This weekend I spent a portion of time curled up on my couch totally engrossed with Robin Benway's Far From the Tree. It is a fantastic young adult novel that I could hardly put down.
Benway's novel is told by three teens: Grace, Maya and Joachim. Grace and Maya were adopted as infants, but Joachim has spent his entire life in the foster care system. As the story begins, these three find out they are biological siblings and meet each other for the first time.
As they develop a relationship with each other, they notice a few commonalities they have, intrigued by what happened with their birth mother and the possibility of finding her.
In addition to the new relationship they are building, each of the teens is dealing with a lot of their own "stuff."
Grace has great parents, a typical high school experience, except that she just gave up the baby she had for adoption. Her boyfriend and his family are blaming her for the pregnancy and going back to school hasn't been easy.
Maya has everything money can buy. But her family isn't happy, and she doesn't ever feel like she quite fits in with the house full of tall, lanky redheads in comparison to her stocky build and dark hair.
Joaquim is the one who has had it the worst. He has never been adopted, and has a lot of issues to deal with. Even though the foster family he is with right now wants to adopt him, Joaquim can't quite believe that he deserves anything good to happen to him.
Joaquim is the character who nearly broke my heart. Although the girls' stories were engaging and I cared about all three kids, it was Joaquim who I really wanted to find happiness.
I loved so much about this book: how the problems each teenager struggled with were somehow connected to their past and their siblings, a little suspense as the kids tried to find their mom, fantastic secondary characters, and a resolution that was satisfying, yet still left me wanting a little more.
I've got nothing but praise for Far From The Tree and was sad to see the last page turn on this novel.