Far from the Tree

Far from the Tree

by Robin Benway


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National Book Award Winner, PEN America Award Winner, and New York Times Bestseller!

Perfect for fans of This Is Us, Robin Benway’s beautiful interweaving story of three very different teenagers connected by blood explores the meaning of family in all its forms—how to find it, how to keep it, and how to love it.

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.

Don't miss this moving novel that addresses such important topics as adoption, teen pregnancy, and foster care.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062330628
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 10/03/2017
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 198,568
Product dimensions: 5.70(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.30(d)
Age Range: 13 - 17 Years

About the Author

Robin Benway is a National Book Award-winning and New York Times-bestselling author of six novels for young adults, including Audrey, Wait!, the AKA series, and Emmy & Oliver. Her books have received numerous awards and recognition, including the PEN America Literary Award, the Blue Ribbon Award from the Bulletin for the Center of Children's Books, ALA’s Best Books for Young Adults, and ALA’s Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults. In addition, her novels have received starred reviews from Kirkus, Booklist, and Publishers Weekly and have been published in more than twenty countries. Her book Far from the Tree won the 2017 National Book Award for Young People's Literature and the 2018 PEN America Award and was named one of the best books of the year by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, NPR, PBS, Entertainment Weekly, and the Boston Globe.

Robin grew up in Orange County, California, attended NYU, where she was the 1997 recipient of the Seth Barkas Prize for Creative Writing, and is a graduate of UCLA. She currently lives in Los Angeles.

