Book Reviews

Review: A Thousand Miles to Graceland by Kristen Mei Chase

If you’re ready to cry and love a good story about mothers and daughters – pick up A Thousand Miles to Graceland. This story is for all the families who leave a few things unsaid, who have to remind themselves to call, and who think there’s always time. It’s a real emotional one, and it’s so heartfelt. Keep reading this book review for my full thoughts.


Grace Johnson can’t escape the feeling that her life is on autopilot—until her husband announces he’s done with their marriage. Grace has a choice: wallow in humiliation . . . or reluctantly grant her outlandish mother’s seventieth birthday wish with a road trip Graceland. Buckle up, Elvis. We’re on our way.

Now the two are hightailing it from El Paso to Memphis, leaving a trail of sequins, false eyelashes, and difficult memories in their wake. Between spontaneous roadside stops to psychics, wig mishaps, and familiar passive-aggressive zingers, Grace is starting to better understand her Elvis-obsessed mama and their own fragile connection. She may even have another shot at love. Apparently the King really does work in mysterious ways. But after all these years, will it ever be possible for Grace and her mom to heal the hurts of the past?


(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

TW: past mentions of domestic abuse, panic attacks, past mentions of racism

A Thousand Miles to Graceland is one of those books you want to share with your mother or mother figure. It’s a story about bridging the distance, confronting the things we’ve never said, and realizing that time always seems to be slipping away. Grace has a complex relationship with her mother, but a road trip to Graceland is the furthest thing she’d ever want to do. Until she finds out she’s being divorced and suddenly just wants to get away.

But what starts out as an escape turns out to show Grace that the past never stays in the past. That the things we’ve never said always have a way of coming out in the end. And that these conversations, even though they’re hard and painful and scary, end up being the most worthwhile. I instantly was drawn to Grace. I love how in A Thousand Miles to Graceland, Grace has to let go. To wonder, and experience, what it would be like to operate without a plan, just for a moment.

However, my feelings for Grace only got stronger. I resonated so deeply with the conversations between Grace and her mom about the racism they’ve faced. All the double takes and the lingering stares. And how deeply out of place they have felt in the past growing up and surviving in mostly white spaces. Just thinking about it again for this review makes my heart pang.

(Disclaimer: Some of the links below are affiliate links. For more information you can look at the Policy page. If you’re uncomfortable with that, know you can look up the book on any of the sites below to avoid the link)

A Thousand Miles to Graceland is multi-faceted. It discusses abusive parents, the distance between parents and children, and impending loss. If you’re in the mood for a contemporary which will sweep you up with compelling characters, this is for you. Find A Thousand Miles to Graceland on Goodreads, Storygraph, Amazon, Indiebound,, & The Book Depository.


What is a book you’ve given to your parents or a parent figure?

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