Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Summary: “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” (Goodreads).
I picked Far from the Tree up a bit randomly because I loved Robin Benway’s other book, Emmy & Oliver (under-hyped!). I, for some reason, thought it’d be happy, what with the pretty cover and me clearly having no memory of the roller coaster of emotions in E&O. I almost cried reading Far from the Tree, and I probably would have had I not finished this in a car on the way from the zoo (weird, yes).
As in E&O, there’s a strong emphasis on family in Far from the Tree, this time on siblings separated because their mother put them all up for adoption. At the same time, there’s an emphasis on adopted family, too, and how it isn’t any less important than blood family. I love how it worked through that and even more with Joaquin who didn’t have an adopted family at the start of the book, who had gone through issues with adoption.
That’s what parents do. They catch you before you fall. That’s what family is.”
I can’t say I loved all three of the siblings, but I felt for them. I connected most with Joaquin and Grace instead of Maya, but found them all interesting to read about. Joaquin and Grace, in my opinion, had deeper storylines than Maya’s, which meant I was more emotionally attached to them. THOUGH, I still love Maya and found her story important, in the least.
It took us fifteen years to find each other, but we still did! And sometimes, family hurts each other. But after that’s done you bandage each other up, and you move on. Together. You’ve got us now, like it or not, and we’ve got you.”
Honestly, I went into this hoping for a sweet contemporary and found a pile of emotions instead. Not that I’m complaining. It was just unexpected (and mostly because I’m daft).
I have very little more to say because I honestly just loved this? And couldn’t ask for any more? It was so beautiful and heartwarming and just…yes.
Last thing, the romances? I thought it was interesting that two out of three were already established and having problems, so it was more about fixing things than creating them. But I still loved the one that was a new relationship (for Grace, finding someone new after her ex who got her pregnant left her).
I’m still flailing.
And now I want to reread Emmy & Oliver. (Read it!)