Monday, March 11, 2019
FAR AWAY by Lisa Graff for Marvelous Middle Grade Monday
Far Away by Lisa Graff (March 5, 2019, Philomel/Penguin Random House, 272 pages, for ages 8 to 12)
Synopsis (from the publisher): CJ’s Aunt Nic is a psychic medium who tours the country speaking to spirits from Far Away, passing on messages from the dearly departed. And CJ knows firsthand how comforting those messages can be — Aunt Nic’s Gift is the only way CJ can talk to her mom, who died just hours after she was born.
So when CJ learns that she won’t be able to speak to her mother anymore, even with Aunt Nic’s help, she’s determined to find a work-around. She sets off on road trip with her new friend Jax to locate the one object that she believes will tether her mother’s spirit back to Earth . . . but what she finds along the way challenges every truth she’s ever known. Ultimately, CJ has to sort out the reality from the lies...
Why I recommend it: A funny, gorgeous and powerful novel about love and loss... and family secrets. CJ, short for Caraway June, is a 12-year-old girl full of spirit and gumption. She's had an unusual life: being homeschooled and raised by her Aunt Nic, a psychic medium, and she gets to travel around the country in a van so her aunt can perform in shows. CJ even teaches new crew member, 16-year-old Jax, how to drive stick! Plus she helps him with his anxiety issues. But despite acting all grown up, CJ is really just a lonely little girl who wishes she still had a mom.
The most intriguing part of this story is the octopus messages that appear and then vanish. What happens is unexpected, to say the least. No spoilers here! Just read it.
Best opening paragraph ever (pg 1): People always try to feel sorry for me when they find out my mom died, but I like to look on the bright side. Like, she never stops me from eating extra cookies, or forces me to study when I don't want to. She's never scolded me for staying up past my bedtime either-- although she usually tells Aunt Nic to scold me later.
Lisa Graff is the celebrated author of A Tangle of Knots, A Clatter of Jars, Absolutely Almost, Lost in the Sun and other beautifully-written middle grade novels. Here's the "All About" page from her official website.
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