December 22, 2017
Has your life been touched by adoption?
Some readers notice that this story feels similar to the NBC T.V. series This is Us…. and it is similar in its multi-layered sibling saga (from a teenage perspective) and especially a similar adoption theme. If you watch This is Us, you might remember in Season 1 how Randall describes his feelings growing up as an adopted child in a white family. These are similar feelings (as well as others) expressed by Joaquin, Grace, and Maya in Far From the Tree.
Genre/categories: YA Fiction, Social & Family Issues, Adoption, Siblings
Far From the Tree is a contemporary YA fiction novel in which three biological siblings (placed for adoption or foster care as babies in separate families) find their way to each other as teenagers and discover a deeper meaning of family. The story is complicated because Grace, one of the three siblings, has just placed her own baby up for adoption. In addition, Joaquin, another of the siblings has experienced trauma growing up in the foster care system. The author tenderly explores each of their stories including the mistrust, feelings of aloneness, and individual hurts and disappointments. Far From the Tree won the 2017 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature.
Amazon Rating (December): Early Reviews: 4.6 Stars
Adoption: If adoption is part of your history or adoption touches your family, this gripping and emotional story will captivate and wreck you in the best way! Tissues may be required! My personal connections to adoption with close friends and family cause me to connect with this story in a special way. Most notably, my husband is adopted and has experienced deep feelings of “aloneness” all his life. In addition, later in our adult lives, both my husband and I have established relationships with relatives (my husband’s sister and my cousin) whom we’ve been separated from all our lives as a result of adoption. In each case, the reunion was special and we’ve established close adult relationships with each other. #itsnevertoolatetoexpandourfamily #drawawidercircle
My background with establishing our own relationships with family members who had been separated through the adoption process greatly impacted me as I read Far From the Tree and I was able to recognize and identify with certain feelings and fears from each of the three siblings.
A Favorite Read: Far From the Tree is definitely one of my favorite reads of the year. It is an engaging, heartwarming, and insightful story for the YA audience and for all adult readers as the author explores the powerful emotions of adoption from several perspectives. Because this is a YA genre, there are some F-bombs and some teenagery angst.
Themes: The author includes many themes and it can feel all over the place. I wished the author had remained more focused on the exploration of adoption, foster care, and family themes. Overall, though, readers will appreciate the excellent character development and relevant themes of adoption, fostering to adopt, reconciliation, healing, sibling bonds, family relationships, learning to trust, and family loyalty.
Recommended: Trust me! Put this on your “must-read” shelf if you love complicated family drama!
Shared with Joaquin as he learns to trust his foster parents:
“I know you don’t believe it now, I know you might not ever believe it, but Mark and Linda are like those training wheels, too. What you described? That’s what parents do. They catch you before you fall. That’s what family is.”
My Rating: 4 Stars
Meet the Author, Robin Benway
I have so many books I’m looking forward to reading in 2018. See this post. However, I think I’ll read Woman in Cabin 10 next week for my IRL book club January meeting. This isn’t my usual or preferred genre….so we’ll see how it goes!
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For those celebrating Christmas,
Merry Christmas from Reading Ladies!