FICTION

Ten Miles One Way

208p. ebook available. Philomel. Mar. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780399544996.
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Gr 10 Up—A haunting story of a teen's experience with mental illness. Nest has invited her sometime boyfriend, Q, on one of the long walks she takes during the manic episodes that are brought on by her bipolar disorder. Over the course of 10 miles, maybe longer, Nest talks and Q listens. Q gets tired, hungry, and sore, but Nest keeps walking, and Q keeps listening. Along the way, Nest reveals her past, including her family life and, most important, her relationship with her father. Her "Chimaera," as she calls her disorder, occasionally takes over, making her forget herself. But Nest continues on and includes Q in her experience. Gradually, with his help, the painful, exhausting revelations surface as Nest faces her issues. Nest's narration is conveyed in a stream-of-consciousness style that reflects her mania with jarring immediacy. Downes expertly breaks up Nest's thoughts by interjecting Q's internal monologue, weaving the two voices into a brilliant story arc. As readers discover more about the facts of Nest's tumultuous life, her narration slowly becomes more coherent. This is a dark, affecting tale about the mind of a bipolar adolescent attempting to run from her own thoughts, and her boyfriend, who listens, learns, and loves her throughout everything.
VERDICT Many readers will connect with this raw, powerful portrait of a young person living with mental illness. Recommended for most YA collections.

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