2017 National Book Award Winner, Young People's Literature

Robin Benway

Far from the Tree

Far From the TreeRobin Benway(HarperTeen / HarperCollinsPublishers)
ISBN: 9780062330628

National Book Foundation: What’s the hardest part about being a writer, and what’s the best part?
Robin Benway: For me, the hardest part of being a writer is getting through the middle part of the book. I always compare it to the middle part of a running a marathon (not that I have ever run a marathon): the momentum from starting has fizzled out, and the adrenaline surge from writing the ending hasn't quite arrived.
The best part is when the characters start doing things that I didn't plan for or expect. That's how I know the book has taken on a life of its own. At that point, I think it’s my job to get out of their way and help to tell their story, rather than dictate it.
Foundation: What’s your favorite bookstore or library?
Benway: I live in Los Angeles and we have so many wonderful indie bookstores that it's hard to choose just one, but my favorite is Vroman's Bookstore in Pasadena. It has everything you would want in a community bookstore: friendly and well-read employees, a huge magazine stand, fantastic events, and a whole wall of staff picks. I've never left without buying something.

judges' citation

Far from the Tree is the poignant story of three young people discovering the complicated ways that families love. Grace, Maya, and Joaquin’s quest to bond as they search for their biological mother resonates across the many definitions of family. In Benway’s able hands, readers feast on a big-hearted and uplifting story about growing up, daring to count on others, and most importantly, having the courage to reveal and embrace our own imperfections

ABOUT THE BOOK (from the publisher)

Being the middle child has its ups and downs.

But for Grace, an only child who was adopted at birth, discovering that she is a middle child is a different ride altogether. After putting her own baby up for adoption, she goes looking for her biological family, including—

Maya, her loudmouthed younger bio sister, who has a lot to say about their newfound family ties. Having grown up the snarky brunette in a house full of chipper redheads, she’s quick to search for traces of herself among these not-quite-strangers. And when her adopted family’s long-buried problems begin to explode to the surface, Maya can’t help but wonder where exactly it is that she belongs.

And Joaquin, their stoic older bio brother, who has no interest in bonding over their shared biological mother. After seventeen years in the foster care system, he’s learned that there are no heroes, and secrets and fears are best kept close to the vest, where they can’t hurt anyone but him.

About the Author

Robin Benway is the acclaimed author of Emmy & Oliver, the Also Known As series, The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May, & June, and Audrey, Wait! Benway’s books have been published in sixteen languages, won international awards, and been bestsellers in several countries. Formerly a bookseller and book publicist, she lives in Los Angeles.


- WEBSITE: robinbenway.com

- TWITTER: @RobinBenway

(Photo credit: Lovato Images)


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