Book Reviews, YA Book Club for Writers

Book Club Review: Miles to Go by Beryl Young

Miles to Go is the story of a friendship between two twelve-year-old girls in a small Saskatchewan town. In the spring of 1948, each girl faces a heavy personal loss and challenges that threaten their friendship. Through a hard few months the girls learn the meaning of loyalty and the value of keeping a promise. Inspired by a true story.

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Our thoughts about this book:

Overall we liked this story. Most of the characters are well developed and it is well written. There is a certain added element when a reader realizes that a story is inspired by true events, interlinked with the author’s imagination. It’s worth reading the Author’s Note at the end of the story (after you’ve finished reading, it contains spoilers.)

We really felt for Anna’s situation. Her mother dies during childbirth and Anna, being the oldest daughter (age 12), has to leave school to take up her mother’s place in child and home care. She makes a promise to her mother, her mother’s last dying request, to look after the baby and Anna intends to keep it. But being thrust into looking after a newborn, two toddlers, plus cooking, laundry, cleaning, etc, well, the author does a great job of dragging the reader through the experience along side Anna. You can’t help but feel for her.

The story is told in two different view points, using interchanging chapters. Anna and Maggie are best friends. The chapters told from Maggie’s point of view were a bit more of an issue for us. Maggie’s story is well told, however, we felt that the situation Maggie went through far paled in comparison to Anna’s situation, making Maggie appear to be more whiny and entitled rather than struggling. We had a harder time sitting in her shoes and feeling her anguish.

Truly, we felt this story could have been told just from Anna’s point of view and drop Maggie’s. Maggie could certainly still be in the story, going through her situation as a subplot, but be told through Anna. Technically, if you pull out Maggie’s story completely, it has little affect on the book. We thought the story could be more powerful if it had focused solely on Anna’s situation.

This was also the recent book I read to my boys. Now age 10 and 13. They were quite affected by Anna’s story and had lots of questions about why things happened the way they did “back then.” The story takes place in 1948. They both enjoyed it and were sad for what Anna had to go through.

This novel is a MYRCA nominee and yes, we recommend this book.

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This is an unsolicited review. I purchased my copy from Amazon.ca.

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Wandering Fox (Sept. 11, 2018)
  • ISBN-13: 978-1772032642

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