Far From Here
By: Eden Alson
A 16-year-old religious cult survivor is forced to go live with an uncle and teenaged cousin she’s never met after the cult is burned to the ground during an FBI raid and most of her family members and friends are killed. Brainwashed by the charismatic cult leader into hating all “disbelievers,” the girl plots her escape from her new home so that she can rejoin the others. But when her cousin discovers her plan, instead of busting her, she offers her help.
16-year-old Gracelyn Green has spent her entire life in the extreme and insular world of a religious cult. When the remote compound is raided by the FBI and goes up in flames, nearly all of her fellow cult members, including the charismatic leader and Grace’s older sister, are killed. The few survivors, including Grace and her best friend, Sami, are dispersed to homes and facilities around the country. Grace is taken to New Jersey to live with an uncle and cousin she’s never met. Brainwashed into hating all “disbelievers,” Grace plots her escape, but her sessions with a skillful therapist, reveal cracks in her rigid belief system, especially in regard to Sami, and she finds herself increasingly torn between her loyalty to her former “family” and the scary but life-affirming feelings that her new world has sparked.
“A poignant and affecting exploration of resilience in the face of tragedy, brimming with characters you won’t soon forget. Alson is a writer to watch.”
- Kelly McWilliams, author of Agnes at the End of the World
“Living in a commune of religious fundamentalists, Eden Alson’s protagonist, Gracelyn, is an orphan trying to answer life’s enduring, universal questions: Who am I? Does God exist? What is love? All this with the ticking time bomb of a biblical apocalypse around the corner and FBI agents busting down doors.
Alson writes with a maturity and perception beyond her years as she details the abusive world of a cult and the growing pains of a teen on the brink of life and death, fighting through disillusionment and loss.
The story is sweet and tender at times, then horrifying in a chilling Handmaid’s Tale-ish way.
But the author, still (thankfully) unjaded and optimistic, rewards us with a hopeful message desperately needed in today’s world: Good will overcome Evil, and the savior to rescue our hearts, our souls, is ourselves.”
--Natasha Stoynoff, journalist and co-author of Captive: A Mother’s Crusade to Save Her Daughter from the Terrifying Cult Nxivm
“Eden Alson's Far From Here is a smart, humane, and unforgettable read.”
--Sloane Tanen, author of There’s a Word for That