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Sons from Afar

(Tillerman Cycle #6)

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  1,418 ratings  ·  74 reviews
James and Sammy Tillerman are as different as two brothers can be. But when Jimmy seeks out their missing father, Sammy joins in. As they ask questions, and move closer to their quest, it is Sammy who grows more interested--until the questions lead the brothers to a seedy waterfront bar where violence erupts....
"Keeps your interest...Quite suspenseful."
Paperback, 256 pages
Published September 1st 1996 by Simon Pulse (first published 1987)
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Average rating 3.74  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,418 ratings  ·  74 reviews

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Feb 12, 2011 rated it really liked it
I reread this recently, as part of my reread of the entire Tillerman cycle. I don't think I've reread the entire cycle in the stated order in a long time. I've always liked some books of it more than others, and this is one of my lesser favourites, though I'm never entirely sure why. perhaps it's because I really like Dicey, and she barely features in this book. Perhaps it's because I don't entirely agree with the way Sammy and James act on one or two of their trips in search of information. Per ...more
Jenny Leiva
Jun 19, 2018 rated it liked it
Focusing on James and Sammy Tillerman was an interesting change in this book. James had a lot more issues from growing up without a father than I had realized, but I enjoyed seeing the interaction between James and Sammy. Since the more recent books before this had focused on Jeff and Mina, I was a little disappointed that they and Dicey weren’t in it much.
Dec 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: series
Just be comfortable with who you are. That is what I got out of it.
Sarah King
Oct 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This was one of the 3 books in the Tillerman Cycle that I hadn't read as a kid, and once again I really wonder how it might have shaped my perspectives on things if I had read it then. Or maybe now was the right time to read it. What I really loved about this book (like in A Solitary Blue and The Runner) was how compassionately and descriptively Cynthia Voigt is able to describe masculinity and the coming of age for young men. That's not something I have much experience with and I don't think I ...more
Apr 03, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: realistic, ya
Not my favorite of the Tillerman books, plot-wise, but definitely a good one in terms of insight into the Tillerman family dynamic. We get to hear things from the perspectives of James and Sammy in this book, who are more alike than they might seem at first glance. James has changed little from the iteration we meet in previous books, but Sammy has become a more thoughtful and empathetic person (which I suppose makes sense, considering that he's six when we first meet him in Homecoming).

I think
Jan 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
James and Sammy Tillerman couldn’t be more different: brainy James struggles to make friends and tends to overthink things, while athletic Sammy enjoys wide popularity but can be kind of thoughtless. One thing they do have in common is Francis Verriker, the father who abandoned their family before Sammy was even born. Sammy says the only reason he’d want to meet Francis would be to punch him in the face, but James has questions about why he is the way he is, and he wonders if meeting his father ...more
Cindy Dyson Eitelman
Nov 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013-15
Must be read if you've read the first five books in the series and have become enamored of all things Tillerman. It doesn't stand on its own, which was okay by me. It doesn't really start and it doesn't really end, which, also, was okay by me. It's like reading a diary of a good friend who is still alive--you don't want or expect an ending. It's did you get that way? novel.

Cynthia Voigt demonstrates amazing skill at portraying the adolescent mind. You absolutely know these kids and, beca
Elsa K
Feb 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 20, 2009 rated it liked it
The Tillerman saga is great on the whole, but I didn't care for this one as well. The boys just weren't that interesting, neither was their quest to find their father or their struggle to relate to each other. ...more
Aug 20, 2019 rated it it was ok
Not impressed. The first book had a compelling story, well-told. I didn't much care for the way this premise was handled. It just dragged, and the voices of the two main characters didn't ring true for me. I think the series wore out it's welcome. ...more
Sam (Hissing Potatoes)
1.5 stars. So hard to believe this is the same author who wrote the masterpiece that is A Solitary Blue. James is a whiny emo inconsistent uncommunicative teenager, which sounds accurate but Voigt's other teenage characters seemed authentic without being irritating to the max.

There's a literal page about James walking through the mud in rain too emo to use an umbrella or avoid puddles (the narrative SPECIFIES this) letting the rain plaster his hair to his head and fall down his cheeks like tears
May 09, 2019 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Young adults
I liked that this book focused back on the Tillerman family instead of their acquaintances etc like the last few books in the series. It was mainly centered on James and Sammy neither of whom was I the most interested in knowing in-depth initially, but as the book went on I got to appreciate their individual personalities, insecurities and all. I thought the relationship between the two of them was very realistic, especially for adolescent boys. They both admire, envy, recognize, and respect eac ...more
Sep 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
I don't think was a bad addition to the series, by any means...just not a very memorable one. I don't think it was because of the lack of Dicey, because I thoroughly enjoyed both Jeff and Mina's spin-off books. And I do care about James and Sammy, albeit less than Dicey and her friends. I just felt this book didn't hit me as hard as the other ones in the series. Of course, Cynthia Voigt's writing is amazing and I'm so deeply engaged in this family's story that I still enjoyed the book and seeing ...more
Jun 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The sixth book in the Tillerma Cycle focusess on brothers James and Sammy. It looks at family and fathers, and the awkwardness of adolescence, trying to find where you fit and how much of yourself you might owe to absent parental figures. Clevery, it starts with older brother James struggling and coming to terms with it as younger brother Sammy starts struggling with her own version of it, showing their differences in ages, experiences, and characters. As always, Voigt grants young people the re ...more
Rebecca Waring-Crane
Jan 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Growing up in a traditional nuclear family I seldom tried to imagine any other reality. Voigt's Tillerman Cycle was published after my middle- and high-school tenure, when exposure to different family structures would have stretched me, to say the least, in positive ways.

