(Review) Far from the Tree
Far from the Tree by Robin Benway
Publication Date: October 3, 2017
Pages: 348 (kindle)
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
My Goodreads Rating: 5 Stars
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.
It's been a long time since a book has kept me up past my bedtime on a school night, but Robin Benway got me with this one. (If you're new here, I'm a teacher not a student.)
I absolutely love Emmy & Oliver and was so excited to get access to this title that it only took me a few hours to devour it. Also a lot of coffee the next day.
Actual footage of me trying to teach my class.
The book opens with Grace's narrative and you immediately learn about her giving her daughter up for adoption. The action had obviously taken a toll on Grace and afterward she decides that she wants to search for her own birth mother.
In beginning the search for her birth mother, her parents help her to discover that she also has two siblings close to her own age. Grace reaches out to her sister Maya, who has a seemingly perfect life in a big, fancy house with her parents and sister. Together, they search out Joaquin, their older brother.
As the three of them delve into friendships and relationships with each other you also get a glimpse into each of their own lives and the struggles they have. Grace and her secret, Maya and her not-so-perfect-family, and Joaquin and his fear of himself.
I loved this book. I don't feel like I can put a lot of thoughts and words out about this, but I can say that I loved it.
The family dynamics were absolutely perfect, both biological and adoptive/foster. The way that these three main characters grow and change independently and with each other was beautiful. I loved their interactions and conversations. The sibling bonds between them felt easy and natural and everything in this story flowed so well.
I just really loved this book. It was totally worth the three cups of coffee I had the next day to keep myself awake.
Huge thanks to HarperTeen and Edelweiss for the ARC.