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Far from the Tree 4.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Anonymous 9 months ago
this book made me cry and scream but it also made me exited and happy. this book probably changed my life now i want to be a foster mom because of Joaquin I LOVE IT 12/10 RECOMMEND!!
WitchyWriter More than 1 year ago
Oh my goodness. Dear readers, please do yourselves a favor and read this fantastic book. It’s the 2017 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature winner, and it deserves that title a thousand-fold. Also, Robin Benway is a super sweet and wonderful person, so you should read more of her books just in general. I met Robin through my MFA program, and sat down for a one-on-one with her where we talked about YA and writing. I came home from that residency struck by how approachable and kind she was, so I went to read some of her books. And promptly emailed her to tell her how much I loved her stories. She responded! Which is always a cool feeling, for a fan. Later, I listened to her First Draft podcast with Sarah Enni, and was struck all over again by how authentic, and intelligent, and kind Robin is. She talked about the writing process in a way that had me crying, listening to that podcast. I highly recommend it, especially if you listen to it after you’ve read Far From the Tree, so that you can really connect to how she talks about the characters. As far as the book goes…well. If a podcast made me cry, you can be damn sure the book made me cry, too. On the train. On the bus. In front of unsuspecting Seattle strangers. And I didn’t even carebecause oh my goodness everyone needs these emotions in their life. Everyone needs to hear these stories. Maya, Joaquin, and Grace are three very different characters. They have unique voices, really particular ways of seeing the world. They tug on your heartstrings at every turn. Maya was probably my favorite, because she’s hurt and angry and defensive and I think it’s because she has the most tender heart. I can relate to that. The narrative arcs for each character just kind of sneak up on you. You don’t know for sure how things will turn out, or what they are supposed to accomplish, but it’s really beautiful how messy and lovely their journeys are. It’s very much a stand-alone novel, as well—I would love to spend more time with Grace and Joaquin and Maya, but their arcs do wrap up at the end of this novel, with no big teasers leading to a sequel. There’s a sense of closure there that was kind of healing to get to, after traveling with them through such emotional stuff. There’s a million things I love about this book that I don’t want to spoil for you. It’s beautiful writing. It’s compelling characters. It’s gritty and real and makes your heart ache. Go read it, all of you.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wonderful, wonderful book in every way. Enjoyed it so miuch. The storyline, the characters ; everything was perfect.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Rarely do I ever give contemporary novels 5 stars, but this calls for it! It's deep and heartfelt and beautiful. Highly recommend!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I don’t usually review books. I’m 66 and this book is YA so it must have been a good deal. All the characters are REAL and the dialogue is fantastic! I laughed, I cried. I wished it was longer. I see that reviewers often compare a book to another author but I can’t think of one to do that. Read the description and give this book a try. You won’t be sorry.
Shawscribbles More than 1 year ago
This was a fantastic book. Robin Benway really has created a treasure with this story. The book moves between Grace, Maya, and Joaquin's points of view. Three siblings who have only just met and who have very different stories. This a book about heartbreak and love. It's about discovery and fear. And most of all, it's about the true meaning of family. A must read. So far, my top pick in 2018!
pineappletop92 More than 1 year ago
In all honesty, if I had just read the synopsis on this book, I probably never would have picked it up. It’s just not my normal cup of tea. But I had come across a sample of the first chapter it in a booklet I had gotten at an event somewhere (I think the BN B-Fest), and that sample alone just wouldn’t get out of my head. So when it came time for my reading mood to go “man, I need a contemporary”, I thought that this one should be it. For this review I am going to split it up into two viewpoints: a critical one and a personal one, because that’s the only way I think I can do it. Critical: In short, this book is well written. The characters are diverse and realistic, with flaws that are defiantly human and character arcs that make sense to who they are as presented from the start. The writing draws the reader in easily from the start, and retains the attention throughout without ever losing steam. In the beginning, it does feel a bit like there isn’t a lot of movement in terms of an overall storyline arc, with only one character, Grace, having a personal goal – to find her birth mother. The other two just sort of…exist for a bit until their storylines start to take shape and their personal issues grow and changes come into their lives that they have to overcome. So for a while it felt like nothing was really happening while the characters (and the reader) were just kind of getting to know one another. Which is fine, but again, I felt like I needed a little bit more, and not just the small hints that were given here and there. Personal: I just felt very little emotional connection to the characters and this book overall. This is not a statement about the quality of the book – I can certainly see a lot of people enjoying it and loving it much more than I do – I just don’t think I really connected with any of the characters. Grace’s storyline, the one that drew me to this book in the first place, was kind of the only one I ever had any really interest in, and Joaquin’s garnered some of my attention too. But Maya’s I could have cared less about. I don’t know why, it just didn’t click with me for some reason. Maybe because it was such a typical storyline I’ve seen before so often – fighting parents, alcoholic mom – that there wasn’t really anything I didn’t already expect from it to happen. So, sadly, I just didn’t find myself really caring either in a positive or negative way about this book while reading it. I felt like at any point I could have stopped and never really needed to pick it back up because I had no pressing desire to know what was going to happen next. Still, despite my semi-indifference towards this story and these characters, I will admit to getting emotional at the end (although not as emotional as these characters who really cry an awful lot), and I did think their overall character and story arcs were wonderfully done. The story, like I said, was well written (okay there were a couple of times I thought the randomly thrown in metaphors and allegories were a little overdone), moved at a decent pace, and definitely has a lot to say about the importance of family and what it means to be one. Despite the fact that I personally didn’t feel completely enthralled by this book, I would still probably end up recommending it to people depending on their taste. 3.5 stars
WhatANerdGirlSays More than 1 year ago
***REVIEW ORIGINALLY POSTED ON WHAT A NERD GIRL SAYS*** There are so many words to describe Robin’s brand new novel, which comes out tomorrow, but the first one that comes to mind is beautiful. This book is just beautiful. First off, let’s talk about family. This book is first and foremost about family, how it can come from many different places. Two girls are adopted and one is in a foster family that loves him. The three of them find each other find each other and become a family. But there’s also the family they go searching for and the friends they surrounded themselves with. Robin writes family so beautiful, especially that bond between siblings, whether its the relationship between the biological siblings of Grace, Maya and Joaquin or the relationship between Maya and her sister, Lauren. I have five younger siblings and we are all incredibly closed and I felt such a connection with the story of family in this novel. Second, I loved the discovery of self identity, especially for Maya and Joaquin. Maya is lesbian, has a girlfriend, and is sure of herself in that and I love that so much. It’s not a big deal at all and that’s amazing. I love that there’s that diversity in there and its written as if its not a big deal, because, hello, its totally not. But I also love Joaquin wanting to know more about himself, more about where he came from, what his culture is like. He wants to be Mark and Linda’s son but he doesn’t want to lose who he is at heart. I admire that so much. Third, Grace. Oh, Grace. I bonded with her story more than anything. I know what its like to be pregnant in high school, to feel rejected, to feel unsure of your decision, to feel like you’ve let people down, to feel like you’ve been abandoned. I didn’t have my baby; I unfortunately had a miscarriage. There’s a part early in the book where she is overwhelmed by the loss of her baby; she feels it in her body. It feels empty, like there’s something missing and she physically feels it and I cannot even begin to describe how close I felt to that. That was over a decade ago for me but all those feelings came rushing back at me. Overall, Robin has written an incredible novel here. I’ve always adored her and I remember reading Emmy and Oliver and thinking it was her best yet but this book blows it out of the water. She gets better and better with each book and this one definitely shows that. The story is great, and the emotions are real, and the fact that it centers on family and does such a great job at it is what makes this book a must read. It comes out tomorrow and I 100% urge everyone to get this book. I’m positive it’s my favorite of the year so far.
ahyperboliclife More than 1 year ago
This was such a beautifully character driven story. It's all about who is family and what it means to be a family. I LOVED Grace, Maya, and Joaquin. All three siblings were so easy to connect to. Each one is so resilient and strong, while allowed to be emotional and upset. The family dynamics we get to see were also great - I loved that there was a wide representation of family experiences. Each character is going through such an emotional journey, that it's so easy to become invested in these characters and I loved seeing their sibling relationship develop! And while romance was very much on the backburner for the story, there was some really cute (and real) moments between Maya and her girlfriend, Claire, and Grace's budding relationship with Rafe. As a character driven reader, this was everything I could have wanted. I loved the dynamics and the development we get to see. And I was completely invested. This is a beautiful and emotional journey of family, love, and finding yourself. I received a copy of the book from HarperTeen via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.