I joined a coworker's book club, and Far From the Tree was the first book I got to read with them. It's not usually something I would pick up myself, even though it is YA. The only thing I can use in my defense is that I'm more of a Fantasy reader than anything realistic fiction mostly because of the toll it can take on me.
But sometimes we need a little push to embark in an experience, and I'm so happy I got the chance to read this book. Keep reading to find out why.
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 wasn't sure how I was going to feel about Far From the Tree before I started reading it because it seemed full of serious topics. Turns out, it was a very heart wrenching read, but also wholesome. It took me forever to read the first 25% of the book, but after that I was so invested in the characters and their story that I finished the rest of the book in one day.
Grace's search for her siblings felt like a huge leap of faith I didn't know how it would land, Maya and Joaquin were absolutely different from her, but somehow they found a way to belong with each other beautifully.
The book itself was packed with topics that felt too real, which added dept to the story. There was teen pregnancy, adoption and the foster care system with diverse scenarios, immigration and the separation of families, divorce, dysfunctional families, alcoholism, drug use, and I know some topics have slipped my mind because there were too many! But somehow they didn't feel like a burden because they were presented in a way that felt easy to digest.
I enjoyed the ways in which Grace, Joaquin and Maya got to connect as siblings. I got a couple of laughs and definitely tears, but by the end of the book I felt peaceful and satisfied.
If anything, the only problem I remember having with the book was not connecting at all with the only Mexican character in the book, and as a Mexican person it would have meant a lot, but the book was beautiful enough to let that slip.
I had a super satisfying discussion in book club meeting about the ride this book was, and we all loved it.
Would recommend for people who love realistic fiction. Far From the Tree is a book that definitely encourages empathy. At least, it did for me.
My Rating: 5 / 5 stars
Here is all the info for Far From the Tree:
Reading Challenge No.: 28/70
Publication Date: October 3, 2017
Format: Print - Hardcover
Length: ~ 374 pages
Series or Standalone? #Standalone
"Grace hadn't really thought too much about homecoming."
Thank you so much for reading my review. I hope it encouraged you to pick up Far From the Tree. If you do, please share your thoughts in the comment section.
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