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Far From the Tree

Review

Far From the Tree

Robin Benway is a California native and the author of six novels for young adults. She has received many accolades for her work, and her books have been published in twenty countries. Her 2015 release, EMMY & OLIVER, received excellent feedback from readers and much critical acclaim. Her newest novel, which released in October 2017, is FAR FROM THE TREE. The winner of the 2017 National Book Award for Young People's Literature, Benway’s new release is an emotional novel story about what it means to be family.

"FAR FROM THE TREE is undoubtedly a masterpiece....I was impressed with the quality of writing and distinctness of each character’s voice."

FAR FROM THE TREE follows three unconventional siblings with vastly different upbringings. Maya and Grace were adopted by different families, but Joaquin has been stuck in the foster system his entire childhood. Maya, Grace and Joaquin have no idea that each other exist until Grace’s pregnancy sparks her interest in finding her birth mother, leading her to find Maya and Joaquin. Maya is having trouble with her family, and Joaquin has never had a real family until Maya and Grace. All three siblings have very different opinions and motivations about why they should or shouldn’t find their birth mother. FAR FROM THE TREE tackles numerous issues like this throughout the entire book.

I was surprised by the emotion in FAR FROM THE TREE. It is primarily a novel about family, love and overcoming obstacles. The book is told in alternating points of views of the siblings, and I loved that style. All of their stories were enthralling on their own, but when put together, they were even better. Each sibling also dealt with their issues and grew emotionally by connecting with their siblings. The ending was bittersweet because I did not want to let these characters go, but Benway crafted the perfect end for Maya, Grace and Joaquin.

FAR FROM THE TREE is undoubtedly a masterpiece and is a new favorite of mine. It offers so much emotion and depth to the characters that it is difficult not to connect with them and feel everything that they go through. I was impressed with the quality of writing and distinctness of each character’s voice. The chapters were woven seamlessly together, and no character overpowered the others. This novel is necessary because it depicts teenagers as imperfect, bravely struggling, and emotionally intelligent.

I believe all teens should take the time to read FAR FROM THE TREE. It exposes many issues that some teens face. We all will more empathetic once we are aware of the struggles of Maya, Grace, and Joaquin. Their lives stress what it means to be family and the value of remaining united in the face of adversity. FAR FROM THE TREE is a memorable tale of love and discovery. It is bound to be impactful on anyone who reads it.

Reviewed by Grace P., Teen Board Member on October 4, 2017

Far From the Tree
by Robin Benway

  • Publication Date: October 3, 2017
  • Genres: Family, Fiction, Young Adult 14+
  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: HarperTeen
  • ISBN-10: 0062330624
  • ISBN-13: 9780062330628