Far From The Tree – Robin Benway (13+)

Teen pregnancy plus adoption? I knew that I had to read this book if I had any chance of being able to sell it. I am so glad that I did. Robin Benway has managed to spin an amazing tale of three teenagers who are related but raised in separate families.

Starting with Grace: adopted at birth, she was pregnant at 16, and feeling untethered  after giving her baby up for adoption. Her parents tell her about Maya: (her younger biological sister) who was also adopted at birth by parents who then had a biological child. Maya feels like she doesn’t fit in and is finding her adopted family’s problems are beginning to surface. Finally there is Grace’s older biological brother: Joaquin. Up till now he hasn’t been able to find his permanent family. When he finally does, he rejects them.

Told from the perspective of all three siblings, the story follows them as they discover who they are, where they belong, what what family really means.

Robin has developed Grace, Maya and Joaquin as three very separate and distinct characters. Each has their own personality, but there are also similarities. I enjoyed the juxtaposition of each having their own secret that they are scared will be revealed. Will the three siblings learn to trust each other or will their secrets tear them apart?

I will admit I cried while I was reading this and it has left me thinking about the meaning of family, and who MY family truly is.

Teen pregnancy and adoption are issues not usually tackled and Robin has done it sensitively. It was a joy to read and ended on an uplifting and beautiful note.

I would be happy to recommend this to mature 13+ readers – not because of the content but more for the material tackled.

– Danielle