The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

The BCCB came out with a wonderful review of MILLION MILES in the April issue. I was particularly happy to see that the reviewer focused on Lucy's yearnings for the older girls even as she rejects her dad's girlfriend. Lately I've been thinking about how I'm going to talk to kids about this book. And I've decided that one thing I will focus on is the idea that it should be read through a "lens of grief." If this is the case, then what do you make of Lucy's interest in the older girls? In her avoiding Dad's girlfriend? Here it is:

Day, Karen, A Million Miles from Boston. Lamb, 2011 [224p] Library ed. ISBN 978-0-385-90763-7?$18.99 Trade ed. ISBN 978-0-385-73899?$15.99 E-book ed. ISBN 978-0-375-89690-3?$15.99 Reviewed from galleys R:Gr. 5-7 Summer for Lucy always means the family seaside cottage in Pierpoint, Maine, where she relishes the long-term summer community’s unchanging traditions. Unfortunately, this summer, the one before her entry into seventh grade, seems to be all about change: her in-school nemesis, popular and obstreperous Ian, turns out to be vacationing in the neighboring cottage, and her widowed father is beginning to press her to accept his new girlfriend, Julia. There’s a solid, old-school feel to the story (even down to the detail that both Dad and his girlfriend lost their spouses to death, not divorce) and a gentleness to the timeless world of summer vacations, where kids pelt around together under minimal adult supervision. The emotions are still all keen and current, though, and Day does a particularly fine job of quietly depicting Lucy’s yearning for older female approval (she’s a sucker for attention from older girls, including Ian’s older sister, even as she resists Julia’s overtures). Her evolving relationship with Ian avoids predictability, too, since it’s clear that she really is kind of bossy and rigid and overreactive and that Ian isn’t necessarily any more flawed than she is. It’s a classic summer-growth story, and kids who wish for their own oceanfront cottages and pivotal seasons will enjoy sharing Lucy’s. DS