With attention to the details of each character's speech, mannerisms, and interior dialog, Voigt breathes vibrant life into these memorable protagonists. The development of adolescent identity without a parent, or without both,
Steve Ward
Jul 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another excellent book from the Tillerman cycle. This story is about the bond between two teenage brothers which, for anyone who has had brothers, makes for an interesting examination of that relationship. The author once again weaves a great story into the interactions of the boys with the rest of the family and their friends. There are a few more surprises than in her other books of this series which provides for some nice twists and turns. I'd recommend this book to any reader 10 and older. ...more
This one is a three and a half star. I wanted to like it more than I actually did. Maybe it was the switching narratives, or the minimal amount of time spent with the Tillermans as a whole family. It was still a good read, but just didn't hold my interest to the extent the previous books in the series did. Still very very excited for the final book in the series though! ...more
Dec 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I'm pretty sure the only book by Voigt I had previously read is Izzy, Willy-Nilly, which I liked a lot and parts of which have stuck with me for years. This one will do the same, I suspect. And parts of it really called to my lost boyhood. I will read more of Voigt's work. ...more
Apr 22, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I continue to be impressed by Voigt’s ability to develop complex characters. In this 6th book of the Tillerman cycle, the Tillerman sons try to find their long absent father, but in the process learn more about themselves and each other through unflinching eyes.
Jun 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya
Rich, thoughtful, and nuanced.

It would be a five-star read if not for a strange weight-loss minor theme that I could have done without.
Dec 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I love this series and this family. <3
Aug 23, 2020 rated it it was ok
No the strongest in the series. Brothers James and Sammy hunt for their real father and pull together for their family.
The Reading Master2189
Sons from Afar shows how complex family ties are and how they have to stay together.
Apr 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
I really, really like Voigt's writing style. She has a way of capturing the complicated emotions of each character. This book focuses on James and Sammy. Last year I read Homecoming and Dicey's Song and just thought they were okay, but this book was different.

I still am not a big fan of James as a character. He's significantly less annoying in this book than he was in the other two, but that's not saying much. I know that it's a clear indication that James is emotionally stunted and insecure ab
Sep 06, 2009 rated it really liked it
After reading Homecoming and Dicey's Song, I wanted to read more about the Tillerman siblings rather than their friends so I skipped over books 3,4,5 in the series, and started in on 6. Sons from Afar takes us a few years into their lives, where Dicey is away at college and James is a self-proclaimed nerd struggling to find his place in the world. He starts to wondering about their long-lost father, and enlists Sammy to help him out.

It was interesting to see the characters age, but in many ways,
I first read Homecoming around 7th grade, at age 11 or 12, in 1987ish. It's taken a long time to get to the sequels. Back then, Dicey's brother James reminded me so much of my own brother James, it was uncanny. He still resembles this character.

James, miserable at school from trying to fit in and be "normal," starts wondering about his father. He wants to know if he inherited character traits that have doomed him to dorkiness. Sammy doesn't care. Later, they switch. Sammy sees other dads and won
Mar 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
It has been six years since the Tillerman siblings have found a stable home at Gram’s, and Dicey is away at college. Book #6 focuses on James and Sammy highlighting their many differences. James is a studious “dork” unsure of himself, introspective and philosophical. Sammy is outgoing, popular, athletic and frustrated by his brother’s over-analytical personality. When James plans a trip to Cambridge to find out more about their estranged father, Sammy reluctantly agrees to go. The little informa ...more
Bruce Nordstrom
Mar 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-readers
This book is the sixth book in Cynthia Voight's celebrated "Tillerman cycle." This is the second book in the series that I have read, and I enjoyed it very much.

The story revolves around the two Tillerman brothers, James and Sammy, and their attempt to locate their father, who abandoned the family years ago. The search is complicated, difficult--and completely fascinating to read. The search is made more difficult by the fact that boys boys are minors, not old enough to drive, with little money,
Oct 20, 2009 rated it really liked it
I love these Tillermans, and I waited far too long before returning to finish this series. The first three books really amazed me. The fourth was quite good, and the fifth OK. I found this one to be compelling, if a little less heavy on plot. More like the fourth book. I liked watching the boys figure out who they were and come to grips with where they'd come from. I thought that the way the plot resolved itself really fit with the characters in it and didn't seem far fetched. And I always like ...more
Apr 18, 2009 rated it liked it
There was a lot of very beautifully written material in this sixth book of the Tillerman Cycle. The interactions between the brothers James and Sammy were breathtaking, in my opinion, and the tone of these many encounters throughout the narrative was perfect.
The story itself was vastly different from what I expected, but it was definitely a worthwhile addition to the collection of literature about the Tillerman family, and I am glad that Cynthia Voigt wrote it. She is simple amazing in her abi
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Cynthia Voigt is an American author of books for young adults dealing with various topics such as adventure, mystery, racism and child abuse.

Angus and Sadie: the Sequoyah Book Award (given by readers in Oklahoma), 2008
The Katahdin Award, for lifetime achievement, 2003
The Anne V. Zarrow Award, for lifetime achievement, 2003
The Margaret Edwards Award, for a body of work, 1995
Jackaroo: Ratte

Other books in the series

Tillerman Cycle (7 books)
  • Homecoming (Tillerman Cycle, #1)
  • Dicey's Song (Tillerman Cycle, #2)
  • A Solitary Blue (Tillerman Cycle, #3)
  • The Runner (Tillerman Cycle, #4)
  • Come a Stranger (Tillerman Cycle, #5)
  • Seventeen Against the Dealer (Tillerman Cycle, #7)

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