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The Miles Between by Mary E. Pearson is just pure serendipity! Everything falls into place, shows up at the right time, and works out in the end. Pearson created a story that makes you feel good. Destiny Farrady is in the latest of many, many boarding schools she is shuffled in and out of. She keeps to herself and doesn’t bother making friends, because inevitably she will just have to leave them! The only thing she is looking forward to is her aunt’s visit on her birthday because she knows her parents won’t be coming. They never come. In fact, they have essentially forgotten they even have a daughter. But when her aunt cancels her visit, Des is so upset she doesn’t know what to do. .. until she spots the beautiful car in front of the school with the engine running. Des needs to take this car, but she can’t drive. She sees another student, a boy she has been interested in, dodging his work duty detention and convinces him to drive the car- but she doesn’t tell him the car isn’t hers! Then, two other students happen by and want to tag along. Soon, the foursome is off on an adventure that will change their lives. With a hilarious and adorable quest with no destination in sight, the four students start driving to the nearest city. They happen upon a poor lost lamb and adopt it as their “dog” (affectionately referred to as Lucky and explained as being a “Lamberdoodle” when they are told livestock isn’t allowed in the city limits. They stumble upon a great thrift shop where they find poodle skirts and funky outfits to change into instead of their uniforms. Des even finds a stack of cash in the glove box to fund their little excursion. The conclusion of their “fair” and perfect day leads to more than just one revelation of their lives and budding friendships. This is an absolutely adorable book with a sweet story of four kids who are trying to find their way in life. It is a quick read, and it keeps you interested with something always happening on the road trip. The language is very readable and not terribly complicated. There is also a bit of seriousness as Des deals with her family and deeper troubles in her life, but these issues are handled with a delightful optimism that will put a smile on your face. In fact, I would like to rename the book to “the Smiles Between”. If you just need a feel-good book that will make you happy for your friends and family, this is it! Check it out!
From School Library Journal Grade 9 Up—Des is bitter and despairing. Her parents packed her off to boarding school when she was seven, and she hasn’t been home for nine years. She never makes attachments because she has a way of being kicked out of each school with regularity. While she is sulking by herself, a “visiting professor” asks her what she needs. She then proceeds to rip into him, indicating that all she wants is “one fair day” when the oatmeal isn’t lumpy, when her parents know what it’s like to be abandoned, and when the boy she likes gets extra credit instead of being assigned to trash duty. Then she rounds a corner to see a gorgeous, champagne-pink convertible idling, the door ajar. By astronomical coincidence, the boy is dodging his trash duty nearby. They manage to scoop up two classmates, and the four of them set off to grab their “one fair day.” It is the road-trip adventure of a lifetime. On the way, they share profound secrets, including revealing why a family would completely estrange themselves from seven-year-old Destiny Faraday. This story is well conceived and beautifully executed. The tight plot effortlessly conveys masterfully drawn characters, and a touch of magical realism adds to the wonder of the day. Evocative of Judith Clarke’s One Whole and Perfect Day (Front St., 2007), The Road Between is every bit as poignant, but has much more youth appeal.—Leah Krippner, Harlem High School, Machesney Park, IL END –This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
The Miles Between Paperback – January 4, 2011 by Mary E. Pearson (Author) Review
This is partly a story of strange coincidence, and partly a story of how things are not always what they seem. Destiny begins to understand this on the road trip she goes on with her classmates, and she realizes that she doesn’t see as much as she thinks she does. This sets her on a path toward truth, and then the reader sees more things that aren’t what they seem. This plot is extremely well-crafted. The balance between coincidence and the deliberate is precarious, but the author walks that line well by making the book all about coincidence. She also subtly suggests that we have the power to create our own coincidence, which is a concept I love. If the book just had this, that would be enough for me. But it has even more. The amount of emotion this story evoked was incredible. Even though I had suspected the Big Reveal at the end, that didn’t stop me from being completely absorbed in Destiny’s turmoil. It was so moving that I cried big, fat tears for her, and I don’t cry for books (because I can’t see through the tears). The last time I cried this hard was over twenty years ago, when I read the end of WHERE THE RED FERN GROWS. Incredible. The ending was a little too good in places, which might turn some people off. However, since this book was about strange coincidence and `one fair day,’ I thought it fit the rules of the story. So, I’m okay with it. This book isn’t a mystery, yet it’s mysterious. It isn’t an adventure story, yet the characters experience interesting adventures. And it doesn’t say that everything is perfect, yet we get to taste perfection on this one, special day. I found this book to be wonderfully special, and it’s going on my favorites shelf. -Read Reviews-
Good morales, characters you get to know well, and many unexpected twists and turns. Defiantly worth the two hours it took to read.
Tags: Boarding schools, Children: Young Adult (Gr. 10-12), Children's, Emotional problems, Emotional problems of teenagers, Fiction, Friendship, General, General (see also headings under Family), Mary E. Pearson, Schools, Secrecy, Secrets, Social Themes, Social Themes - General, Square Fish, Teenage fiction & true stories, The Miles Between, YOUNG ADULT FICTION