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.


For other MMGM posts, please visit Greg Pattridge's blog.

23 comments:

  1. You've got me totally intrigued. And I love the psychic aunt. I'll check this out. Thanks. And great seeing you here.

    ReplyDelete
  2. This does sound interesting. I love CJ's name, and her voice sounds great.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Isn't Caraway June a wonderful name? And I agree -- the voice is perfect.

      Delete
  3. I love Lisa Graff, and I love the opening! I am interested in the psychic aunt and the secrets and what C.J. learns about herself.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, you would love this book, Patricia. Thanks for stopping by.

      Delete
  4. Interested to see what secrets she finds out.And I also love her name. Thanks for the review.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I won't spoil it but it's definitely an intriguing premise.

      Delete
  5. I too enjoy Lisa Grff's past novels. You've made this one sound irresistible. Thanks for the enticing review.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I've been hearing about this one and intend to get my hands on it one day soon. It is a great opening paragraph, but the comma error that got past the copy editors did not make me happy. I know. I'm such a grammar curmudgeon. Thanks for the review.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow, Rosi! I didn't even catch that comma error. Which one was it?

      Delete
  7. Interesting.
    thank you for review.
    have a great day

    ReplyDelete
  8. Thanks for the review--I'm intrigued! That's quite an opener.
    I'm pretty leery about books with homeschooled characters, though, as I've seen more bias and stereotypes than honest representations. Should I risk being disappointed? ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Faith, this is mostly a humorous novel so there are some funny bits about CJ's schooling. But her aunt is actually the one who wants her to attend a prestigious boarding school. Have to admit, you might be a little turned off by this.

      Delete
  9. Always looking for a good story about a 12-year old girl... and this looks fun.

    ReplyDelete
  10. What a great post. Sounds like an intriguing story. I have read a couple of other books by this author and will try to find a copy of this one at my local library. Thanks for sharing.
    ~Jess

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Jess. I've read many of her book and she's always entertaining!

      Delete
  11. Ohh, this sounds good! I'm adding it to me wish list :)

    ReplyDelete
  12. Thrilled to see you're posting more MMGM reviews! I'm hit and miss myself lately, but I'll try to stop by here regularly.

    This book sounds really fun, and you have me thoroughly intrigued with your octopus hint! I'm going to look it up. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Suzanne! Ha ha, the octopus hint worked!

      Delete

YAY for comments! I read and appreciate each one and I always try to answer. All opinions welcome. (Note: I've had to enable comment moderation due to excessive spam!)