Olive Branches Don’t Grow on Trees by Grace Mattioli

Olive Branches Don’t Grow on Trees by Grace Mattioli is a story about a girl name Silvia who has a broken family. Some family members don’t speak with each other and her parents are divorced. Her mother wants to host a graduation party for her little brother with the help of Silvia, which is a struggle to find a way to convince the entire family to join together to celebrate her brother’s success. Readers gain insight into the Silvia’s world as she has constantly moved around to different cities only to be disappointed when struggles appear again. She takes her father to an A.A. meeting where she is faced to confront her demons by listening to a guest speaker who has lived the life she currently lives and experienced the struggles she currently experiences.

This is a fantastic novel for anyone who has had parents who’ve divorced or who feel like they have never found a place that can comfortably call ‘home.’ Silvia’s story is a relatable one for many young adults. This coming of age story gives readers insight into how to grow up in the real world. It also brings up social issues such as the environment, vegan lifestyle, and alcoholism and drug addiction. It is apparent that the author wanted to bring some issues to attention but in a more subtle form. Readers may become offended by the reiteration of the vegan lifestyle in this book as there are some jabs at meat eaters. However, even meat lovers may learn something valuable that works well with their lifestyle. You don’t need to be an extreme ‘green’ activist but simple changes may be able to benefit the planet.

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