November: A Summary, or HOLY CRAP WHAT A MONTH

Hello friends!

It's officially December 1st, which means that as of 12:01am this morning, I've been listening to the Charlie Brown Christmas album nonstop and Hudson's holiday collar is out of storage. It also means that November is over and I'm back home from my travels, doing laundry and mourning the fact that there's no more pumpkin cheesecake left over from Thanksgiving. (Which I MADE FROM SCRATCH, THANK YOU VERY MUCH.) 

Signing with Rita, Ibi, and Elana at Books of Wonder! (Erika was busy being awesome at Mashable, so she couldn't make it.)

So. As you may or may not have heard, November was kind of A Month for me. I won the 2017 National Book Award for Young People's Literature, which is a sentence that I never, ever in my life thought that I would have the privilege of saying. I still can't quite believe it and I think maybe I'll fully process the news at some point in 2019? Maybe? We'll see. In any case, I'm so grateful and about a thousand other words that haven't been invented yet to describe how honored I feel.

It was an incredible experience, to say the least, but for me, one of the biggest joys was getting to meet and spend the week with the other finalists. Ibi Zoboi, Elana Arnold, Rita Williams-Garcia, and Erika Sánchez are four of the best and you should obviously read all of the books immediately. It kind of felt like we were at author summer camp, which is a thing that I just invented but immediately want to attend on an annual basis. In any case, these ladies are wonderful, talented, and gracious and I feel so lucky to have seen my book standing alongside theirs.

Me and the mama!

Publishers Weekly put together a very nice article about the night, including some quotes from my speech, so I won't rehash it here. Also I can't rehash it here, because my brain went into meltdown mode and I couldn't talk or even think for the rest of the night. I'm sure I said words to people, of course, but I have no idea what those words were! I hope they were nice! Apologies if I insulted anyone's mother. 

Speaking of mothers! I brought my mom as my plus one because a) she loves me whether or not I win any awards, which is handy, and b) she's great at parties. When I went into shock, she's the one who put a glass of champagne in my hand and got me out on the dance floor for the afterparty. (Side note: the DJ at the party was FANTASTIC. When I left, they were playing Missy Elliott's "Pass That Dutch," which is of course one of Hudson's and my favorite songs. So thank you for that, DJ.)

On the right: my glorious editor, Kristen Pettit. On the left: an author who looks like she's acting out the phrase "deer in headlights" in a heated game of Charades.

Also, I can tell you that if you ever win the National Book Award, you cannot take it through airport security at JFK! I learned this the hard way! "It'll be fine," I said to myself. "I'll just carry it through and then stow it under the seat in front of me." Look, I didn't play any sports in school, so I've never even won a participation trophy before. I had no idea what I was doing. And this award is heavy. But the NBA trophy sent off all sorts of bells and whistles at security (the head TSA guy, a very nice man named Dennis, shook his head at me and said, "What were you thinking?") and I had to go back out to the check-in gate to figure out a solution. Thank you again to Trish at American Airlines for finding a box for me and saving the day!

And finally, thank you to all of you for all of your kind comments that evening. It was one of the most wild nights of my life, but seeing all of your support and love for Far From the Tree, and for me, made it such a magical experience. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

He looks mildly interested to see me after nine days apart. Just mildly.

And now, this guy and I are off to find a Christmas tree. In 75 degree weather. Whatever, I'm sure it'll be fine.

With lots of love and gratitude for you this holiday season,

RB xoxo


Updates about FAR FROM THE TREE!

Hello friends!

We're less than a week out from the October 3 publication of FAR FROM THE TREE, which means that I'm currently running around, looking like this:


(I use that gif way too often, I know, but Beaker just GETS ME.)

Anyway, there have been a lot of FFTT updates, so rather than tweeting, instagramming, and facebooking about them incessantly,  I thought I would put them into one handy list here! Also, I am here for any and all reasons to make a list! Bullet points! Check marks! True story: I once made a list of all the lists I had to make. It was Peak Me.

