Friday, October 11, 2013

Blog Tour and Review--Mile 21 by Sarah Dunster

Publication: October 2013
Length: 336 pages
Source: e-book from publisher for honest review
My Rating: *****--5 Stars.

Book Description: 
“You have to be here. I can’t be on the premises without an owner or tenant present. Wouldn’t want to be accused of walking off with anything.” He looks around the kitchen. “Not that there’s anything here to tempt me.”
“You’re a jerk.”
Bob glances down at the photo again. “Will your husband be back soon?”
“He died a year ago. So, no.”
I gain immense satisfaction in seeing his cheeks darken a bit.

Abish Miller is a mess. But you might be too if you were a twenty-one-year-old widow with a dysfunctional family, an overpowering boss, and a torturous return to the singles’ scene. Training for the marathon she and her husband never got to run is about the only time she can forget about her problems.
But life won’t leave her alone. It throws Bob Hartley, a recently divorced young father, into her living room and then her ward. And when her irritation turns into attraction, she’s sure that it must be some sort of cosmic joke, especially when it seems he loathes her! Feeling like she just keeps hitting the wall, Abish must learn to push past her fears or she’ll never achieve her personal best.
Defined by sharp wit and an authentic voice, Mile 21 shows the despair of giving up on hope—and the joy of choosing it again. 

About the Author: 
Sarah Dunster 
Sarah Dunster is an award-winning poet and fiction writer. Her poems have appeared in Dialogue: Journal of Mormon Thought, Sunstone Magazine, and Segullah Magazine. She is a contributor to LDS arts blog A Motley Vision. Her first novel, “Lightning Tree,” was released in April of 2012. Her fiction has been described as fresh, character-driven, and outside the box of LDS literature. Sarah Dunster enjoys writing almost as much as she enjoys spending time with her seven children, age eleven and younger.

My Review:
I was completely blown away with this heartfelt novel. Told in first person, it really drew me in and had me feeling the emotions right along with Abish. Abish married young and was widowed less than a year later. At 21, she finds herself back in the singles scene at BYU-I. She's trying to cope with her grief and be self-sufficient, yet she doesn't feel she fits in anywhere--not with the marrieds, not with the singles. I can relate to the fact that she doesn't want to accept help. She is trying to come to terms with gospel truths and how they can still apply to her and many questions are raised; questions that she feels require a footnote, however, no footnotes are given.

Abish came off across as very independent and almost abrasive. Her story unfolds during the course of the story--it's not all given up front. For me, that worked well. I kept wondering at the hints given and kept turning the pages to find out what she had endured. She is very snarky and her words and actions often push people away, but there are a few people who can get past her bristles. While I can understand that a lot of what she did was because of the pain she felt, I really wished she would have confided in her family. She is young, but she didn't need to go through things alone. I also didn't like the way she treated Pen. Not that he was much better.

Bob was great!! He's got a past himself, but he chooses to deal with things much differently. I love how accepting he is, even with the verbal darts thrown at him.

The descriptions of a singles ward and the people there was a lot of fun. I loved the Bishop and how he handled things and Shelley was awesome. The marathon scene brought tears to my eyes. I really appreciated that there was an epilogue. I love things to be wrapped up.

Content: talk of making out; religious stuff; clean.

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