Long Distance by Whitney Gardner is a fun science fiction graphic novel with a great plot twist. In addition, it addresses the loneliness of moving and how hard it can be to make new friends.
It’s a great read for tweens which is why I chose Long Distance for my kid’s graphic novel online book club in 2023. It was fun to discuss all of the clues in the book that foreshadowed the plot twist – ones we caught and ones we missed until we looked back.
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Genre: Science Fiction
Length: 320 pages
First Published: 2021
Publisher’s Description: Long Distance
“Vega’s summer vacation is not going well.
When her parents decide it’s time to pack up and leave her hometown of Portland, Oregon, behind for boring Seattle, Washington, Vega is more than upset—she’s downright miserable. Forced to leave her one and only best friend, Halley, behind, Vega is convinced she’ll never make another friend again.
To help her settle into her new life in Seattle, her parents send Vega off to summer camp to make new friends. Except Vega is determined to get her old life back. But when her cellphone unexpectedly calls it quits and things at camp start getting stranger and stranger, Vega has no choice but to team up with her bunkmates to figure out what’s going on!”
My Goodreads Review
Vega is miserable now that her family has moved from her hometown of Portland, Oregon to Seattle, Washington. She left her best friend and hasn’t made any friends in the new city. In an attempt to help her meet new people, her dads send her to a summer camp. But something about this camp doesn’t seem right which means Vega must team up with the other campers to figure out what is going on.
I enjoyed this fun twist in a middle school friendship book. I didn’t see the plot twist coming, though there were plenty of clues. Of course, all of these clues are a great opportunity to discuss foreshadowing in a story as you read. The illustrations are simple but the book had plenty of unique layouts and design techniques to discuss in my online graphic novel book club.
This book also presents LGBTQ relationships in a positive light as the main character has two dads. The characters also represent a diverse range of races.
Overall, this was a fun read for the tween years and a relatable look at the difficulty of moving and making new friends.
My Rating: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
Long Distance: Discussion Questions for Your Homeschool Study
1. A lot of science facts were sprinkled throughout this story (See pp. 17, 61, 80, and more). How did the facts relate to the story? Did you learn anything new?
2. What clues did you notice that something wasn’t right at this summer camp?
3. Did the final twist about the location of the camp surprise? Did you like the twist? Was the rest of the ending satisfying as the story wrapped up back on Earth?
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