Far from the Tree - book cover
Literature & Fiction
  • Publisher : HarperTeen; Reprint edition
  • Published : 04 Jun 2019
  • Pages : 400
  • ISBN-10 : 0062330632
  • ISBN-13 : 9780062330635
  • Language : English

Far from the Tree

National Book Award Winner, PEN America Award Winner, and New York Times Bestseller!

Perfect for fans of This Is Us, 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. 

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.

Editorial Reviews

★ "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)

"A sensitive exploration of what it means to be a family…With an abundance of warmth and humor, the novel continues to circle back to the message that love doesn't require perfection - that perhaps it reveals itself most fully when we don't quite get it right, but keep trying." -- Chicago Tribune

"A brilliant exercise in empathy." -- New York Times Book 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)

"Benway adeptly leads readers through a tale of love, loss, and self-discovery. Expect to cry real tears at this one." -- School Library Journal

"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

"A beautifully written story about the families we're born with and the families we choose, as well as the power - and potential pain - of that choice." -- Bustle

"A deeply moving novel...The trials the three teens face are always confronted directly and never diminished; their relationships, both new and old, are complicated and beautiful." -- Shelf Awareness

"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

"If you've even once wept at NBC's This Is Us, you particularly owe it to yourself to pick this one up." -- NPR.org

"The book really is something special." -- Wall Street Journal

"Readers will appreciate the explorations of family, stigma, and vulnerability. Benway is looking to follow in the Caroline Cooney footsteps of smart, realism-grounded stories." -- Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

Readers Top Reviews

"Joaquin felt something crack open in his chest, and at the same time, another fissure started to seal itself back up. He felt like he was flying apart and coming together at the same time." Far From The Tree is a wonderful read, a lot of sad moments but ultimately a wonderful novel. I loved all three of the main characters, all of the PoVs flowed perfectly. A great story about siblings, finding yourself and finding out where you started while still moving forward. A touching and pull at your heart strings look at adoption and foster care.
Sometimes a book comes along that sweeps you away. It is the sort of book that will stay with you long after you have turned the last page and it will be the book that you shove into the hands of others because you know that they have to read it. For me, this book is Far From the Tree. Far From the Tree is the story of three siblings who have all been adopted or fostered to different families and who didn’t know the others existed until recently. Along with finding siblings they never knew they also set on a journey of finding themselves. I honestly loved Far From the Tree. I was hooked from the very first page and it is a book that I have now read with my teenage reading group. It deals with issues such as slut shaming, adoption, the foster system and finding a sense of belonging. Far From the Tree tore my heart out but it also repaired it. I constantly say it and I am probably boring others with my repetition but YA fiction is the genre that is the most prevalent at the moment. With books like Far From the Tree in its midst you can see why it is a flourishing genre. Far From the Tree by Robin Benway is available now.
Marie Andrews (Lots
Okay this book though?! Where to start?! Omg. - This covered SO many topics that are often not covered in YA books - adoption, teen pregnancy, alcoholism, family feuds, divorce, race, f/f relationships, family relationships and friendships. Honestly it is so refreshing to see these interlinking topics covered in a thoughtful and respectful way (and not just adding them to the novel to tick boxes and fill criteria!!). - I loved the multiple perspectives! Having chapters that alternated between Grace, Maya and Joaquin was fantastic as it gave an insight into their personal backgrounds and allowed for me to understand where each character was coming from as the novel progresses. - The writing style is fab. I WHIZZED through this book! It reads so beautifully, yet is so easy to follow, all whilst capturing the full emotions of the characters as the events unveil throughout. - There are so many different aspects to this story, making it intriguing and impossible to guess where the novel is heading next. I love how each character had a back story which contributed to the overall plot and it was great to see how these all interacted. This book is just SO GOOD. Honestly, eughh, my words are not giving it enough justice. Certainly a new favourite YA book of mine, with well developed and intriguing characters in a beautifully thought out plot, covering so many important topics. Can't recommend enough!
g3 from the UP
I like to read books that have won literary prizes, and when I saw that this one concerned adoption I knew I had to read it, because I am adopted. 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.
D. Hite
Far from the Tree is about three biological siblings who have been raised in three separate homes. After giving her own baby up for adoption, Grace is desperate to find her biological mother. In her quest, she discovers she has two siblings: Joaquin and Maya. Grace and Maya were each adopted at birth. Joaquin, the oldest of three, was raised in the foster care system. As they get to know each other, the siblings begin to discover their similarities, their differences, and what family really is. 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.

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