FARTHER THAN THE MOON, by Lindsay Lackey, Roaring Brook Press, Sept. 19, 2023, Hardcover, $17.99 9 (ages 10 and up)
A boy dreams of going to space with his disabled brother in Farther Than the Moon, by Lindsay Lackey.
All thirteen-year-old Houston Stewart has ever wanted is to become an astronaut. His dreams feel like they’re finally coming true when he’s accepted to the highly-competitive Junior Astronaut Recruitment Program – if only he could bring his little brother, Robbie, with him.
Ever since their dad left, Houston and Robbie have been inseparable. It’s hard to tell where Houston’s love of space ends and where Robbie’s begins. But Robbie’s cerebral palsy and epilepsy mean he needs medical attention at home, so Houston is forced to take this giant leap for the two of them all on his own.
At camp, Houston is quickly drawn into the orbit of new friends, cosmic adventures, and a long-lost grandfather. But as Houston struggles to meet the program’s rigorous demands, he’s forced to reckon with the truth that Robbie may never visit space like the brothers have always hoped. But Houston is determined to honor Robbie’s dream, even if it seems like an impossible mission. So, like a good astronaut, he dares to make a new plan ― one that shoots for the stars. —Synopsis provided by Roaring Brook Press
Farther Than the Moon is a fabulous story of two brothers — Houston and Robbie — and the bond they share.
The story is told from Houston’s point of view. He has spent his entire life loving, caring for and supporting Robbie. Houston is passionate about space and Robbie shares his excitement. In Houston, author Lindsay Lackey captures the complexities involved with having a sick or disabled sibling. The fears, frustrations, sacrifice, feeling bad when something good happens to you, deep love, support — it’s all there. The relationship between the two is grounded and rings true.
Beyond the sibling relationship, Lackey also focuses on friendship and teamwork within the setting of the Junior Astronaut Recruitment Program. Here, it’s great to see teens in their element while still very much themselves. Houston’s team is full of wonderfully flawed characters who are continually working to better themselves academically and personally.
Farther Than the Moon is a great upper-middle-grade novel that has multiple educational tie-ins as well as being just a good book to read.
*Farther Than the Moon is a Cybils-nominated book. This review is my opinion and not the opinion of the middle-grade fiction panel as a whole.
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