Far From The Tree by Robin Benway
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
After reading Empire of Storms I felt I needed to catch my breath and read a book based in the real world in order to counterbalance all the fantasy I've been reading recently and Far From The Tree had popped up in a great offer in my local bookshop and so I picked it up for a steal!
Contemporary fiction can be a bit of a hit or a miss for me. Sometimes they can really touch you and leave you feeling you've read something really special or they can be too light and fluffy and you kind of wish for more from them. I'd heard lots of people say they had fallen in love with Robin Benway's Far From The Tree and so I hoped this would fall into the first category of an emotional read.
This book is definitely more of a Young Adult read, it follows 3 siblings who have been born to the same birth mother but who have either been adopted by other parents or in the case of Joaquin spent their lives bouncing around the foster and care system. They have never met each other before but when Grace gives birth to a daughter aged 16 and makes the choice to give her to adoptive parents she begins to wonder more about the mother who gave her away and the story she may be hiding. Grace sets out on a journey of self-discovery, firstly tracking down her brother Joaquin and sister Maya and then trying to persuade them to all go in search of their birth mother.
This definitely had it's fair share of emotional moments. Grace's story is wonderful to read and she is instantly likable and you root for her from the outset and give thanks to her adoptive family who are there for her through her pregnancy and the adoption process afterward, supporting her and looking after her.
Similarly, Joaquin is an amazing story to read as he has had a very different upbringing to his two estranged sisters having been passed from foster family to foster family, some okay but others that have scarred him. He is scared of being hurt and rejected and as a result, could be pushing away the one family who will always be there for him.
Rounding out the trio was the character I least bonded with Maya. Maya is the most outspoken, the youngest and probably most spoiled of the 3 siblings. Her adoptive family has some issues and she is part of a family where just after her adoption her parents got the one thing they'd always dreamed of, a biological child of their own. This has always hovered as a cloud for Maya but at times she comes across as a little too centered on herself and she is the one who challenged me as a reader the most. At times I'd want to flick past her chapters but she does have some interesting points of view but she doesn't read as strongly as Grace and Joaquin.
I read this book in just under a day. It was a quick and dirty contemporary. It wasn't as emotional as I'd expected. Some people spoke of tears reading this book, maybe I'm just really hard-hearted but whilst I was touched by the story it didn't resonate with me to that extent. I enjoyed it but couldn't say it was worth more than a 3.5 out of 5 stars for me.