Miles Away from You

by A.B. Rutledge

From debut voice A.B. Rutledge comes a quirky and completely fresh story of young love, loss, and the drastic distances we sometimes have to travel in order to move on, perfect for fans of Adam Silvera and Jandy Nelson. Explores gender nonconformity and the spectrum of sexual preference in an authentic way.

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN-13/ EAN: 9781328852335
  • ISBN-10: 1328852334
  • Pages: 272
  • Publication Date: 03/20/2018
  • Carton Quantity: 24

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About the Book
About the Author
  • About the Book
     From debut voice A.B. Rutledge comes a quirky and completely fresh story of young love, loss, and the drastic distances we sometimes have to travel in order to move on, perfect for fans of Adam Silvera and Jandy Nelson. Explores gender nonconformity and the spectrum of sexual preference in an authentic way. 


    It's been three years since Miles fell for Vivian, a talented and dazzling transgender girl. Eighteen months since a suicide attempt left Vivian on life support. Now Miles isn't sure who he is without her, but knows it’s time to figure out how to say goodbye. 


    He books a solo trip to Iceland but then has a hard time leaving the refuge of his hotel room. After a little push from Oskar, a local who is equal parts endearing and aloof, Miles decides to honor Vivian's life by photographing her treasured Doc Martens standing empty against the surreal landscapes. With each step he takes, Miles finds his heart healing--even as he must accept that Vivian, still in a coma, will never recover. 


    Told through a series of instant messages to Vivian, this quirky and completely fresh novel explores love, loss, and the drastic distances we sometimes have to travel in order to move on.

  • About the Author
  • Excerpts

    chapter one

    Miles Away to Vivian Girl

    April 25 8:49 PM

    This will be my last message to you. I don’t know why I’m still doing this, since I’m basically just talking to myself anyway. I guess I feel like I need to get my story straight. I need to put it all down so that tomorrow I’ll be able to articulately say why exactly I’m dropping out of the case. 

         And that is, well . . . it’s obvious that we’re not going to win. I’m not your husband. We only dated for a year and a half. I have no legal rights to you. 

         And I know, okay, I know that this whole thing goes beyond win or lose. I know it’s a statement. I’m taking a stand for your rights, and the rights of a lot of other people. But, damn, Vivian. I have rights, too. I CANNOT DO THIS ANYMORE. 

         I am not being articulate tonight. Just angry. I need to walk away.

    Miles Away to Vivian Girl

    April 25 8:53 PM

    Why the fuck did you take all those pills, babe?

    Miles Away to Vivian Girl

    April 25 9:03 PM

    So selfish. There. I said it.

    Miles Away to Vivian Girl

    April 25 9:13 PM

    I’m done. I have nothing left to say to you.

    Miles Away to Vivian Girl

    April 29 12:14 AM

    Okay, I know I said I was done, but here I am writing to you again because somehow—despite the coma—you just woke me up. My phone went off at midnight reminding me that it’s the anniversary of the day we first started talking online. It had to be you that set the alarm a long time ago. I even got a new phone last summer. Stupid Cloud must have transferred it over. 

         My heart is racing. I didn’t even know you had the capability to do that to me anymore. Five years, Vivian. Has it really been that long? 

         I remember how happy I was when you found me on DeviantArt and asked if you could use my scribbly cartoon explaining different gender identities in your online magazine. I was thirteen and convinced I’d been “discovered” as a fancy-pants artist. Even after I learned that you were only a couple years older than me and Mixtape Mag wasn’t that big of a deal (well, not at the time, anyway), I still felt like this was something BIG AND IMPORTANT. And I was right. I can’t believe how much Mixtape’s grown over the years. 

         I feel horrible about this: your website is gone. Everything. At first I tried to keep it running, but you’re the one who set it all up. Nothing’s in my name. Your parents sent me a cease and desist almost a year ago. And of course they didn’t bother renewing the domain, so now everything’s lost. Or it will be soon. I contacted the host, and there’s a forty-five-day grace period, but there’s no way the case will make it to court on time. What is even the point anymore? I can’t save you. I can’t save Mixtape. 

