Far from the Tree Book Review

Goodreads Summary: 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. 

Thoughts: Grace is a teenage mother who selected a nice family for her daughter and opted for an open adoption. Maya is a lesbian teenager who has been adopted by a couple who has another daughter. Joaquin is the eldest of the three who has gone from foster home to foster home and is now at a home in which the parents wish to adopt him. They all come together because Grace decides to search for her siblings after giving up her daughter and wants to find their birth mother.

There were so many things that I really enjoyed about this book from the plot line down to each individual character. I really enjoyed how this book discusses many topics from adoption, foster care, teenage pregnancy, and more.

I love how they don’t shy away from any of the emotions that come with some of these topics and you get to see each of the characters hit a breaking point. You get to see Grace have strong feelings about her parent’s choice to give up her baby. You see both Maya and Joaquin struggle with allowing anyone to love them, and you see Joaquin push away others in fear of himself.

I liked how there was one plot line that brought them all together but you also got a story for each individual character. I like how each was introduced at first without the character’s voice so you weren’t so sure who was narrating the story. We had a diverse range of characters which really added to the plot as they interacted with each other and tried to figure out how they fit into each other’s lives. I also like how these characters are so different from each other but they have similar tendencies.

I recommend this to those of you who enjoy Young Adult novels or those who are looking for a quick emotional read.

You can find this book at Barnes and Noble or look for it at your local library.

Sanctuary Somewhere Book Review

Goodreads Summary: Seventeen-year-old Osmel dreams of being a meteorologist. His world is shattered when he finds out he is undocumented. Osmel fears his dreams for college and career are now impossible. Then, ICE begins raiding the orchards his family works in. Will Osmel and his family ever find safety and peace in the place they call home?

Thoughts: I stumbled upon this book at the library and since it was prose I figured I’d read it since it would be a quick read. I’m so glad that I decided to read it.

Sometimes books written in prose confuse me and the story gets lost but not this one. I love how the poems just flow into each other and how smooth the transitions are. The style of writing for this book allows you to feel for the characters as they struggle through day to day things.

I love the plot of the story and how complex Osmel’s identity is after he finds out hes undocumented. I think his feelings about it all are so real and raw which makes the story beautiful. I’m so glad they explore the complexity behind his feelings.

I recommend this to those of you who enjoy poetry or young adult books.

You can get this book at Barnes and Noble or look for it at your local library.

The Afterlife of Holly Chase Book Review

Summary: (borrowed from Barnes and Noble) On Christmas Eve five years ago, seventeen-year-old Holly Chase was visited by three Ghosts who showed her how selfish and spoiled she’d become. They tried to convince her to mend her ways. She didn’t. And then she died.

Now she’s stuck working for the top-secret company Project Scrooge—as their latest Ghost of Christmas Past. So far, Holly’s afterlife has been miserable. But this year’s Scrooge is different. This year’s Scrooge might change everything…

Thoughts: I got this book because my December TBR had no holiday books and this one was on display at my local library. I saw that it was a retelling of a Christmas Carol which I have never read so I was a bit worried about that. I’m so glad that I decided to read it because it was such a cute Christmas story.

I loved the romance aspect of this story and how Holly was trying to fix the scrooge. I loved how Ethan’s past mirrored Holly’s and how they bonded over small things. I liked watching as they both grew as people and as they changed in the readers eyes as well.

The twist at the end was so unexpected and was something that I never saw coming. I was like wow how did they do that but was also kind of sad because I was rooting for the original plot I thought was happening. I loved the way they shifted everything and how they made sense of things.

I recommend this to those of you who enjoyed A Christmas Carol and those of you who enjoy romance.

You can get this book at Barnes and Noble or look for it at your local library.

Elanor & Park Book Review

4 out of 5 Stars

Summary: This book tells the story of two teenagers who fall in love under unlikely circumstances. Elanor is a 16-year old girl who endures abuse from her step-father and then goes to school only to be bullied there as well. Park is a 16-year old Korean-American boy whose family has high expectations of him and has friends in the popular group. These two couldn’t be more different from each other but they find commonalities and find how to make things work against the odds. That is, until there is no way around the inevitable and they are taken from each other.

Thoughts: This book was part of a book club online that I decided to join and then I won a copy of it in a giveaway so I was happy to get a chance to read it. I read Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell in the past so I was sure this book was something I would enjoy too. I was right, any book that can make me tear up is one that I find successful.

From the start when Park sees Elanor on that school bus you are aware that something will happen between them and you are hoping that it goes well. I think despite the things against them even you as the reader knowing that it won’t work you want to put those thoughts out of your mind.

Something I really enjoyed about this book was that it was told through both Elanor and Park’s perspectives. I think that it really made you feel for both of these characters and made it easy to get through the book. I really enjoyed hearing Park’s thoughts on everything that was happening and then hearing Elanor since at times they were thinking similar things but then other times it was completely different.

Something else that I enjoyed reading in this was getting to see not only their relationship with each other but also their relationship with their families. I liked watching how different each of their relationships was with their families and how different their parental figures responded when angry with them.

I recommend this to anyone who wants a cute love story between teenagers that defies all odds. I think anyone who has enjoyed any of Rainbow Rowell’s works will enjoy this book.

You can purchase this on Amazon or look for it at your local library.