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Disclosure: I received a review copy from the publisher in exchange for a honest review.
Far Away by Graff is a heart-warming story about a young girl in search of answers about her mother and the power of belief and determination.
Caraway June ‘CJ’ has never met her mother, but she talks to her all the time. How you may wonder? Well, her aunt is a psychic medium that communicates with spirits. As long as CJ can remember she has always been surrounded by spirits; on the road with her aunt going from place to place doing readings. But then one day her aunt tells her that her mother is leaving this plane and going ‘far away’ and that unless they had a tether, she won’t be able to speak with her mother anymore. With the guidance of spirits, CJ embarked on a mission to find her mother’s tether and along the way she discovered something so shocking that it will change her life forever.
At first glance, Far Away seems like a light paranormal read with ghosts but oddly, there wasn’t anything paranormal about it at all. Far Away was purely a mystery. CJ received clues after clues pointing her in the direction of her mother and as the story progressed CJ not only received the answers she’s been searching for, but she found her mother, literally. The book took an unexpected turn and I didn’t see the twist coming a mile away. I was honestly a little perplexed as the truth was revealed but it turned out a lot better than I expected. I loved that the book ended on a high and happy note.
CJ was a tough as nail tween. I liked that she always had faith and determination in getting what she wanted. But sometimes she made selfish and poor choices that affected others and she didn’t care about the consequences. Speaking of choices, half the things CJ said and did weren’t realistic. I have a nephew who is also twelve-years-old, and I can’t see him doing half the things CJ did. For example, CJ tricked a much older kid into driving her to Bakersfield and convinced him not to call the adults and another time CJ colluded with an adult to ruin her aunt’s career. It was unrealistic, or CJ was just a real good master manipulator. Remember, she’s only twelve.
With that said, overall, I thought Far Away was an enjoyable read. It teaches us to always believe, have faith and determination to do what we want despite what others say. And that no matter what happens, it always does get better in the end and that we’re meant to be exactly where we are at that moment.
I thought this was a sweet book and as CJ got swept away, I was hoping this girl’s journey wouldn’t end in a disaster.
I enjoyed the idea that CJ (12) and her aunt contacted CJ’s mother’s on CJ’s birthday. As a medium, CJ’s aunt had the ability to connect with her and CJ looked forward to celebrating her birthday with her mother. Unfortunately, the day arrives when her mother informs them that she can no longer visit them.
After traveling on the road with her aunt for years doing shows, her aunt decides that this lifestyle is probably not the ideal situation for CJ either and enrolls her in a boarding school. She feels it’s time that CJ has a stable lifestyle. You can just imagine how CJ felt about her current situation now. Her world had suddenly come crashing down.
CJ saw no reason for all of this. Why a boarding school? CJ had heard about tethers and spirits and she felt that her mother just needed a tether to keep her connected to the human world, but where was her mother’s tether?
Well, jump aboard on CJ’s journey as she takes you on a ride with Jax as the two of them set off to find this tether. As Jax learns to drive, CJ tries to find her mother’s connection to the human world. On this journey, these two learn more about themselves and each other, a revelation they didn’t know they’d find.
I love CJ’s “signs” as everything seems to fall into place yet Jax sees these “coincidences” popping up just when they need them. They are a fun pair, sometimes pushing each other just enough to make the trip fun. I started to get nervous as some of the events were being led with emotions but in the end, things worked out. The ending was perfect for this novel.
A great novel with a mystery element, friendship and family ties and an all-around entertaining read. I think many upper elementary or middle school readers will enjoy this novel and the characters within it. 4.5/5 stars
Happy Birthday, CJ. I’m so glad you shared the story of how everything you thought you knew unraveled, starting on your birthday. At first I was impressed by your unusual savvy for handling the business end of your aunt’s shows. What just-turning-12-year-old can navigate cross country with nothing but an atlas? For that matter, how many 12 year olds still know what an atlas is? But your complete disregard for learning other, shall we say more traditional subjects disappointed me. I’m with Jax on this one. You may be able to teach him to drive stick, but he’s got a point.
Anyway, as I read the beginning of your story about how your Aunt Nic was a psychic who spoke to people’s dead relatives, I felt a little uncomfortable. I mean, I don’t believe in all that. But I told myself to just wait for now and see what you believed. You really believed! And it did seem like the universe, you’d call it Spirit, was giving you these weirdly helpful (if sometimes misleading) hints. Sometimes it does seem like something out there, Far Away, might be trying to make a point. Like lights on the highway blinking off and on--they could be my memere waving hello as I drive by--but probably the bulbs are just loose or something.
And you might have just left it at the fluffy chocolate frosting, but I’m glad that your story was more like the messy mango icing. There’s more to the truth than what we might want to see from our own point of view. My own son reminds me of that pretty regularly. I remind him that no one forces us to do anything--we always make choices, whether they’re the ones we wish we had or not.
Am I from Spirit? Nah. I’m just a teacher, a mom, and a reader. Nice to meet you!