ARC BOOK REVIEW: The Ballad of Ami Miles by Kristy Dallas Alley

The Ballad of Ami Miles
Kristy Dallas Alley
Published by: Swoon Reads
Publication date: December 1st 2020
Genres: Contemporary, LGBTQ+, Young Adult

A teen girl on a quest to find her long-lost mother finds herself on a journey of self-discovery in Kristy Dallas Alley’s moving YA debut, The Ballad of Ami Miles.

Raised in isolation at Heavenly Shepherd, her family’s trailer-dealership-turned-survival compound, Ami Miles knows that she was lucky to be born into a place of safety after the old world ended and the chaos began. But when her grandfather brings home a cold-eyed stranger, she realizes that her “destiny” as one of the few females capable of still bearing children isn’t something she’s ready to face.

With the help of one of her aunts, she flees the only life she’s ever known and sets off on a quest to find her long-lost mother (and hopefully a mate of her own choosing). But as she journeys, Ami discovers many new things about the world…and about herself.


Born into a world where bearing children is becoming rarer and rarer her family creates a compound to stay safe and to live by the rule of the Lord. Ami's mother has fled the compound and left Ami behind.  When Ami is 16 her grandfather brings home a stranger who he wants to "mate" with Ami to continue their bloodline.  Worried and scared Ami flees with the help of her Aunts to find her mother.  What she finds is so different from her upbringing its almost a shock to her system.  Ami always believed it was her destiny to marry and produce babies but that isn't the way the community her mother is a part of believes.  They believe in free will and love.  People pair off as they want, create families, and have children if they want. There are also gay couples and mix race couples on the compound something Ami was taught was wrong. 

Ami also meets people her age for the first time and while it is overwhelming she likes that she can play and learn from people her age.  However when she meets Jessie something strange takes over her body that she has never felt before.  Could this be love? 

This is a beautiful coming of age story, where Ami learns not just about herself but about standing up for whats right, learning about love and intolerance. A really well done dystopian story with a slightly different twist than many of the others I've read.  

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Author Bio:

Kristy Dallas Alley is a high school librarian in Memphis, Tennessee, where she lives with her husband, four kids, three cats, and an indeterminate number of fish. She studied creative writing at Rhodes College in another lifetime and holds a Master of Science in Instruction and Curriculum Leadership from the University of Memphis. In an ideal world, she would do nothing but sit on a beach and read every single day of her life, but in reality she’s pretty happy reading on her front porch, neglecting the gardens she enthusiastically plants each spring, and cooking huge meals regardless of the number of people around to eat them. The Ballad of Ami Miles is her debut novel.

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  1. Great review, Heidi! This sounds like a very unique read and compelling overall! Glad you liked it!


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