Miles from Ordinary by Carol Lynch Williams
Published by St. Martin’s Griffin, an imprint of Macmillan

Thirteen-year-old Lacey begins this day excited to begin her summer job at the library and hopeful that her mother’s first day at work at the grocery store will be a success. Her mother has seemed much better these days – her erratic behavior and talk of the ghosts in their home have died down quite a bit – and Lacey is sure that their life can finally start being more normal. But the day quickly spirals out of control as Lacey returns to the grocery store in the afternoon to find her mother gone, and with no other adults in her life to turn to, Lacey must figure this out on her own.

Carol Lynch Williams has a gift. She has the unique ability to truly get inside the mind of a young teen girl, to the point where I felt like Lacey was a real person and was telling me this story herself. To say that I was captivated by this story of one fateful, horrible day in Lacey’s life would be an understatement. I was entranced by this story and read it in one very quick sitting, breathless from the excitement of it all. I found myself literally holding my breath, hoping and praying that the things Lacey most feared regarding her mother’s disappearance weren’t true. I wanted desperately for Lacey to find her mother and get her some help so that she could just be a normal teenager and have the life she was meant to live.

In this short book, Williams managed to create a complete and incredibly real character in Lacey. My heart really went out to her as the situation with her mother was just heartbreaking. What made it worse was that Lacey had no other adult in her life to turn to – it was just her and her mother against the world. While Lacey was amazingly smart and resourceful for a thirteen-year-old, no child should have to make the kinds of adult decisions that Lacey was forced to make. It just broke my heart in so many ways.

I have to say that while this novel is devastating and difficult to read, it is amazing and I highly recommend it. Miles from Ordinary is so short that it can be read in one sitting, and it is so captivating that you won’t be able to put it down anyway. You will fall in love with Lacey as I did and hope and pray the whole way through that things will work out for her. Carol Lynch Williams is fantastic at what she does and her books are not to be missed.