Far from You

Far from You

4.5 60
by Lisa Schroeder

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Lost and alone...down the rabbit hole.

Years have passed since Alice lost her mother to cancer, but time hasn't quite healed the wound. Alice copes the best she can by writing her music, losing herself in her love for her boyfriend, and distancing herself from her father and his new wife.

But when a deadly snowstorm traps Alice with her stepmother… See more details below


Lost and alone...down the rabbit hole.

Years have passed since Alice lost her mother to cancer, but time hasn't quite healed the wound. Alice copes the best she can by writing her music, losing herself in her love for her boyfriend, and distancing herself from her father and his new wife.

But when a deadly snowstorm traps Alice with her stepmother and newborn half sister, she'll face issues she's been avoiding for too long. As Alice looks to the heavens for guidance, she discovers something wonderful.

Perhaps she's not so alone after all....

Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
Genuine emotion balances unremarkable verse in this tale of healing. Alice is bitter over her mother's death from cancer years ago and her father's ongoing emotional distance. A stepmother and newborn half sister render Alice both scornful and jealous. Soon she's estranged from church and also from her best friend, who finds Ali's song lyrics too gloomy. Readers may simultaneously sympathize with Alice's ceaseless grief and wish she could do more than whimper about it, but nothing shifts until the family (minus dad) is stranded in the snow. Four days in a snowbound car, first with her stepmother and then alone with tiny baby Ivy, slowly reopen Ali's heart. The first-person verse is sometimes quite plain ("After church / we went out / for doughnuts / and coffee"), sometimes cliched and heavy-handed like a real teen diary ("Like the North Star, / ever present in the sky, / regret shines brightly / in my soul"). Despite the sense that Schroeder leans too heavily on line breaks for drama, the accessibility and heartache will attract many readers. (Fiction. YA)

Product Details

Simon Pulse
Publication date:
Sold by:
Sales rank:
HL640L (what's this?)
File size:
164 KB
Age Range:
14 Years

Read an Excerpt

here she comes

Muffled voices

outside my door

that October morning

woke me

and took me

from a peaceful place

to one I'd come

to hate.

When one of them

stepped into my room,

the hallway light

landed on my

closed eyelids,

urging them

to open

like a hand

pulling on a


"It's time," Dad said.

I didn't open my eyes.

I didn't move.

I didn't speak.

"Ali, you awake?"

I gave a little grunt.

The event

wasn't worth

wasting breath on.

"We'll call you later.

When she's here."


"I love you," he said

quickly and quietly.

It's pretty sad

when you have to

think about it

before you say it.

just breathe

The clock read

4:13 a.m.

My dog, Cobain,

slept at the foot

of my bed.

I changed directions

and curled up

next to his warm body,

feeling the rhythm

of his breathing.

I stroked his golden fur,

and my heartbeats

s o f t e n e d.

He breathed.

I breathed.

Soon my breaths

were slow and steady,

in sync with his.


My oxygen tank.

He breathed.

I breathed.

The garage door

rumbled open

beneath me.

They were gone.

Gone until

they'd come back

with her.

Then there'd be me.

He breathed.

I breathed.

They knew her name.

But they wouldn't tell me.

It'll be a surprise, Victoria had said,

like a surprise is a good thing.

My stepmom.


She reminded me

of a chameleon lizard,

with her annoying habit

of curling her tongue up

just slightly,

and touching her top lip,

when she was


A chameleon.

One minute sweet as chocolate cake.

The next, sour and possessive,

like an old banker.

Once upon a time

he and I were close.


We'd cook together,

watch basketball together,

and make up silly jingles together,

since advertising

is his line of work.

Things changed.

Victoria moved in.

He changed.

It's like he tried

to move on

to greener pastures,

but the tractor in the barn,

once adored,

became a nuisance

and kept him connected

to the painful past.

I squeezed in closer

to Cobain.

He breathed.

I breathed.

I could see Dad

holding his new

baby girl.



Totally in love.

He'd breathe.

She'd breathe.

Then there'd be me.

the short version

Mom got cancer.

Cancer sucks.

She died.

Dad remarried.

The end.

our time is now

After a while

I got up,


and put on my favorite jeans,

a white shirt,

my black jacket,

and my combat boots.

I grabbed my battered,


guitar case

and headed outside.

The sunlight streamed

through the tree in our front yard,

lighting up the yellow leaves,

creating a brilliant

golden statue

that moved magically

when the breeze blew.


I love fall.

Fall in Seattle.

The season of

warm colors.

I thought about calling Blaze,

to see if I could talk him into going,

but he likes church

about as much

as the queen likes profanity.

It's the one thing

between us

that feels like

a tiny splinter

in your foot.

Painful and annoying,

but difficult to remove.

Blaze and I met

at a concert

last spring.

Our eyes locked

just as Mudhoney

took the stage,

and it was like a rocket

blasting off

into space.

I felt heat

and my body trembled

and forces

beyond my control

pulled me

to him

as the music ripped

through our bodies.

I didn't know his name.

He didn't know mine.

And yet,

it was like

we'd known each other


My best friend, Claire,

was with me,

and she kept trying

to pull me away,

like she was afraid

for my life.

Silly girl.

Nothing to worry about.

If anything,

he sparked

a fire

inside of me,

making me want

to live


the peace I need

I pulled up in my old Nova.

Claire got in

wearing a long, flowing purple skirt

and a silky, smooth black blouse.

She makes

all of her own



is her


I think she

should be a singer.

She's the voice

to the music we make

at church.

Like hot cocoa

and a soft blanket

and fuzzy slippers,

warming you up

top to bottom.

Raspy and sweet

all at the

same time.

I used to envy her,

but then I decided

to just be thankful

for making

incredible music


My music

was complete

because of Claire.

She got in

and threw a CD

in my lap.

"Your turn to listen."

The church we go to,

Center for Spiritual Living,

makes CDs

of the sermons

and the music.

After I backed out,

I looked at Claire,

but my smile

didn't want to come out

and play.

"What's wrong?" she asked.

She knows me

like a druggie knows

his best vein.

"They went to the hospital.

Early this morning."

She gave a nod

of understanding.

I drove

in silence.

That is,

until she reached over

and popped the CD in the player

Blaze had installed for my birthday.

We listened to her sing

the words:

Pain in your heart.
You're playing the part
of a human in need.
You beg and you plead
Wash it away.
Wash it away.
Give me the peace,
the peace I need.

I wrote that song.

Funny how

time goes on,

things change,

and yet,

some things stay

exactly the same.

Copyright © 2009 by Lisa Schroeder

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