Author: Lara Avery
Publisher: Poppy, 320 pages
Expected Publication Date: July 7, 2015
*ARC received from publisher via NetGalley
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.
Intriguing premise, with Kelsey heartbroken over the loss of Michelle, her twin sister, and getting caught up in pretending to be her when it comes to Peter, Michelle's boyfriend who is in Afghanistan. I felt really sorry for Kelsey, who seems to have no one to help her through this. Her parents join a grief group, but they are so caught up in their own pain that they don't realize how lost Kelsey is. Instead of dealing with Michelle's death, she pretends to be Michelle. It's a way for her to feel closer to Michelle, a way that she doesn't have to let her go.
While I felt sorry for Kelsey, it was still hard to get past how she was lying to Peter. Poor Peter! He and Michelle hadn't been dating long, but he is in love with her and he has no idea that she has died (Peter doesn't do Facebook). His relationship with Kelsey is sweet (they mainly communicate through e-mail, letters, and Skype), but I couldn't completely ship them because of Kelsey's lie. And honestly, I'm not sure how realistic it is for her to be able to pull off this deception, but I could buy it given that it doesn't seem like Peter and Michelle spent a whole lot of time together. It's not spelled out, but that's the sense I got. Also, Peter is going through such an intense and different experience in Afghanistan that I could see him overlooking anything that he did notice.
Even though the romance is the focus, it's also about dealing with grief and also a coming of age story, in that Kelsey, through pretending to be Michelle, discovers things about herself.
The whole time I was reading I was just waiting for the other shoe to drop. When will Peter find out? How will he find out? How will he react? I just wanted to KNOW. A Million Miles Away is a well-written, moving, and emotional read about loss and love.
Posted by: Pam