Real, powerful, and not just for adopted kids!

Summary:

Grace (16) made the hardest decision of her life: she just gave her baby to a new family. Placing "Peach" up for adoption wasn't easy. She knows, because she is adopted. She still feels connected to her child, and she doesn't know how to feel about the emptiness inside. Missing Peach stirred up her own feelings of wanting to find her biological mother. Her adoptive parents don't know much about Melissa Taylor, but they do know she has two siblings that live nearby. 

Having been an only child for her whole life, Grace is surprised to learn that she is a middle child. First she connects with Maya, her younger sister, who has also been adopted. Maya feels like an outsider, and with because of her mother’s drinking and her parents’ constant fighting, she is angry. Then Grace and Maya send an email to Joaquin, their older brother. He has been through many foster homes. The family who adopted him returned him to foster care because of his tantrums. HIs new foster family wants to adopt him, but he's 17 and isn't sure he is adoptable.  

Finding each other helps the siblings feel connected, but they still feel unworthy of the love their adopted families have given them. They also have different opinions about trying to find Melissa. As they learn more about each other, Maya, Grace, and Joaquin also learn more about themselves and the importance of the families they now have.  


BTSYA / Teen Reader (17):
I absolutely loved reading this book, and found it difficult to put it down. Seeing these different characters with their different stories come together and connect was heartwarming. The author did an amazing job at making the story feel natural and real. The main focus is on Grace, but Maya and Joaquin’s stories were also captivating. It was almost as if I could feel their pain.

I recommend this book to teenagers and older for language and some content. 


Reader Enjoyment Factors:

Realistic and honest (but not always easy), Far from the Tree will steal your heart, fill it with love, and remind you what it means to be family.

Content Awareness Factors:

Drug use and profanity. The main character is a teen mother.


Type of Book:
This is a realistic fiction novel about three teens who grow up in separate adoptive homes but are related and find each other.
Educational Themes:

An excellent choice for family discussion or a book club. For children - not just adopted children - who struggle to share their feelings about fear, self worth, and family struggles, this could be an excellent catalyst.

Reading Level:
5.1
Recommended Age To Read By Yourself:
13 and Up
Recommended Age To Read Together:
12 and Up
Age of child:
Teen STAR Review Team, Be the Star You Are!™ . Reviewer's Age: 17
Purchase Recommendation:
Borrow for sure. If you are in an adoptive family or know someone who struggles with being adopted, buy them this book.

Title Far from the Tree
Author Robin Benway
Publisher HarperTeen, Imprint HarperCollins Publishers © 2017
ISBN 9780062330628
Material Hard Cover
Cost $12.59
Genres Family, Contemporary Fiction, Social Issues
be the star you are Cybils
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