Posted by: jeannineatkins | July 27, 2009


In Mary Pearson’s latest novel, due in stores soon, four teenagers take a trip that’s about finding home. They talk their way through rough-edged memories into closer friendship. Secrets peek in and out of sight, adding to the drama of where will they stop next? There’s the thrill of wondering if there can ever truly be one fair day, a little romance, wishes, loneliness, and a touch of magic. In other words, THE MILES BETWEEN is a wonderful read.

This ARC (advanced reader’s copy; the cover has since been changed to the one above) has already whipped back and forth across the country a few times. Melodye newport2newport just showed it a good time at a county fair in Orange County. We’re quieter here in western Massachusetts.

Not much more than a thousand people live in our town. We’ve got a great school, library, and post office, but that’s about it. No coffee shop, no movie theater, not even a general store. But we have an enormous milk bottle, which visitors beg to see. Or at least we drag them there for photo ops. The book doesn’t show up too well, but I guess that points out how huge this milk bottle is! (in the caring hands of a walking buddy, Jeanne, who as a retired librarian knows how to hold a book with care.) Quonquont Farm is still around, but selling berries and apples; the cows have all gone. Back in the 1930’s, I think, you could buy ice cream from a little door that opens in the back. Now you can get the ice cream only at our Fall Festival.

I introduced this ARC to the one that thrillingly just showed up at my house (though Borrowed Names won’t morph into a book until spring 2010; Mary’s The Miles Between will be out this fall).

Okay, it’s no county fair with corn dogs and cotton candy, but I took the ARC out for a drink and discussion of children’s literature with friends who oohed and ahhed. Here it is enjoying an evening on the Deck with (from the left) teacher Tiphareth Ananda, writers Ellen Wittlinger, me, and Peg Davol (seated on the right), and librarians Nancy Brady and Mia Cabana. I don’t think it minded that we talked about her sisters, Mary’s widely acclaimed novel, The Adoration of Jenna Fox, and my favorite, A Room on Lorelei Street.

You too can win a chance to have The Miles Between visit your home by commenting below. If you win this chance to be one of the book’s first readers, you’ll need to post some pictures of the ARC in your hometown on your blog, or, if you don’t blog, send a picture or two to Mary to post on hers marypearson where you’ll find the simple rules. If you’re not registered on Live Journal, you can post anonymously and write in your name and how to reach you by email (please write “AT” instead of the fancy a thing and I’ll figure it out). Contest is open until Wednesday, July 29, midnight PST. Please enter! This ARC wants to see a bit more of the country before it’s sent back to Mary’s editor in NYC at the beginning of September!



  1. Whoa, that’s a giant milk bottle! Road trips are all about finding the quirky local spots, so I’m glad we (and THE MILES BETWEEN) got to visit one in your hometown. And how perfect, that you ended the visit with a group of book-lovers.
    Can’t wait to see where it ends up next…

  2. Looks like you showed Mary’s ARC a good time! And I loved seeing yours, too. Very exciting!

  3. Thanks for passing through in your gorgeous car! Watch out for those headlights! I hope the arc goes somewhere fun. I’m afraid too many writers are feeling some end of the road trip weariness about now; I know August is starting to sneak toward us, and those of us with August goals are starting to feel the slight panic of end of summer. But I hope some remember how fun those last miles can be! Cruising on home!

  4. Except for the sticky air, I think the arc has had a good time. At least its covers aren’t curling yet.

  5. You may be right. I’m feeling a few end-of-summer performance anxieties, too.
    Hey! You might consider inviting the people who commented on my road trip entry to come over and enter your contest. No worries if you don’t think that’s a good idea for any reason…I just thought I’d throw that out there.

  6. I don’t see anything wrong with enticing anyone over who wanted a chance and didn’t yet get one. I think Mary will try to send some this way tomorrow, so we’ll see what happens after people have caught up from the weekend.

  7. Mary’s ARC
    I think The Miles Between ARC would love to see the world’s biggest basket and meet my book group!
    I’m not anonymous-but I keep getting an error message with Open ID
    kmichael AT

  8. Jeannine, this is so much fun! Thank you! And I love that Miles got to chill out on the deck with you and your friends : )
    I just wanted to add, I have a long list of folks who wanted to be on the tour from my original post so if you need a name you can let me know!

  9. Fun trip! I’ll be posting the tour I gave Mary’s ARC soon, too. I read the book practically straight through and loved it!

  10. Wouldn’t that be thrilling to get ice cream out of a little door behind that huge milk bottle!
    Looks like that ARC is having a very good time. 🙂

  11. Re: Mary’s ARC
    Thank you for persisting with error messages (so annoying). I’m so glad you posted! The ARC loved the big milk bottle, so a big basket sounds good! Your name is in the hat, and I’ll announce a winner on Thursday morning.

  12. We are all about chilling on July evenings! Thanks for the offer of names. I’ll see how things go!

  13. Oh, good, I’ll look forward to your post! Yes, it was a good fast read; no road blocks in the writing!

  14. The line for ice cream is quite long (well, by our little town standards; I grumble if I have to wait for two cars pulling out of the post office), but I wish you could be here on fall festival day. That’s when we have our Friends of the Library book sale — and i wouldn’t even ask you to carry boxes! (we bribe children whenever possible).
    Any interest in showing this arc around your town, Lorraine?

  15. Hi Jeannine! Thought I would check in and see if you needed a name for the tour!

  16. HI, Mary! I think I mentioned in a comment on your blog that I sent it to Kristine at bestbookihavenotreadDOTwordpressDotcom last Wed — so it should have hit Ohio by now. Thanks!

  17. oh my goodness, that skittered right past me! Hooray for more travels!

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