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Far from the Tree
Cover of Far from the Tree
Far from the Tree
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National Book Award Winner, PEN America Award Winner, and New York Times Bestseller!

Perfect for fans of This Is Us, Robin Benway's beautiful interweaving story of three very different teenagers connected by blood explores the meaning of family in all its forms—how to find it, how to keep it, and how to love it.

Being the middle child has its ups and downs.

But for Grace, an only child who was adopted at birth, discovering that she is a middle child is a different ride altogether. After putting her own baby up for adoption, she goes looking for her biological family, including—

Maya, her loudmouthed younger bio sister, who has a lot to say about their newfound family ties. Having grown up the snarky brunette in a house full of chipper redheads, she's quick to search for traces of herself among these not-quite-strangers. And when her adopted family's long-buried problems begin to explode to the surface, Maya can't help but wonder where exactly it is that she belongs.

And Joaquin, their stoic older bio brother, who has no interest in bonding over their shared biological mother. After seventeen years in the foster care system, he's learned that there are no heroes, and secrets and fears are best kept close to the vest, where they can't hurt anyone but him.

Don't miss this moving novel that addresses such important topics as adoption, teen pregnancy, and foster care.

National Book Award Winner, PEN America Award Winner, and New York Times Bestseller!

Perfect for fans of This Is Us, Robin Benway's beautiful interweaving story of three very different teenagers connected by blood explores the meaning of family in all its forms—how to find it, how to keep it, and how to love it.

Being the middle child has its ups and downs.

But for Grace, an only child who was adopted at birth, discovering that she is a middle child is a different ride altogether. After putting her own baby up for adoption, she goes looking for her biological family, including—

Maya, her loudmouthed younger bio sister, who has a lot to say about their newfound family ties. Having grown up the snarky brunette in a house full of chipper redheads, she's quick to search for traces of herself among these not-quite-strangers. And when her adopted family's long-buried problems begin to explode to the surface, Maya can't help but wonder where exactly it is that she belongs.

And Joaquin, their stoic older bio brother, who has no interest in bonding over their shared biological mother. After seventeen years in the foster care system, he's learned that there are no heroes, and secrets and fears are best kept close to the vest, where they can't hurt anyone but him.

Don't miss this moving novel that addresses such important topics as adoption, teen pregnancy, and foster care.

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Awards-
About the Author-
  • Robin Benway is a National Book Award-winning and New York Times-bestselling author of six novels for young adults, including Audrey, Wait!, the AKA series, and Emmy & Oliver. Her books have received numerous awards and recognition, including the PEN America Literary Award, the Blue Ribbon Award from the Bulletin for the Center of Children's Books, ALA's Best Books for Young Adults, and ALA's Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults. In addition, her novels have received starred reviews from Kirkus, Booklist, and Publishers Weekly and have been published in more than twenty countries. Her book Far from the Tree won the 2017 National Book Award for Young People's Literature and the 2018 PEN America Award and was named one of the best books of the year by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, NPR, PBS, Entertainment Weekly, and the Boston Globe.

    Robin grew up in Orange County, California, attended NYU, where she was the 1997 recipient of the Seth Barkas Prize for Creative Writing, and is a graduate of UCLA. She currently lives in Los Angeles.

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from August 7, 2017
    In an equally heartwarming and heart-wrenching story, three siblings separated in infancy find each other as teens. Grace, who has always known she was adopted, first learns of her brother, Joaquin, and sister, Maya, while unsuccessfully searching for her birth mother during a tumultuous junior year. Her open-minded adoptive parents support a reunion, and the siblings’ initial meeting is a success. During subsequent visits, they discover the things they have in common, as well as some painful secrets. Joaquin’s childhood has not been as happy as Grace’s has been, and his deep-rooted fears are affecting his current relationships. Maya’s home life has become chaotic due to fights and alcohol abuse, and Grace knows firsthand how difficult it is to put a baby up for adoption. Writing in a shifting third-person narrative that is both nonjudgmental and deeply empathetic, Benway (Emmy & Oliver) delves into the souls of these characters as they wrestle to overcome feelings of inadequacy, abandonment, and betrayal, gradually coming to understand themselves and each other. Ages 13–up. Agent: Lisa Grubka, Fletcher & Company.

  • AudioFile Magazine Narrator Julia Whelan animates the three characters in this engrossing 2017 YA National Book Award winner. Whelan shows teen Grace's torment when she puts her child up for adoption and the heartbreak that motivates her to find out about her own adoption. Soon Grace builds bonds with Maya and Joaquin, siblings who were given up by the same birth mother. Maya has been adopted by loving parents but is breaking up with her lover, Claire, as her adoptive parents separate. Whelan's portrait of Joaquin, who has spent most of his life in foster homes, is the most complex. He distrusts himself and questions positive relationships. Resolution for him is particularly heartfelt and joyful. Whelan poignantly animates the pain of each character and the comfort found in their reunion. S.W. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award � AudioFile 2017, Portland, Maine
  • School Library Journal

    September 1, 2017

    Gr 8 Up-Only child Grace was adopted at birth; when she finds herself placing her own daughter up for adoption, she begins searching for the bio family she's never known. She quickly discovers that she is a middle child, sandwiched between loudmouth younger sister Maya and older brother Joaquin, who has spent nearly his entire life in the foster care system. As Grace struggles to move forward from the loss of her daughter, she begins to bond with her siblings who have hardships of their own. Maya's adoptive family is not as picture-perfect as they seem, and Joaquin is on the cusp of something wonderful but is afraid it could all end in disaster. The siblings find themselves turning to one another and learning that family comes in many forms. Benway has created three unique and endearing characters who have experienced adoption in very different ways. Grace's story will pull at heartstrings, while Maya is relatable as a teen struggling with her relationships with her family and girlfriend Claire. Joaquin is scared and rough around the edges. With a well-imagined cast of secondary characters who add angst, humor, and depth, Benway adeptly leads readers through a tale of love, loss, and self-discovery. Expect to cry real tears at this one. VERDICT Well-written and accessible, this is a must-purchase for all YA collections.-Erica Deb, Matawan Aberdeen Public Library, NJ

    Copyright 2017 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Kirkus

    Starred review from August 15, 2017
    Placing her daughter for adoption left a hole in Grace's heart; her adoptive parents can't fill it, and her birth mother's unreachable--then Grace learns she has siblings. Maya, 15, a year younger than Grace, was adopted by wealthy parents 13 months before their biological daughter, Lauren, arrived. Joaquin, nearly 18, a survivor of 17 failed foster-care placements and one failed adoption, is troubled when his current foster parents express a wish to adopt him. Grace reaches out, and the siblings soon bond. All--Maya especially, standing out in a family of redheads--are grateful to meet others with dark hair (only Joaquin identifies not as white but Latino) and weird food preferences (French fries with mayo). Still, each keeps secrets. Maya discusses her girlfriend but not her mother's secret drinking; Joaquin edits out his failed adoption; Grace, her pregnancy and daughter's birth. It hurts that her siblings have zero interest in tracking down the mom who gave them away, yet Grace persists. Chapters alternate through their third-person perspectives, straightforward structure and syntax delivering accessibility without sacrificing nuance or complexity. Family issues are neither airbrushed nor oversimplified (as the ambiguous title suggests). These are multifaceted characters, shaped by upbringing as well as their genes, in complicated families. Absent birthparents matter, as do bio siblings: when their parents separate, Lauren fears Maya will abandon her for her "real" siblings. From the first page to the last, this compassionate, funny, moving, compulsively readable novel about what makes a family gets it right. (Fiction. 13-18)

    COPYRIGHT(2017) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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