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May 2018: Family Drama > Far From the Tree by Robin Benway - 4 stars

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message 1: by Joy D (new)

Joy D | 4649 comments Far from the Tree by Robin Benway - 4 stars

Young adult contemporary fiction about the nature of family. Three teens learn they are siblings, having been given up for adoption by their birth mother. Their lives have taken different paths, and each is dealing with issues, including teenage pregnancy, depression, divorce, parental alcoholism, foster care disappointments, and breakups. The dramatic tension derives from how they cope with these issues. At the beginning of the book they are not aware of each other’s existence, but when one becomes pregnant and gives up her child for adoption, her perspective changes and she begins searching for her birth mother, discovering the siblings along the way.

The book is structured in rotating chapters of each teen’s story. I felt Benway did an excellent job of capturing the personality of each teen, along with their sarcastic sense of humor. We see them bury their pain, struggle to express feelings, desire acceptance, fear rejection, and gradually learn to trust each other and other family members. A thread of hopefulness runs through it. It is an emotional and touching journey.

Since this is a young adult novel, I will detail out the content warnings:
- Liberal use of the f-bomb and other profanity
- The aforementioned teenage pregnancy (with no sexual descriptions)
- The teen mother is slut-shamed
- One of the teens is in a lesbian relationship – limited to kissing
- One of the teens is in a hetero relationship – limited to kissing
- One of the teens has experienced past abuse which is described in the narrative
- There is nothing extremely graphic in any of these descriptions, but I think it would be too intense for children

Recommended to (high school age and up) fans of family drama and those interested in adoption and foster care experiences.

Link to my review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...


message 2: by Jeremiah (new)

Jeremiah Cunningham | 717 comments I love this review. Great description of the style of writing, the story line, and a clear message as to what to expect. Thank you for taking the time to write a review that really is very informative.


message 3: by Joy D (new)

Joy D | 4649 comments Thanks, J.W,!


message 4: by Hebah (new)

Hebah (quietdissident) | 675 comments I read and enjoyed this one this month. That "thread of hopefulness" you mention is exactly what I loved about it.


message 5: by Joy D (new)

Joy D | 4649 comments Hebah wrote: "I read and enjoyed this one this month. That "thread of hopefulness" you mention is exactly what I loved about it."

Glad you enjoyed it, Hebah!


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