A voice from beyond the grave has a familiar ring to it. The spirit world may be closer than you might think.
Graff tells the story of Caraway June “CJ” Ames and her life with itinerant medium Aunt Nic. More than just a psychic, Aunt Nic has grown a reputation for channeling spirits. CJ, 12, relishes Aunt Nic’s gift for one big reason—Aunt Nic can communicate with CJ’s dead mom. Now, on the cusp of setting up a reality TV show and making her career bigger than ever, Aunt Nic reveals that her sister’s spirit—CJ’s mom—has traveled to the Far Away, meaning she is beyond communicating with. That’s when CJ, with the help of always-nervous 16-year-old Jax Delgado, who’s recently joined Aunt Nic’s support team, launches her own adventure to lure her absent mother’s spirit closer to home. Graff (The Great Treehouse War, 2017, etc.) is known for her heartwarming blend of magic and reality. However, as CJ gets closer to the truth, this story feels mean—even cruel. And CJ’s reaction to the truth feels less like vindication than plain vindictiveness. Young readers may respond to the high drama of CJ’s emotional roller coaster, but the high-stakes climax and ultimate resolution turn this adventure into an uncomfortable road trip with people you kinda wish you’d never met.
An unusual misstep for Graff. (Fiction. 8-12)