A Million Miles Away by Lara Avery
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.
Publishes in US: July 7th 2015 by Poppy
Genre: ya contemp
Source: Little Brown via Netgalley
Disclaimer: I received this book as an ARC (advanced review copy). I am not paid for this review, and my opinions in this review are mine, and are not effected by the book being free.
My review of Lara's other book:
Anything But Ordinary
Buy it here
Author stalk away:
I wanted to read A Million Miles away because losing your twin sister has to make for an emotional read. Then she makes the decision to pretend to be her sister because she begins falling for Michelle's boyfriend who is in the military.
The book does have us briefly beet Michelle before she died, and it did set up that the sisters were close, but also that they fought physically and that it was up and down. Michelle is an artist and more dreamy than Kelsey, and she seemed to attract lost souls, and would always fall back on Kelsey when they didn't work out. Kelsey is athletic and seems to be more popular. But when she meets and talks to Peter the day Michelle died, the day that he shipped out to Afghanistan, she is surprised by how much she likes him, and he seems genuine, their relationship making Michelle happy instead of it seeming like a project. Peter really seemed to care for her as well.
I connected with Kelsey because her grief at losing Michelle was a lot like my grief losing my dad. She didn't all out bawl and be emotional in the outside. She felt kind of numb, like it wasn't real almost. Then she felt a lot of physical pain and her emotional pain manifested in withdrawing. She did eventually start crying about everything, which I guess is where our similarities end.
She was helping her mom delete Michelle's facebook account when she got the first message from Peter. She had intended to tell him, she even went to a recruiting office to try to get word to him, and that is when she realized she didn't even know his last name. And oh how it's wrong, but she feels like she misses Michelle just a little bit less when she is talking to him. And she doesn't want to hurt him or distract him, she really did worry about his safety. But more and more, she realizes how much she cares about him, and she rationalizes not telling him, more and more.
I appreciated that this book dealt with grief in a number of ways, showing how it effected Kelsey differently than her parents, and how they dealt with it in numbers, hosting a support group at their house, and talking it out. It was kinda sad because it felt like Kelsey was lost to them they were so caught up in losing Michelle and trying to deal with that. But their eyes were finally opened again to their living daughter, and a good balance was found in remembering the loss of Michelle and trying to live life instead of it passing them by.
One of Kelsey's friends did find out what she was doing with Peter, and they had a pretty big blow out. But I did appreciate that her friend spoke the truth to her, but it was sad that they stopped hanging out and talking for awhile. But eventually they repaired the breach, and made their friendship solid again.
A Million Miles Away seemed realistic not only in the grief part, but in what Peter shared while he was deployed. His letters, skype sessions, and when they were in person, he shared the difficulties he faced. He lost some in his unit, and he was afraid, and didn't want to go back, but at the same time felt that drive and loyalty to the others he served with. He dealt with the things that they tried to desensitize the soldiers to otherwise they could lose their minds. He developed muscle memory and had issues back home with louder sounds that could be mistaken for gunfire. It really gave me a renewed thankfulness for the men and women who serve, and a better understanding of what they might feel or think.
It was hard because Kelsey does have a boyfriend, and it is some form of cheating. Don't know to what degree, but she def had a deep emotional attachment to Peter. Thankfully this did end up handled pretty well, and Kelsey made some good decisions for a change.
I did appreciate that the truth finally came out, and that she took responsibility and quit making excuses for herself. I did like the way it was handled and wrapped up. It gave a lot of hope for healing, and hints of something sweet between the two for the future.
My question to you, my lovely readers:
Could you or have you ever pretended to be someone else?