So, I was about to share mini-reviews of two books. However, as I began typing the review for Far from the Tree, I realized that it was WAAAY too long to qualify for a mini-review (that’s how much I LOVED it). Therefore we will go back to the conventional review format for today!
A contemporary novel about three adopted siblings who find each other at just the right moment.
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.
I loved Joaquin, Maya and Grace, who have similarities as siblings but are very different people. Maya is loud and outspoken. She feels strongly and has a witty, sarcastic style of humour. On the other hand, Grace is reserved. As a teen mom who recently gave her child away for adoption, she has a lot of guilt and sadness. However, on the outside Grace appears to have everything under control. And while Maya and Grace connected right away, Joaquin sets himself apart from the girls. As the only sibling who was not adopted and spent his life in foster care, Joaquin never felt like he belonged. He puts on an act, trying to do and say the things that people like, but he doesn’t believe that people will truly like him. Even though these characters are very different, we learn to walk in their shoes and understand how they think.
I loved the focus on family. There is a small element of romance, though this isn’t the focal point of this story. We get a glimpse of the dynamics within the different families in this story. Even though Grace, Maya and Joaquin were given up at birth, we see how they come to understand their own meaning of family.
In relation to that, I loved how parents are portrayed as human. They behave very much like real parents- They are worried about their children, sometimes in an exaggerated way, and they love their children very much.
I enjoyed the writing in this novel, which flows well and keeps me turning the pages. However, I did notice that there are some repetitive use of words. For example, on many occasions people’s “chins wobble”, they are often “shaking”. Also, people cry a lot in this book. Then again, so will you 😉
Which brings me to my next point, which is that you will not be able to get through this book with dry eyes.
The Bottom Line: 4.5/5 stars!
If you are looking for a book that will touch your heart, Far from the Tree is a must-read!
Hint: Have a box of tissues near by.
As I am writing this post, I am preparing for my one-way flight from Toronto to Vancouver (eek!) I will talk to you guys on the other side!