Far From the Tree by Robin Benway


  Far From the Tree by Robin Benway, Harper Collins, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-233062-8

Format:  hardcover

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a starred review) 5

Genre: young adult realistic fiction

What did you like about the book?  I liked everything about this book. The three protagonists, Grace, Maya, and Joaquin, all have distinct voices and are realistic, multi-faceted characters. The three half-siblings meet when they are teenagers, right after Grace gives birth to a baby girl whom she gives up for adoption. Grace is overwhelmed with grief and loss, but she is reluctant to share that part of her story with Maya and Joaquin. Maya and Joaquin have their own secrets, but over time all three draw together and begin to rely on each other. They also have to decide whether to look for their biological mother. Maya and Grace were adopted by stable, loving families, but Joaquin has been in the foster care system since he was very young.  All three experience a wide variety of emotions about their mother, and grapples in his or her own way with the fact that she surrendered them for adoption. The secondary characters, such as Joaquin’s foster parents, Grace’s new friend Rafe, and Maya’s girlfriend Claire, have depth as well. Realistic and uplifting, this book will make readers think about what it means to be a family.

To whom would you recommend this book?  Read Alikes? Recommend to young adult readers who enjoy contemporary fiction. Although written for a somewhat younger audience, See You in the Cosmos by Jack Cheng would be a good recommendation for readers looking for another excellent novel about sibling relationships.

Who should buy this book? High schools and public libraries should purchase this book.

Where would you shelve it ?  Young adult fiction

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes, at the very top.

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Renée Wheeler, Leominster Public Library, Leominster, MA

Date of review: December 20, 2017

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