         I’m sorry. 

         I’m out.

    Miles Away to Vivian Girl

    May 1 6:15 AM

    It’s been a crap couple of days, no reprieve in sight. Especially after what I just did. I called my lawyer and told him he should go ahead and send the emails to your parents and mine, telling them I’m done with all this lawsuit bullshit. They can keep fighting if they want, but I can’t anymore. I thought about it all night. I haven’t slept. I wandered over to Brian’s house at, like, four a.m., but I couldn’t get him to wake up, so I’m sitting alone in the bed of his truck. I just saw the sun rise. 

         A minute ago, there was this plane. A little lemon-colored crop-duster on its way from the airport to spray pesticides on the field. I imagined for a moment that it was one of those sky-writer planes. I pictured it loop-de-looping as it etched out my deepest, darkest secret in fluffy white clouds for all the world to see. 

         I want my girlfriend to die. 

         I’m an atheist, a pacifist, a vegetarian, and a clingy, pansexual queer. Up until a year ago, a death wish was something I’d never experienced before. I’m the kind of guy who shoos insects out of the house by scooping them up on scraps of junk mail and ushering them out the front door. 

         I once rehydrated a slug. 

         And, yet, here I am. Wishing with all my might that you, an actual human being, would just quit fucking being alive. I’m the selfish one now. But I’m just so tired. Your parents want to pretend the real you never existed, and my parents seem to think that I’m the one who should get to call all the shots. I turned eighteen last month, and you know what I got? My moms marched me over to the courthouse and made me file a lawsuit. They called it a declaration of war. And for what? To give me the power to do what your family won’t: pull the plug. 

         I’ve spent the last year and a half with all this anger. A hatred directed toward your parents who, despite all scientific and ethical reasoning, have elected to keep you on life support. 

         Normally, I seethe. I think about how your family members still call you by your birth name. How, after you were defenseless, they cut off your hormones and your beautiful hair. 

         And underneath it all, normally, there is pity. For the girl I love, who hated her body so much. I don’t know what you were feeling that day. I wish you’d left a note. All I know is that you swallowed a bottle of pills and a bottle of vodka and then all the best parts of you blinked out. 

         You hated your body so much. And now your body is all that is left. 

         I’ve been waiting here for the cycle of negativity to come. I invited Anger and Pity and Seething and Rage to my one-man tailgate party, but I guess Apathy’s the only one who’s going to show up. 

         Soon your parents will check their email and cheer, having officially worn out the enemy before the battle even began. And soon my parents will check their email and know what a huge fucking disappointment I am. 

         And, two hours away from me, in a hospital just outside of St. Louis, a machine will keep you breathing—indefinitely now—while a nurse clips your toenails.

    Miles Away to Vivian Girl

    May 1 9:54 AM

    Well, my phone is blowing up. A lot of people want answers from me right now, and I don’t know what to say to them. I think I’ll turn this thing off and take the long way on my walk home. Let my moms and all the lawyers and reporters catch my voicemail for a while. Later, V.

    Miles Away to Vivian Girl

    May 7 5:23 AM

    You know who I hate right now? Your sister. She texted me the other day to ask when your parents could come get your stuff, and she actually referred to you as her “sibling.” Like she’s trying to be all gender-neutral and PC about it. Too late, bitch. Too. Fucking. Late. 

         So, they came last night. Your mom and dad showed up with a van and a couple of people from their church. I was sitting out on the fen...

  • Reviews
    "A much-needed story about rediscovering identity after loss."--Kirkus 


    "The protagonist’s dealing with his loss and his return to art is a touching journey."--School Library Journal 


    "Quietly striking in both story and setting, Miles’s pursuit of answers and understanding makes for a satisfying read."--Publishers Weekly

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