Friday, September 22, 2017

Review: Far From The Tree

Far From the Tree by Robin Benway
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: October 3rd, 2017
Source: Edelweiss
Date Read: 9/9/17 to 9/15/17
384 pages

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 received this ARC in exchange for an honest review. Quotes taken from ARC may or may not be in the published edition.

Far From the Tree isn't my first book by Robin Benway, who I think is pretty underrated and deserves more hype. Both this and Emmy and Oliver are phenomenal. I highly recommend both of them.

But back to this book. Far From the Tree tells the story of three adopted kids from three different families. There’s Grace, Maya, and Joaquin (nicknamed Joaq). After becoming pregnant and giving up her own child for adoption, Grace realizes that maybe her own birth mother went through a similar experience. This leads her to reach out to her two siblings, in hopes of being able to contact their mother together. Having been an only child her whole life, she’s hesitant about meeting both Maya and Joaquin.

Maya, on the other hand, doesn't want anything to do with her birth mother. She believes that her birth mother just abandoned them without a thought. It doesn’t help that her non-biological parents are going through a rough patch, in which Maya blames herself for causing. She thinks that she has broken up the family by being the adopted daughter, while Lauren is the perfect biological child.

And then lastly, there’s Joaquin, who's just been cycled around different foster families. He's scared of being adopted since he doesn't believe that the foster parents actually like him. He regrets some of his past behavior, even though as a child, he was only trying to shield himself from more emotional pain. Joaq also struggles with his identity of being half-Mexican, as he is constantly reminded of how he knows nothing about “being Mexican”. Yet even after meeting his fully white siblings, he still loves them unconditionally.

Out of the three characters, I liked Grace the most. It’s obvious that she cares a lot about her child, who she nicknames Peach. She spends a lot of time picking the perfect family for Peach, and worries about whether she chose right or not.

(Perhaps I loved this book so much because a baby was mentioned a couple of times. Shh)

Though it’s not apparent in the beginning, over the course of the novel you can tell that having a family to come to really helps all three of them, especially when they each have their own problems to solve. As you can tell from my review, Robin Benway does an amazing job with character development, and I honestly expected nothing less from her. I don't even have anything negative to say about this book. Other than the fact that Goodreads LIED and said this book was only 256 pages (it’s really 384 pages, thanks Shannon for letting me know). Like no wonder it felt longer haha. But seriously, I actually read word for word this time, rather than skimming through like I usually do (my bad).

Overall I really loved this book and I will just read anything by this author.

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