Miles from Nowhere by Nami Mun - Book Review

There have been many runaway, homeless, downtrodden teen novels. What makes Miles from Nowhere different is that it tells the story of a 13-year-old Korean-American, not the typical runway candidate. Joon’s immigrant family never made the transition to the American dream and one day she leaves her needy mother for the streets of New York City.

Also different is the episodic telling told with Joon’s pragmatic voice. Though she meets all the horrors of typical teen runaway tales, she never makes excuses nor glorifies the situations. The supporting cast is a hodgepodge of street characters both vibrant and wretched.

While this seems like an excellent set-up, there was something amiss in the telling. The episodic structure of the novel, while well-written individual chapters, keeps one from ever really relating to Joon or her vibrant comrades. The various street characters that Joon encounters are colorful enough, but lack a linear depth. One can’t help but wish that we had gotten to know them better. The setting, 1980’s, seems almost an afterthought, not strong enough to warrant notice.

In the end, Miles from Nowhere left me miles from caring. What could have been a final poignant scene was just an ok-it’s-over-now moment. There's a load of praise for this title across the web, the writer is certainly a talent, but Miles from Nowhere just didn't connect with this reader.

Final Thoughts: excellent writing, great premise, poor plot execution due to structuring of tale, lacking depth of character and/or setting

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caite said...

I found it ultimately disappointing as well... here was my review.

A shame. Being happy that I have come to the end of a book is not a good sign.

Trish said...

I got about 160 pages into this one before calling it quits. I did read the last chapter, but after reading that I was convinced I didn't need to go back and finish the other 100 pages.


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