October 18, 2017

Bound by Blood • Far from the Tree

Grace is an adopted only child who, after giving her own baby up for adoption, is determined to find her biological family. Her search turns up two siblings - Maya, loud and opinionated and dealing with the fallout from the revelation of her adoptive family's secrets, and Joaquin, reticent and wary after years of cycling through the foster care system. As they slowly get to know one another, a real bond springs up between them that allows them to be there for each other through all life's ups and downs - especially when it involves the search for their own biological mother.

Far From The Tree book cover
Plot? It's a simple plot really, where an adopted child in search of her biological relations discovering she has two siblings and attempting to form a solid relationship with them. But apart from writing about these three siblings as a collective, Benway also gives each one their own individual problems: Joaquin with his experiences in the foster system, Maya dealing with her adoptive family's issues and Grace reeling from the loss of her child and the ostracizing she experiences in school. It's really well-done, in my opinion.

Characters? I fell in love with each of the siblings. I was immediately most drawn to Maya, as she had traits that mirror my own. But I also felt for Grace, who was so determined to bring her little family together, and for Joaquin, who was just a precious cinnamon roll of an older brother. It was really wonderful to be able to switch between their perspectives, as it effectively made me feel like I got to know them each fairly well. I also thought the secondary characters - their individual families, their friends - were interesting additions that made this novel feel more well-rounded.

Writing? Benway's writing is so easy to read, and I flew through the pages of this novel. I never once found it confusing to switch between the perspectives of Maya, Joaquin and Grace, which is a testament to how clearly each of their individual voices came through on the page. I also felt like she did really well when it came to the development of these characters and their relationships.

Overall? If it wasn't obvious, I loved Far From the Tree. It's one of the most honest, most raw, most beautiful portrayals of family (both adoptive and biological) that I've ever read, and I particularly loved that it focused on the three siblings and their relationship. Having read all of Benway's novels to date, I can certainly tell you that, without a doubt, this one is my favorite!

What is your favorite movie about siblings? Honestly, the very first movie that came to mind was The Parent Trap, and I'm specifically referring to the Lindsay Lohan version. I just adore that movie because it was heartwarming and hilarious, and I still watch it whenever I get the chance to. A close second would likely be Little Women, which would be tied with Practical Magic.

Far From the Tree by Robin Benway
Publisher: Harper Teen | Publication Date: October 3, 2017
Source: ARC downloaded from Edelweiss (Thanks!)


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