  • If you, like me, enjoy getting things for free, then you should go visit Heather and Jessica at Go Fug Yourself because they're giving away a copy of FFTT! And while you're there, you can also look at the glorious pictures of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle being in luuuuuvvvvvv. Why do those pics make me so happy? I don't even know these two people, and yet! (Question: Do you think he sent her a bouquet of newly-sharpened pencils on the first day of fall? I just have a feeling that he did.)
  • Finally, to come full circle, FFTT will be in stores in less than a week, including Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and my beloved indies. But in addition, it'll also be available in Meijer, Fred Meyer, Kroger, and Walmart stores nationwide! You could buy my book while you're grocery shopping! 
  • And finally, thank you to everyone for your good thoughts, tweets, texts, comments, and all-around wonderfulness about FAR FROM THE TREE. Writing this book, as some of you know, really took it out of me, and I feel so grateful to have so much support from so many people, both in the publishing world and beyond. I hope I see you while I'm on tour!

RB xo







ARC Giveaways for FAR FROM THE TREE!

Hellooooo friends!

We're getting closer and closer to the October 3rd release date of FAR FROM THE TREE, which seems both too close and too far away? I need more time! But I want everyone to be able to read it! Such is the life of an author two months before their book comes out. 

But while I'm alternately fretting and celebrating, YOU have a chance to win an advance copy! Even my own mother doesn't have an advance copy! (Sorry, Mom. Love you.) 

First,  Epic Reads is offering up an amazing giveaway over at their site, and they even made this gorgeous graphic! (I still love the FFTT cover so much. SO MUCH! If I didn't have a pain tolerance of -12, I would definitely get it tattooed.)

Screen Shot 2017-07-11 at 9.59.04 AM.png

And then Goodreads is offering up a chance to win one of FIVE copies! You have five chances to win! I'm not a gambler, but I like those odds.

(I'm very sorry, friends who live outside of the United States, but it looks like these contests are only open to U.S. residents. Again, so sorry! I don't make the rules! If I did, everyone would get a book and there'd be free ice cream for all.)

I'm also putting together ideas for a pre-order campaign in the next several weeks, which I'm very excited to announce to you! I hope you'll like it as much as I do. In the meantime, good luck to all of you who enter! Let Hudson and me know if you win!

RB xo



FAR FROM THE TREE cover reveal!

Hello friends! It’s me, your friendly neighborhood author! You may not have heard much from me over the past several years here at Ye Olde Blog, but that’s because I’ve been doing very important things like eating string cheese and teaching Hudson how to do the Mannequin Challenge.

In between all of these exciting and action-packed activities, though, I’ve also been writing a book called FAR FROM THE TREE. Well, “writing” seems to stretch the truth a bit. There was definitely writing, but there were also some real hand-wringing moments of despair where I thought I’d never figure out this book, its plot, or its characters. This is my sixth book, so you’d think it’d be easy to write it. WRONG. WRONG WRONG WRONG. It was the hardest book I’ve ever written, hands down, but I’m so proud of it and I can’t wait to share it with you.

It’s a book about family and love and parents and siblings, and how those things change over time, interacting with each other and becoming more than the sum of their parts. I think the jacket copy explains it better than I can:

Coming October 3, 2017 from Harper Teen

“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.

Robin Benway’s beautiful interweaving story of three very different teenagers connected by blood explores the meaning of family in all its forms—how to find it, how to keep it, and how to love it.”

Also? I’m kind of hopelessly in love with its cover.

This gorgeous jacket was designed by Philip Pascuzzo over at Pepco Studio, and I’d just like to say that I am FURIOUSLY HAPPY about it! I think it’s a perfect representation of Joaquin, Maya, and Grace and their stories. I can’t wait for you to meet them.

In the meantime, you’re welcome to add FAR FROM THE TREE to Goodreads or pre-order at your local indie bookstore or other such establishments.




I’m looking forward to sharing more news and updates with you, but in the meantime, I hope your winter is thawing into spring and you’re doing well. Hudson sends his love. So do I.