Book Review: The Broken Branches

The ice was…heavy, many branches…swept the ground in despair. Others broke underneath the tremendous weight… I look at these trees like people. …Some take [hardship] in stride, bear up, and continue to grow… Others fracture… When I found out the truth about my family…I prayed I wouldn’t shatter into a thousand pieces.

In the young adult book, The Broken Branches, by Becky Villareal, Sarafina Garcia and her classmates have been given an assignment: trace their genealogy and then share some family’s stories with the class. While most of her classmates seem to know each and every member of their large families and can tell tales aplenty, Sarafina has only ever known two family members, Abuelita and Mamá. Abuelita is dead, and Mamá refuses to talk about their family. However, despite her youth, Sarafina understands that although the knowing can be worse than the not knowing, sometimes you need to discover the truth about yourself, no matter the cost.

The Broken Branches is a sweet story about searching for self. The characters are written in such a way that you immediately empathize with them. Mamá is nurturing and protective of her daughter and others in need. Her daughter Sarafina is an engaging, inquisitive, intelligent girl who captures your heart. So much so, that I personally wanted to help her research her family history and lend her support as she unearthed deeply buried family secrets.

And when the truth is finally revealed, Sarafina and Mamá, together, remain resilient. They do not break.

…The trees were covered in ice…. Some of the branches were so weighed down…they swept the ground in despair. Others shattered, leaving bits and pieces on the ground around their roots. But the branches of the trees around our house stood strong…


I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author, Becky Villareal. Opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.

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