Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Far From The Tree by Robin Benway Review

Title: Far From The Tree
Author: Robin Benway
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Series: Standalone
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.
Robin Benway came into my life when I received a copy of Also Known As, the first book in her contemporary romantic spy series, as an advanced readers copy. I found Far From The Tree as I usually find books in my library stack, a recommendation. I finally got to it after I finished reading All Rights Reserved Saturday night. I was immediately drawn into the world of Grace, Maya, and Joaquin, and their journey to find each other, themselves, and the many meanings of family. Far From The Tree is a tender, heartbreaking and utterly compassionate novel, and I loved every moment of it, even as it gutted me entirely. One of the best books of 2017, hands down, and the National Book Award Finalist is well-deserved! I can’t wait to see what else Benway has in store!

Grace, Maya, and Joaquin are three different people from varying backgrounds; they are also all adopted. When Grace gets pregnant by accident, she makes the difficult decision to put her baby up for adoption. Bereft and untethered after giving birth, she reaches out to try and find the blood family she never knew, starting with her mother. She, Maya, a hard-as-nails, dark-humored lesbian, and Joaquin, the boy whose quiet nature hides scars of every kind, all meet and gradually begin to connect. They forge a strong bond, even though they’ve only known each other for a short time, and eventually begin the search for the one person they’ve all been searching for: their birth mother.

I really, really loved this loved this book; it’s easily one of my favorite books of 2017. Normally, my tastes run more toward fantasy novels, but I’ve been loving contemporary for a long time. So when Far From The Tree caught my eye with its pretty cover and the glowing reviews I’d read previously, I was really excited. The prose was beautiful and magnetic, and I was immediately drawn into the world of these three young people. I loved the plot, especially when it came to discussing the topic of adoption, and Benway uses compassion, tenderness, and empathy when she talks about it. But even more than those things, I loved the main characters, all of them with distinct personalities, flaws, and struggles. Grace, the young mother who is struggling with giving her baby away, Maya, whose family is falling apart at the seams and being torn apart by dark secrets, and Joaquin, the boy so used to abandonment he’s afraid to get close to anyone. This book; it made me laugh, cry, scream, and cheer, and it’s one of my favorites of the year—I will never forget this loving book that showed me that family and love can come in all kinds of different forms! The bottom line: A beautifully written, tender and funny book full of humor, heart, and compassion, I loved Far From The Tree! Next on deck: Given to the Earth by Mindy McGinnis!

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