Far from the Tree
by Benway, Robin






Feeling incomplete as an adopted child after placing her own baby up for adoption, teen Grace tracks down her biological siblings and finds herself struggling with the dynamics of being a middle child between an embittered older brother and an outspoken younger sister. 60,000 first printing. Simultaneous eBook.





Benway's latest is the engrossing multi-POV story of Grace, Maya, and Joaquin. Instead of dancing the night away at Homecoming, Grace is instead in the hospital, in labor with the daughter she's giving up for adoption. This life-changing moment leads her to find her biological siblings, Maya and Joaquin, and discover what contributed to their mother's decision to give them up for adoption. Maya, the youngest, was adopted into a wealthy family, but her mother's alcoholism creates tension. The eldest, Joaquin, has been in one foster home after another. At 18, he's finally found a family, but his misapprehensions about relationships jeopardize his acceptance of their love and desire to finalize an adoption. Benway plumbs emotionally weighty material with grace and some beautiful moments of self-realization, particularly when it comes to Joaquin. While some readers might wish for a deeper exploration of the three siblings' Mexican heritage and its disconnect from their adoptive families, the accessible writing and otherwise strong characterizations add to the story's appeal. Hand to fans of Sarah Dessen and Morgan Matson. Copyright 2017 Booklist Reviews.





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 Kirkus 2017 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.






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