Summer is here, school is out, and we’re all ready for a fun getaway. The perfect book to kick off the season is Bridget Morrissey‘s A Thousand Miles, a story of two ex-best friends taking a road trip from Illinois to Colorado. It’s been a decade since they last saw each other, but a few days in a car together has all their old feelings bubbling back to the surface. It’s a sweet second-chance romance that’s out today.
Special thanks to the publicists at Penguin Random House and to NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of this book!
Dee Matthews hasn’t seen her childhood best friend, Ben Porter, since they graduated from high school ten years ago. What could have been the start of a romantic relationship ended in a decade of silence… until Ben shows up at Dee’s door, asking her to fulfill a nearly-forgotten promise. They’ll take a two-day trip from Chicago to Denver, just like they did when they were 18. But, in the wake of some personal revelations and the loss of his grandmother, Ben also hopes to rekindle the friendship (or maybe more) that he and Dee once had. Can these former BFFs get it right this time around?
On the surface, A Thousand Miles is comparable to other recent – and popular – contemporary romances like People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry, Every Summer After by Carley Fortune, and A Lot Like Adiós by Alexis Daria. Like those novels, A Thousand Miles looks at two former friends who haven’t spoken in a while… not since they were on the edge of a romantic partnership and then something went sour. It’s a second chance between best friends, and like People, this throws them together in a short vacation across the US. Close quarters provides plenty of time to talk through those old issues… but also a chance for all the feelings to come right back.
Both Dee and Ben are charming and refreshingly real characters. I feel like I could have known them in high school; they couldn’t have been more than two or three years younger than me, based on their musical references. Dee, in particular, has a lot in common with me… apart from her brash and adventurous attitude, at least.
I love how into astrology Dee is, going beyond surface level sun signs and moving deeper into moon signs, rising signs, and the placement of planets in different houses. Astrology is a fun way to understand the nuances of Dee and Ben’s characters, but it’s also something that endears me to her.
The other detail that stands out to me is the prevalence of music. Ben once had a YouTube channel dedicated to album reviews, and he and Dee bonded over their shared love of Paramore. Dee’s mention of their song “Misguided Ghosts” – a deep cut! – was perfect, and her “breakup” from Ben happened sometime after Brand New Eyes in 2009 and before Paramore in 2013. Dee later describes “Mr. Brightside” by The Killers as the “millennial siren song” and, well, she’s not wrong. Never mind that A Thousand Miles shares a title with Vanessa Carlton’s 2002 hit single. The music vibes are strong throughout the book, and I absolutely love it.
Some deeper themes that appear in A Thousand Miles and stand out are discussions of mental health and money issues. Dee grew up poor, and she’s touchy when it comes to money; I can relate. But she’s also faced family issues, and openly talks about how helpful therapy has been for her. Considering the grief and family drama Ben is now going through, he could also benefit from therapy.
The cat, Abe, is another highlight here. I shan’t say too much more, but Abe’s appearance, the love he inspires, and the chaos that ensues are all delightful. As a cat lover myself, any novel with a feline character automatically gets bonus points in my book.
Throughout A Thousand Miles, Ben and Dee’s relationship takes center stage. I love how goofy and lighthearted their conversations usually are. They’re filled with inside jokes and references only the two of them would understand. It makes them feel like two friends who really spent the entirety of their formative years together. While Ben is generally an easy-going, sweet guy who clams up with his emotions get to him, Dee is the opposite: brave, loud, spiky. She can be abrasive at times, yet she’s also so full of life and fun. They play off each other well here, but we get extra charm as their layers are pulled back and they’re put into different situations.
Between chapters, the novel is punctuated with occasional snippets of Dee’s podcast that she co-hosts with her friend, Javi. These seemingly random conversations add extra dimension into Dee’s worldview and her relationship with Name Redacted (aka Ben).
A Thousand Miles is a sweet and subtly emotional book. It highlights a years-long friendship and all the inside jokes and secret worlds that develop therein, shows how small issues can break all that apart, and how two people can grow enough that, in time, they’ll be ready for each other. If you like second-chance romances, friends-to-lovers, and road trips, this is the perfect book to curl up with.
Get the Book
You can buy A Thousand Miles here – it’s available as a paperback, ebook, and audiobook.
Please note that the above link is an Amazon affiliate link and I may earn a commission on any purchases you make.
|A Thousand Miles by Bridget Morrissey|
|Setting||Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Colorado|
|Number of Pages||368|
|Format I Read||ebook (NetGalley)|
|Original Publication Date||June 21, 2022|
After a decade of silence, Dee and Ben reunite for a road trip they once promised to take. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.
Dee Matthews is the cohost of the smash-hit podcast Did I Forget To Tell You?, where she interviews family, friends, and past lovers. Nothing is off limits, except for one man (known on the show only as Name Redacted) who happens to be her high school best friend Ben. During their senior year spring break, Dee and Ben took a road trip to visit Ben’s grandma. They buried a time capsule in her backyard, pledging to return in ten years to open it. Then their friendship fell apart in spectacular fashion. They haven’t spoken to each other since.
Ben Porter’s life since that moment has been unexciting but comfortable, until his grandma reveals a family secret that flips his whole world upside down. Her dying wish is for him to stop doing what is safest and go after what he really wants. He starts by showing up on Dee’s doorstep with every intention of fulfilling their long-ago promise. Despite her reservations, Dee can’t say no. This trip could be her chance to give her listeners the Name Redacted interview they’ve been begging for–and finally put her unresolved feelings for Ben to rest.
As the miles fly by, Dee and Ben’s friendship reignites. But the closer they get to reaching their destination, the more apparent it becomes that their attraction to each other cannot be ignored. Their last adventure ended in disaster, and they’re about to find out if any hope of a future together is in the rear view mirror.
About the Author
Bridget Morrissey lives in Los Angeles, California, but hails from Oak Forest, Illinois. When she’s not writing, she can be found coaching gymnastics or headlining concerts in her living room.
Her upcoming adult novel, A THOUSAND MILES, releases on June 21, 2022, with her next,THAT SUMMER FEELING, following in 2023. Her adult debut, LOVE SCENES, as well as her first two YA novels, WHAT YOU LEFT ME and WHEN THE LIGHT WENT OUT, are all available now.
She is represented by Taylor Haggerty of Root Literary.