Author: Graff, Lisa
Twelve-year-old CJ believes her mom is dead and that she can only communicate with her through her aunt, who is a medium, but when CJ finds out that her mother is actually alive, she goes on a journey to find her.
Download a Teacher's Guide
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 4.60
Points: 9.0 Quiz: 501986
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 3-5
Reading Level: 4.30
Points: 14.0 Quiz: 76741
Kirkus Reviews (01/15/19)
School Library Journal (03/01/19)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (A) (00/02/19)
The Hornbook (00/03/19)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 02/01/2019 Not every 12-year-old would enjoy homeschooling herself as she rode cross-country on her Aunt Nic’s televised psychic medium tour, but CJ’s no ordinary kid. She knows how to shift gears on a stick shift truck and how to navigate from Phoenix to Philadelphia, and she knows a lot about how spirit works. But when Aunt Nic, who has always been a medium for CJ to talk to her deceased mother, says her mom is being drawn Far Away and won’t be around anymore, CJ decides to go on a road trip of her own in search of an object—a tether—to bring her mother back to Earth. The story is a genre blend of mystery and realistic family drama, with hints of magic and mysticism. Graff never shies away from difficult topics, and this is as brave as expected. It’s less about spirit than about faith as a larger concept, and it includes a welcome representation of nontraditional family units; the boundaries of trust and its repair when broken; preteen independence; and the permanence of our decisions. - Copyright 2019 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 03/01/2019 Gr 4–7—Although CJ's mom died when she was a baby, CJ has been talking to her for her entire life—through her Aunt Nic, a self-proclaimed medium who tours the country helping grieving folks communicate with their lost loved ones. So when CJ's mom tells her, on her 12th birthday, that she is being drawn "Far Away" and that this is the last time they'll speak, CJ rejects the notion. After all, CJ can drive stick shift, is comfortable operating a camera and a spotlight, and has navigated routes for Aunt Nic's tour through all 48 contiguous states using only an atlas. Why shouldn't she be able to figure out how to bring her mother's spirit back? Yet when CJ and her new friend Jax steal away from the tour to investigate, they find that the truth about CJ's mom, and the spirit that links her to Aunt Nic, is hard to face. CJ's journey is full of exciting twists and turns that force her to reckon with a magician's alliance, low tire pressure, a reality TV producer, and eventually, the painful truths her family is hiding. Graff's story is original, and she takes opportunities to touch on mental health experiences, specifically anxiety. Through it all, CJ is a headstrong but honest and caring protagonist, and Graff imbues CJ's story with many valuable lessons about forgiveness, respect, and honoring a variety of perspectives. VERDICT A compelling coming-of-age tale that delicately approaches the complex topics of psychic mediums and grief.—Abigail Garnett, Brooklyn Public Library - Copyright 2019 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.