Review of A Long Way from Home

A Long Way from Home A Long Way from Home
by Laura Schaefer
Intermediate, Middle School    Carolrhoda    280 pp.
10/22    9781728416700    $18.99
e-book ed.  9781728468464    $9.99

At the start of this thought-provoking sci-fi novel, Abby, twelve, is unhappy and pessimistic: she misses her old life in Pennsylvania (her family has moved to Florida’s Space Coast for her physicist mom’s job) and obsesses about societal and environmental ills. Then she meets Adam and Bix, who tell her they’ve come “from a long distance away” and are on an urgent mission to find Adam’s lost sister, Vanessa; in fact, they’re from the twenty-third century. Adam allows Abby a glimpse of that future, a world of “creation, possibility, exploration, and abundance,” and Abby instantly decides that she wants to live there. She promises to do all she can to help Adam and Bix if they agree to take her with them when they go. The tension of the boys’ quest will keep readers invested (the future isn’t totally perfect; if they don’t find Vanessa ASAP, an alien pathogen will be released into Earth’s population). But Abby’s situation is equally engrossing: should she stay, or should she go? She considers all she’d be leaving behind—friends; family; the community she’s just starting to feel at home in; and, most of all, the chance to make a difference in her own time. The twist at the end may not be the most original, but it allows for a happy ending readers will embrace.

From the January/February 2023 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Martha V. Parravano

Martha V. Parravano is a contributing editor to The Horn Book, Inc., and co-author of the Calling Caldecott blog.

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