I recently read Far From The Tree by Robin Benway, which I absolutely adored. I listened to it on audio.
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 had not heard of this book before and so I went in with no expectations whatsoever. I hadn’t even read the synopis. The only thing I knew were the title and the cover. And even though I had no expectations, if I would have had expectations, I am 100% sure this would have exceeded those. It was just so good! Far From The Tree is a story about three siblings who didn’t know the others existed. They were given up for adoptions and years later they find each other.
“Content in the knowledge that no matter what happened with your parents, or your girlfriend, that your siblings will still be there, like a bookend that keeps you upright when you feel like toppling over.”
Grace, Maya, and Joaquin are each so different. Grace just gave birth to a baby which she gave up for adoption, and is trying to deal with the aftermath. Maya is trying to survive her dysfunctional family and just got in a relationship with her girlfriend. Joaquin has been struggling through foster care and has finally found a family that wants him, but isn’t sure he is willing to risk staying.
But when they find each other they go from strangers to people who would do anything for each other. I loved seeing their connection grow stronger and see them become siblings and friends at the same time. They all struggle with their own problems (teen pregnancy, relationships, family, alcoholic parents, foster care, and so on) but they find a way to help each other and at the same time help themselves.
“The older she got, the more human her parents seemed, and that was one of the scariest things in the world. She missed being little, when they were the all-knowing gods of her world, but at the same time, seeing them as human made it easier to see herself that way, too.”
This book is heart-warming and uplifting but at the same time sad. There were scenes that made me smile or cry and others that made me want to just give all the characters a hug because they are just so damn precious. There’s so much beauty in this book, I can’t even describe it. I just loved the characters and their relationships so much. I loved how it didn’t shy away from difficult topics, and dealt with them with care. I can not say anything other than I highly recommend it. 5 stars, definitely.
“It took us fifteen years to find each other, but we still did! And sometimes, family hurts each other. But after that’s done you bandage each other up, and you move on. Together. You’ve got us now, like it or not, and we’ve got you.”
Representation: Maya is lesbian, Joaquin is “Mexican appearing” but has been distanced from that culture.
(p.s. do you like the new header?)