I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.A Million Miles Away by Lara Avery
Published by Poppy on July 7th 2015
Genres: Contemporary Fiction, Romance, Young Adult
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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.\r\n
A Million Miles Away by Lara Avery crossed my radar a couple of months ago, in one of Netgalley’s “the first 500 people will be auto-approved for this arc” emails. I almost passed it up, but when I read the synopsis, I was suckered right in. Because I love stories about twins. I didn’t mean for that to rhyme, but #sorrynotsorry. Where I was ultimately a tiny bit disappointed in previous books about twins where one dies (The Secrets We Keep & Beautiful Lies), I just really enjoyed the way this one addressed the issue of a twinless twin moving on with her life. Kelsey is equally insufferable and vulnerable. She is the popular captain of the cheerleading squad, but – and this is so refreshing! – she is not snobby or in with a bad crowd. She conforms to cliches, but she does so because they are comfortable. At the beginning of A Million Miles Away, she’s a small-town girl with no direction, other than the next party and makeout session with her boyfriend, Davis. We don’t get to spend a lot of time with Michelle, since she passes away early on in the story, but overall, she was quiet and dedicated to her artwork – and her new boyfriend, Peter. Sometimes she lashed out at her twin, but I think that was in a sort of self-defense for not feeling understood by Kelsey. Peter and Davis were equally believable and likeable characters. Davis was your “bro” at all the parties. He did come off as complacent and without larger ambitions, but he wasn’t a bad guy. He was just happy with his life and didn’t see a need to change it. Peter was so sweet and I did feel kind of bad that Kelsey was pulling the wool over his eyes, even though she never intended to. Kelsey’s best friends Ingrid and Gillian were funny and gave the story equal parts brevity and kick-ass. They all had their ups and downs, but they were the kind of friends a girl needs during the low times in her life. What’s interesting between their trio is that Ingrid and Gillian were each other’s best friends, but it wasn’t in a way that left Kelsey deprived…because her best friend was always her twin. Even when Michelle wasn’t there anymore. I liked the dynamic between all of them and their reactions to her predicaments felt genuine. Kelsey’s character arc is beautiful. She goes from that small-town girl who sneered at her sister’s artistic passion and boy-bouncing to someone who decides to pick up where Michelle left off, in more ways than one. The loss of her sister reaches into her soul and demands she find out why Michelle was who she was. There was never any asking why she acted a certain way or why she did certain things. Her actions stayed true to her character all throughout the book. And this is not a story where one twin pretends to be the other for some kind of personal gain; this is, instead, a story about a twin who grieves so keenly for her sister that she doesn’t want someone else to feel the hurt and loss as deeply as she has, and therefore her deception to Peter comes naturally and understandably. A Million Miles Away was a very character-driven book; the focus was on the whys and the hows, and it was a very satisfying story.
Sadness isn’t measured in years. Feelings, I don’t think, can be measured in anything. We are just bodies guessing about other bodies. That’s why songs and paintings and poems exist. They’re the best guesses.