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.
Don’t miss this moving novel that addresses such important topics as adoption, teen pregnancy, and foster care.
Buy it – Amazon
I loved this book so much!
After reading Emmy & Oliver, I was a bit put off. It wasn’t the fave I thought it would be! But after reading the synopsis of Far from the Tree, and the first few pages, I hopped in.
The only part of the story I disliked was the ending. It felt a bit lackluster.
This is the only book where I loved all POVs equally. Usually, the only time I genuinely enjoy a POV switch is when it’s in a romance. That’s it. Split POV between romantic interests. Robin Benway was able to weave the lives of those three characters perfectly, and each influenced the other.
Far from the Tree chronicles three siblings who have been split up their entire lives. Each was placed into a foster home as a child, and they all ended up in different places. After giving up her own child for adoption, one of the siblings goes on a quest to find her biological family. She finds a brother, and a sister.
Maya, the girl with the seemingly perfect life, is the youngest sister. She is openly gay, but has only really dealt with small effects of discrimination and hate at her school. Other than that, everything is pretty smooth sailing. Her parents are proud when she comes out, and despite hardships within their own relationship, they support Maya no matter what. Out of the three, despite Maya’s hard exterior, she is the most innocent imo.
There’s a scene where Maya comes out to her brother, and he mentions a foster sister he had that was kicked out because she was gay. That’s the first time that Maya actually takes a step back and hmmm recognizes her privilege? Everyone isn’t born into an accepting family, and everyone doesn’t receive good foster parents. Life isn’t great for everyone who comes out to their parents.
I was iffy reading from Joaquin’s view. Cause…he’s not 100% white, and I’ve read the author’s other super white books. But I ended up loving his sections the most. I’m not adopted, and I’ve never been through the foster care system, so I can’t speak on that experience. But I can talk about how it feels to be dropped into a place where no one looks like you or is aware of any aspect of your cultural identity.
What I loved most, was how the author instantly let the reader know that he was completely aware of his ~status~ as a foster kid. He understands that since he is brown, he is valued “less” than his white siblings, and the second he mentions it, his sisters instantly put their own lives in perspective.
Grace confused me. In my head, she defied every stereotype placed on teen mothers. They’re extroverts, “fast”, have 484294 boyfriends, etc. And as proved by her younger sister’s first reaction to meeting her, Grace isn’t any of that at all.
I feel like I learned more about the other two (Maya & Joaquin) than I did of Grace. Everything seemed perfect in her life. We quickly learn that Maya’s adoptive parents are going through a huge divorce, and Joaquin was in and out of foster homes. But nothing about Grace’s Homelife. You know, besides the fact that she gave up a child only a few months before meeting her siblings. Then…right at the end we learn that everything was NOT fine in her house. Things weren’t settled after the adoption, and they all get help as a family.
ANYWAY, Four stars.
I feel like this book is a HUGE improvement from Emmy & Oliver, and it makes me excited to read more books by Robin Benway in the future.