Title: Far From the Tree
Author: Robin Benway
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary Fiction
My rating: 5/5
A contemporary novel about three adopted siblings who find each other at just the right moment.
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.
I am completely in love with this book. The raw emotion and character development are things of beauty and excellently crafted for each of the siblings. Listening on the audiobook I believe added to my adoration because the narrator (Julia Whelan) adds personality to each of the teenagers as we go into their inner dialogue. Never have I found such a perfect ability to display sarcasm and the workings of a young person in today’s generation. That trait is completely understandable knowing the backgrounds of Joaquin, Maya, and Grace – relishing in their bond as half-siblings even further.
I don’t consider myself THAT emotional when it comes to books, however the storytelling from Benway left me in tears numerous times on my commute to work as a I listened. I feel that we are in a time that there is no real ‘standard’ or ‘typical’ type of family. Family is family. It can be found in a variety of ways: blood or not. I loved the depths Benway goes in all of the families in the story and all the challenges that go with it, love not withstanding. Each of the siblings had good and not so great things going for them, and I enjoyed hearing their stories and what their flaws were, putting themselves outside their comfort zones to more love then they can ever imagine. Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to have these types of conversations and have that much vulnerability at that young of an age – it was clear that all three of them were protective of their feelings despite how passionate they were about other things. A definite read for young and mature readers!
Read Far From the Tree if you like the themes of:
What other stories about the intense yet difficult to describe family bonds do you like?