Far From the Tree is pretty much a flawless novel.
I wasn’t expecting to love it so much. I bought it several years ago, when it was an Audible daily deal. Then I forgot about it, but last week I needed something new to listen to while I went on my runs. The narrator, Julia Whelan, is one of my favorites, so I decided to give it a shot. (BTW, her narration is amazing, and I believe it only embellishes the already stellar writing.)
I was mesmerized.
By the time I got towards the end, I was bawling because the emotion and the writing were JUST SO GOOD. (I was on a run when the tears began to flow, and I worried passersby would think I’d hurt myself.) Every sentimental moment in this novel is well-deserved. The author, Robin Benway, invests in the characters from the beginning, and she develops a slow-build that culminates in something that, well, it makes your heart sing while you cry at the same time.
The story is about three kids: Grace, Joaquin, and Maya.
In the very first chapter, 16-year-old Grace gives up her baby daughter for adoption, and the trauma of that experience triggers her desire to find her own birth mother. Along the way, she finds Maya and Joaquin, her biological siblings. They each have their own secrets and traumas to recover from. They form a tight if imperfect trio, and without realizing it, give each other strength to heal and new avenues to find a sense of belonging.
Robin Benway does a beautiful job of writing about the unconditional love that comes with being part of a family, whether it’s blood relatives or through adoption. Neither type of family is diminished or idealized, and she never resorts to clichés, nor does she pander to readers’ emotions.
Would you like to win a free copy of Far From the Tree? Here’s your chance! (It’s a two-for-one. You’ll also be entered to win a free copy of Any Given Tuesday, a political memoir that has shot up to the top of my TBR pile.)