Williams' writes in the voice of a thirteen year old really well. Although this book killed my soul at times, I would recommend it to pretty much anything, as it provides a different perspective on mental illness and is quite interesting to read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
StalkinTheBooks More than 1 year ago
Miles from Ordinary is an extremely powerful and heart-breaking novel of one young girls struggle to care for her ailing mother and the impact that's had on her life. Lacey is a shy, brave and mentally strong young girl who's basically slowly falling apart. The weight of the responsibility she's been carrying has made her wary of new people or asking others for help. She believes she must care for her mother all on her own or risk losing everything. I felt so sympathetic for Lacey since she's had to grow up very quickly and constantly lives in a state of fear. At the same time though, I was equally frustrated that Lacey didn't always allow others to help her. I realize she's young and trying to protect her mother but as a mother myself, it just broke my heart. The story moves very quickly and the entire novel takes place during the course of one day. Much of it is told through Lacey's memories of the past, which are triggered by the different places she goes or things she sees. At times I admit to being a bit confused on whether or not we were in the past or present, but I'm also very glad the novel is told this way, since it help deepen Lacey character and explain how her life ended up the way it did. The character of Aaron was one of the main reasons I think I ended up liking the book as much as I did. He never once judges Lacey's situation, even if he doesn't completely understand it and continues to help her when she desperately needs someone to believe in. He also allows Lacey to see what her life is like from an outsiders point-of-view. Several times I thought perhaps I wouldn't finish the book. Not because it was poorly written or had unlikeable characters, but because of its realistic portrayal of how mental illness effects a person and their family. Some of the scenes between Lacey and her mother are so hard to read that I not only became extremely angry and heart-broken but also quite nausea. A novel so moving its to the point of desperation, Miles from Ordinary is certainly not a story for everyone but its definitely an important one nevertheless. I would recommend this book to readers who enjoy contemporary fiction with an emphasis on mental, social and family issues as it tackles all three subjects very honestly.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Tawni More than 1 year ago
Carol Lynch Williams is definitely standing out by entering the reality of what its like to live and take care of someone who is mentally ill. I thought Miles From Ordinary was such a deep story that turned out quite surprising actually. I loved that I was expecting one thing and I was taken on another path. I feel that the unique twists and turns in the story signify how hard it really is to be Lacey, a 13-year-old girl taking care of her sick mother. Lacey is strong on the outside and made it look like a breeze to take care of someone who is supposed to be taking care of her. But the further into her thoughts you go, the more you understand the pain and hardship she's going through. Lacey and her mom, Angela, just picked up new jobs in town and Lacey hopes her mom won't freak out and she might have a chance at meeting friends and having a normal summer. Unfortunately, things don't happen the way she hopes and Lacey has to frantically search for her mom before something awful happens. At times it was hard for me to get a grip on what was happening and I think its because it was written using a southern style (or so I imagined). It was also hard for me to keep track of what was present and past, because it breaks into past times a lot! I honestly didn't know what to expect from this author, but she really put it out there. Miles From Ordinary was raw and very emotional. I agree that Williams knows how to get into the heart of a girl who's struggling with her mom alongside her own problems and feelings. Review based on ARC copy