Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Book Review: Miles from Ordinary by Carol Lynch Williams

Summary: Thirteen-year-old Lacey wakes to a beautiful summer morning excited to begin her new job at the library, just as her mother is supposed to start work at the grocery store. Lacey hopes that her mother's ghosts have finally been laid to rest; after all, she seems so much better these days, and they really do need the money. But as the hours tick by and memories come flooding back, a day full of hope spins terrifyingly out of control...


I loved The Chosen One, another book by Carol Lynch Williams, so I had high hopes for Miles from Ordinary. Williams did not disappoint. She knows how to get into a thirteen year old girl's head and convey the conflicting thoughts and emotions the protagonist, Lacey, feels as her mother continues to decline to the point of no return. This book was a quick but gripping read, a harrowing look into the life of a young girl tasked with handling huge problems on her own, fearful of involving anyone who might not understand. Williams presented a fairly unbiased view of the situation, resisting the temptation to demonize Lacey's mother. This book's ending was both happy and sad; I like that Williams didn't take the easy way out and try to force a cheerful ending to such a suspenseful and moving book. Carol Lynch Williams is the master of serious novels about thirteen year old girls; no one else need apply.

Add Miles from Ordinary on Goodreads

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Tantalizing Future YA Releases!

This is a feature started by Eleni at La Femme Readers to showcase upcoming and exciting YA releases.

A Corner of White (The Colors of Madeleine #1) by Jaclyn Moriarty (PanMacmillan Australia, 9/18/12)

The Other Normals by Ned Vizzini (Balzer + Bray, 9/25/12)

All You Never Wanted by Adele Griffin (Random House Children's Books, 10/9/12)

What Happens Next by Colleen Clayton (Poppy, 10/9/12)

Ask the Passengers by A. S. King (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 10/23/12)

Blind Spot by Laura Ellen (Harcourt Children's Books, 10/23/12)

Venom (Secrets of the Eternal Rose #1) by Fiona Paul (Philomel, 10/30/12)

Reached (Matched #3) by Ally Condie (Dutton Children's Books, 11/13/12)

Middle Ground (Awaken #2) by Katie Kacvinsky (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 11/20/12)

Why We Broke Up: a movie?

I came across this news item awhile ago, and I felt compelled to express my vehement disapproval of turning Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler into a movie.

This book is a novel length letter and relies entirely on that format to create a compelling story. The beauty of this book is in the details that Min provides about why she and Ed broke up. It charts their entire relationship from flirtation to ending, and points out all the little signs along the way that their time together would never last. It is a complex look at relationships, as breakups are hardly ever quite as simple as they are portrayed in most movies or television shows. One person hardly ever betrays the other person in an irreparable way; the far more likely outcome is that two people simply grow apart, they want something or someone else, they want to be single again, they don't want to make sacrifices with you, they're tired of arguing, and on and on. Often two people are perfectly good people they just aren't good together, and Min shows both sides of her time with her ex, the good and the bad. No matter how much you end up bashing an ex, there were always good times, too; you were with them for a reason. This book is a celebration of all the little quirks and moments that attract you to a person and an exploration of how all those little pieces don't always add up to a successful relationship.

I just can't see how they would take this novel and turn it into a movie, because movies are such a visual medium, and this book although lyrical, is not about scenes. This book is all about the words, Daniel Handler's beautiful words: "It was a secret time and place, you next to me, untraceable and out of this world." The illustrations before each chapter of the items in the box Min is giving to her ex gives you the feeling that you have found a failed relationship in a box, and they lend an intimacy to this novel that would be lost on screen.

I really hope this project never goes anywhere, because I simply can't bear to see another book I love ruined on screen (see the movie version of It's Kind of a Funny Story).