By Carol Lynch Williams
St. Martin’s Press, $16.99, 197 pages

Miles From Ordinary by Carol Lynch Williams explores the troubled life of fourteen year old Lacey Mills. It is the beginning of a new school year in Peace City, Florida, and Lacy is eager for a fresh start. She will be volunteering at the library this year, and her mother is finally going back to work.

All appears normal in the Mills household—except for the fact that Lacey’s grandfather haunts her mother. Though he passed away before Lacey’s birth, her mother’s fear of his ghost incapacitates her to the extent that Lacy has been her mother’s caretaker as long as she can remember. When she confronts her mother about the scratches on her face or the cuts on her arms, the answer is always the same: “Granddaddy told me to… he says it will keep me safe.”

“Why didn’t I matter enough?”

Lacy can only bear her mother’s burden for so long. She begins to fight her own ghost as she confuses her anger at her mother with blame for herself. “Why [don’t] I matter enough?” she asks. When her mother attempts the unthinkable, the battle between her true self and a damaged inner voice becomes a battle between life and death.

Emily Davis