Not Whispering

High school librarian's musings on books

One of my favorite YA books:

I loved, loved, loved this book, which won the National Book award. The teen voices are authentic, the search for what it means to be a family is poignant, and the fears and pain of the teen characters are palpable. And when I read that the author was inspired by the first line of Cosmic Love by Florence and the Machine, my day was complete.

Far From The Tree is about family, adoption, race and the foster care system. Sixteen year old Grace was adopted at birth by loving parents. After giving birth to a daughter and putting her up for adoption, "Grace needed to be tethered to someone again," so she asked her parents about her biological mother and found out she has two siblings, 15 year old Maya and 17 year old Joaquin. Told in alternating chapters from the perspectives of the three teens, this moving story unfolds, dealing with teen pregnancy, alcoholism, and abuse in foster care. In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, the author said, "More than anything, I wanted to make sure that if a young person read the book they would feel impacted by it, whether they'd be able to sympathize or empathize with these characters." Mission accomplished!