Far From the Tree
October 3, 2017
4.39 stars on Goodreads
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 recently finished Far From the Tree by Robyn Brenway and I loved it so much that I just had to write a review. Everything about the book was so rich and true that I just felt so connected to the story. Both the plot and characters in this story were so amazing that I literally do not have a single complaint about this book. If you need something that will really make you feel something, then I definitely recommend picking up this book.
First, the characters are what really stood out to me. They were absolutely amazing. Each of the three siblings was so real, you could practically feel it. You could feel each character’s insecurities, fears, happiness and struggles. I’m pretty sure that Brenway created some very relatable characters that people will be able to connect too no matter what.
Grace: Grace was my favorite of the 3 siblings. I felt like she was so authentic and honest in most of the book – and definitely the most levelheaded out of the three. I really sympathized with her story the most. Her story really explored another side of teen pregnancy that most people don’t think about when they hear that another teenager is pregnant. The way Grace handled her situation was pretty freaking amazing and I just feel like she deserves the world.
Maya: Maya was my least favorite of the three characters – but that doesn’t mean I didn’t love her. She was so hard-headed and fiery that it was sometimes unbearable. However, I do think she really portrayed some of the flaws that are in every teenager, especially me. So maybe that’s why I didn’t like her as much. I absolutely loved her representation and supportive parents in the book. I loved how her sexuality wasn’t a huge part of the book, making it seem like a normal relationship which is one step closer to bringing awareness to homonormative relationships.
Joaquin: Joaquin definitely had it the worst. He was never adopted by a family and was jumbled around through foster care throughout his childhood. The representation of a Mexican boy was so nice to see, especially because of the awareness brought towards his foster care situation. He seems to control his emotions so well and is extremely mature for his age and situation. I’m so happy that he finally found his siblings and a family that loves him because that boy definitely deserves it.
The plot in this book was also amazing. I love how it strayed from your typical contemporary love story to a beautiful story about family. We don’t really explore family that much in YA. In most stories, the parents are either gone or never mentioned so I felt like this was such a good portrayal of the different types of family that every teenager could be living in.
The whole arch of this story was amazing as well. The way the siblings found each other, the way they found their birth mother, and the way each sibling dealt with their own issues was beautiful. Robyn Brenway really did do a beautiful job writing about these characters and their stories.
If you can’t already tell, I thought this book was absolutely amazing. The characters were so real that I could really feel them. I gave this book a 5 out of 5 stars for its sheer rawness and honesty. I really hope that this book helps teenagers who are in similar situations as Grace, Maya, and Joaquin understand what they are going through, and help them not feel so alone. Brenway created such a beautifully written masterpiece when she wrote this book and she should be so proud of the work she created.
If you’ve read this book, let me know what your thoughts are! I want to hear them, and I’m always open for a discussion!