Book Review: Far from the Tree by Robin Benway


Far from the TreeBook: Far from the Tree
Author: Robin Benway
Published: October 3, 2017
Rating: ★★★★★
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.


If you already read the Top Ten Tuesday post I made earlier in the week, you’ll know that Far from the Tree was one of my favorite books that I read in 2019. Adoption can be a delicate topic to write about, but I think Benway wrote about it amazingly. This book had a lot of heart in it, and you can tell that Benway cared about her characters.

The Good:

  •  What I loved about these characters is that their actions came from a good place. Grace, Maya, and Joaquin were desperate to not hurt their loved ones or themselves and all the choices they made stemmed from this.
  • This book really understands its characters and their complexity and it makes the reader connect with them. All of their actions–despite whether or not I agreed with them as a reader–made sense to me because the characters are written so well.
  • The plot was paced well, there wasn’t any dragging or any skipping over important parts.
  • The book is told in the POV of all three siblings and I liked how each of their stories wove together seamlessly. Having three main characters meant that there needed to be a lot information packed in so we could get to know the characters better, but it never felt like we were overloaded by exposition
  • I liked how this book tackled the complex situation of adoption, and I think the author did a great job of portraying just how messy the emotions surrounding it can be.
  •  I especially liked how we got to see it from the side of a mother giving a baby up for adoption (Grace) and also the side of the children who were given up for adoption. The juxtaposition helped you understand Grace’s decision and how hard it is and sympathize with it (since sometimes I feel like giving a baby up for adoption still has some judgement attached to it). We also get to see that adoption can lead to happy lives for those children.

The Bad or The Ugly:

  • Nothing at all!

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