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Far from the Tree Hardcover – October 3, 2017
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From School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—Only child Grace was adopted at birth; when she finds herself placing her own daughter up for adoption, she begins searching for the bio family she's never known. She quickly discovers that she is a middle child, sandwiched between loudmouth younger sister Maya and older brother Joaquin, who has spent nearly his entire life in the foster care system. As Grace struggles to move forward from the loss of her daughter, she begins to bond with her siblings who have hardships of their own. Maya's adoptive family is not as picture-perfect as they seem, and Joaquin is on the cusp of something wonderful but is afraid it could all end in disaster. The siblings find themselves turning to one another and learning that family comes in many forms. Benway has created three unique and endearing characters who have experienced adoption in very different ways. Grace's story will pull at heartstrings, while Maya is relatable as a teen struggling with her relationships with her family and girlfriend Claire. Joaquin is scared and rough around the edges. With a well-imagined cast of secondary characters who add angst, humor, and depth, Benway adeptly leads readers through a tale of love, loss, and self-discovery. Expect to cry real tears at this one. VERDICT Well-written and accessible, this is a must-purchase for all YA collections.—Erica Deb, Matawan Aberdeen Public Library, NJ
★ “Family issues are neither airbrushed nor oversimplified. From the first page to the last, this compassionate, funny, moving, compulsively readable novel about what makes a family gets it right.” (Kirkus Reviews (starred review))
★ “Equally heartwarming and heart-wrenching... Benway (Emmy & Oliver) delves into the souls of these characters as they wrestle to overcome feelings of inadequacy, abandonment, and betrayal, gradually coming to understand themselves and each other.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))
“Far from the Tree dives deep into themes of heartbreak and love, and presents a profound, emotional meditation on what it means to be family.” (Brightly)
“Far from the Tree is the kind of book that strikes close to a reader’s heart. I had to know what happened to Grace, Maya, and Joaquin, and I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. Beautiful.” (Ally Condie, #1 New York Times Bestselling Author of the Matched trilogy)
“Far from the Tree is a touching story about the strength and love of unconventional families, and the unbreakable bond of siblings near and far. Robin Benway’s characters are authentically crafted, full of heart, hurt, and hope.” (Brandy Colbert, author of Pointe and Little & Lion)
PRAISE FOR EMMY & OLIVER: “Emmy & Oliver is wonderful. Funny, heartbreaking, and true... just like life. Robin Benway has written characters I felt like I’d known forever, and was so sad to see go. A must read.” (Morgan Matson, author of Since You've Been Gone)
“Robin Benway writes with her full heart. Emmy & Oliver is a genuinely sweet and funny novel bursting with the inextinguishable forces of love—between parents and children, distant and inseparable friends, new and reunited lovers.” (Stephanie Perkins, New York Times bestselling author of Isla and the Happily Ever After Stephanie Perkins, New York Times bestselling author of Isla and the Happily Ever After Stephanie Perkins, New York Times bestselling author of Isla and the Happily)
★ “Benway examines split loyalties, the impact of confessionals, and how broken bonds can be mended. Benway’s intriguing premise and honest tone are a winning combination as she movingly portrays the growing trust between her characters.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))
★ “At times heartfelt, funny, irreverent, and ultimately satisfying… a good choice for fans of Stephanie Perkins’s Anna and the French Kiss or any of Sarah Dessen’s novels.” (School Library Journal (starred review))
“Benway fearlessly examines the effects of loss and return from every perspective. Hope, confusion, frustration, and love coexist without shame as teens and parents come to grips with the realization that nothing stays the same no matter how desperately we want it to.” (Booklist)
Top customer reviews
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It was refreshing to read a YA book that didn't involve two main characters falling in love as the main plot. I loved that this book was about family, different types of families, how imperfect and dysfunctional they can be, but also, how much love exists.
I love this book so much that I want to carry it with me. I wish Joaquin, Grace and Maya were real so I could meet them and hug them all and tell them they deserve the best. I wish they hadn't had to suffer as much as they did but also know that what they went through led them to reunite in a moment where they needed family the most.
Far from the tree is by no means perfect, there were aspects that were left in an 'open-ending' kind of way (and I am not a pro open-ending person), I also wish the book could've had 200-300 pages more so I could've seen the new-found siblings interacting more; but Joaquin, Grace and Maya's stories have a place in my heart... I love them, I love this book and I can't wait to re-read it (oh yes, I will).
This was a compelling read . . . the story of three half-siblings who share the same mother who abandoned each of them in turn. My story is much the same, except we only found on another in our 60's through DNA testing. In this novel, the two offspring who were adopted had access to limited information about their birth mother and her offspring which enabled them to locate their siblings. The children were two girls and one boy, all of whom are still in their teens during the book. The girls were both adopted at birth, while the boy bounced around from foster home to foster home.
Their experiences were each quite different. One girl is an only child (like me), the other is a brown haired girl in a family of red heads with a sister born to her parents a year after her adoption. The only child's family is serene; the other's family is chaotic with battling parents and an alcoholic mom. The boy's life has taught him to protect himself by being guarded and not letting himself care for others.
I liked what this book says about families, families by blood, by adoption, by fact, by friendship. I read it very quickly and cried several times. I think the author did a great job of exploring and exposing the raw emotions, questions and doubts that adoptees can experience. Every adoptee's story is different as this novel clearly demonstrates. The conclusion is full of hope and love.
Excellent quick read.
So here's the deal. I just... I don't even know how to put into words how I feel about Far from the Tree. Please forgive me if this review rambles or makes no sense. Far from the Tree broke me in so many different ways.
First, it broke me because I ached for Grace. Grace's story was the one I was most curious about. After having my own child, I cannot imagine giving up a child -- especially one I desperately wanted -- no matter how much I knew it would be the best thing for that child. It would kill me. Grace's experience brought me to tears more than once.
Second, I'm an adoptee. While I haven't been through much of what happened to Grace, Maya, and Joaquin, I have felt some of the feelings they felt. Maya's thoughts were the ones I could relate to the most. Our situations were the most similar. We are both adoptees whose adoptive parents went on to have biological children of their own. Maya's thoughts gave validity to ones I have felt in the past. Her feelings combined with those of Joaquin and Grace touched something deep inside me.
Third, Joaquin's whole situation hurt. I can't imagine what it would be like to live in his world. It makes me ache for all the foster care children out there. I want an adoption as amazing as mine for them.
My review is making Far from the Tree a complete downer. It's not. There's heartache, but there are so many amazing moments. The characters learn so much about themselves and what family and loving someone means.
I was a fan of Robin Benway's writing from her début novel, Emmy & Oliver, but Far from the tree blew me away. It is my favorite book I've ever read about adoptees. It encompassed so many different feelings surrounding being adopted. In my opinion, Far from the Tree was perfection. It's a very special book.
This is the story of three siblings, and because of a personal thing going on in my life at the moment, this story really resonated with me. It could be the fact that one of the characters is named Joaquin, so I couldn't help but seeing my son's Joaquin's face as I read. Beautiful. It made me feel all the things I've buried throughout the years and that want to finally leave my heart. Thank you, Robin for writing this book. I so needed to read it