Far Away

Lisa Graff. Philomel, $16.99 (272p) ISBN 978-1-5247-3859-4
Because her mother allegedly died on the day she was born, and she never knew her father, CJ lives in a tour bus with her Aunt Nic, who works as a psychic medium, reconnecting her devotees with deceased loved ones. CJ likewise benefits from her aunt’s “Gift,” cherishing the moments when her mother talks to her, via Aunt Nic, through the auspices of “Spirit.” On her 12th birthday, CJ is understandably bereft when her mother announces that she will no longer visit, since she’s “being drawn Far Away”; CJ has been told that her mother can only be pulled back to Earth by a “tether,” an item that the dead treasured while alive. Ostensibly guided by Spirit, CJ sets out with Jax, Aunt Nic’s perspicacious teenage employee, to locate her mother’s tether, a quest that involves a jumble of cryptic clues, including message-encoded octopus images and a mushroom sculpture her mother created in high school. Graff (The Great Treehouse War) nimbly crafts a credible novel from the unlikely, shaping layered characters and unforeseen plot twists while exploring issues of truth and illusion—and the emotion-infused miasma that separates the two. A genuinely moving and memorable story. Ages 8–12. Agent: Stephen Barbara, InkWell Management. (Mar.)
Reviewed on : 01/03/2019
Release date: 03/05/2019
Genre: Children's
Compact Disc - 978-0-525-62533-9
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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