Title: Far From Home
Author: Anne deGrace
Release Date: November 10, 2009
Publisher: Avon A
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
From the publisher’s website:
After a shocking family betrayal and an unexpected pregnancy, Jo leaves home, college, and everything she knows. Far from home, she finds her way to Cass’s Roadside Cafe, an isolated diner on a mountain pass. Cass’s seems as good a place as any for Jo to get her bearings, as near to nowhere as it is possible to be. Here, Jo finds a rough sort of kindness in diner regulars such as Archie, a long-haul trucker, and Bob, a cop with a secret. But Cass’s is also a way station through which an odd assortment of travelers blow: the water witcher, coming to terms with a talent he’d denied; the old woman who expected to die, and didn’t; and the hippie whose rule of the road is to let the wind blow him where it will. The stories of these strangers open Jo’s eyes to life lessons, and what it really means to follow your heart—and, ultimately, give Jo the strength to face her past, and find the direction she needs to step into her future.
Far From Home is the story of a disparate group of individuals. The only thing that they have in common is that they pass through Cass’s Roadside Cafe, a diner off the side of the highway. Some are regular customers, others are one time visitors. But all of them have a story.
This book had a lot of promise, especially with the foundation of Jo’s story. She was a sympathetic character who dealt with a lot before she chose to leave home. Her story was an intriguing one and her development through other characters was very satisfying to watch. It was interesting to watch Jo come to terms with what had happened to her – I continually wanted more of her story, to get to know Jo more.
However, Far From Home didn’t really come together for me quite like I hoped. There were simply too many characters. Jo and Cass were the foundation, and they were interesting and sympathetic. The author could have left it at that, or added two or three other characters to round out the story. But instead, she made the book like a diner, if that makes sense – characters who drop in, stories of people who stop by the place once and then continue on their journeys. It’s too difficult to keep track of the characters. Additionally, since the author doesn’t have a chance to develop most of the people fully, it’s difficult to connect with many of them. As a result, readers may find their attention wandering during some of these stories and have to fight the urge to skip sections of the book.
Though Far From Home didn’t quite live up to my hopes, Anne deGrace has a lot of potential. I look forward to seeing what she comes up with next.