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Sunday, March 24, 2019

7th MMGM: Far Away by Lisa Graff (review)

Welcome to Day 18 of the 7th Annual March MG Madness! Click here to see the full schedule and links to other days.

Far Away 
by Lisa Graff 
March 19, 2019 

A book about life, loss, and the secrets families keep, reminiscent of Sharon Creech’s Walk Two Moons, by National Book Award nominee Lisa Graff. 

CJ lives and travels with her Aunt Nic, a famous psychic medium who tours the country communicating with her audience’s deceased loved ones at sold-out theaters. Together, they give people closure and forgiveness, and pass important messages on from the Spirit world. While CJ doesn’t have her aunt’s same ability to talk to the dead, she enjoys playing a crucial role in connecting others with their dearly departed. After all, she knows firsthand what it’s like to lose someone she loves—the only way she can talk to her mom, who died hours after CJ was born, is through Aunt Nic. 

But when a magician bent on proving that Aunt Nic is a fraud shows up at their shows, CJ learns an impossible truth—that her mother is actually still very much alive. Now CJ no longer knows who to trust. As she learns more unsettling family secrets, CJ must grapple with the lies she’s been told and the lies she’s helped perpetuate. And in the end, she must decide how to reconcile what it means to find her true family and home—and what it means to forgive. 

A poignant, heartfelt novel that explores the lengths we go to protect those we love—and how that impulse can often lead us down difficult roads. 

CJ Ames travels across the country with her psychic medium Aunt Nic, who performs for large audiences, contacting the Spirit world. And more importantly, Aunt Nic uses her gift to contact CJ’s mom, who died the day CJ was born. It’s an exciting life...but when a producer is bent on revealing Aunt Nic to be a fraud, CJ finds herself following Spirit Signs, which lead her to an astonishing truth: her mom is very much alive. For every truth uncovered, CJ is forced to face some hard questions and figure out what family and forgiveness really mean. 

Lisa Graff’s Far Away is a quietly profound and achingly heartfelt middle-grade. Graff takes readers on an unforgettable journey with a plucky, irresistible heroine, lovely storytelling, amusing wit, and refreshing honesty. 

CJ’s unconventional and quirky childhood, traveling across the US in a tour bus with a psychic aunt, will captivate young readers, while her deeply felt emotional journey is so relatable. Graff deftly explores topics like grief, anxiety, family, and love with a great deal of depth and unabashed honesty. Charming, wise beyond her years CJ is, of course, the heart of Far Away, and readers are going to just love her. So full of clever wit, earnest determination, and an admirable sense of right and wrong, CJ is wonderfully endearing. 

Part road trip adventure, part mystery, and part coming of age story, Far Away is an engaging, thoughtful book that readers will find immensely moving. 

Lisa Graff is the critically acclaimed and award-winning author of the National Book Award nominee A Tangle of Knots, as well as Lost in the Sun, Absolutely Almost, Double Dog Dare, Umbrella Summer, The Life and Crimes of Bernetta Wallflower, The Thing About Georgie and Sophie Simon Solves Them All. Originally from California, she lived for many years in New York City and now makes her home just outside of Philadelphia. 

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