Far from the Tree

Narrated by: Julia Whelan
Length: 8 hrs and 54 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (2,311 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

National Book Award Winner and New York Times best seller!

Perfect for fans of NBC's This Is Us, Robin Benway’s beautiful interweaving story of three very different teenagers connected by blood explores the meaning of family in all its forms - how to find it, how to keep it, and how to love it.

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 17 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.

Don't miss this moving novel that addresses such important topics as adoption, teen pregnancy, and foster care.

©2017 Robin Benway (P)2017 HarperCollins Publishers

What listeners say about Far from the Tree

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Wow

no spoilers here, I promise. But I work in the child protective system as a psychologist, and this author has really captured a lot of the dynamic of kids who are adopted out of the child protective system. it certainly cannot capture all of their experience, and not all of their endings are like this one, but this book is masterful in its depiction of the psychological dynamics of these kids and the ways in which they turn out. the book is heartwarming without being sappy. I appreciated that.

63 people found this helpful

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Touching

As an adoptive parent I feel this story was realistic and empathetic to all involved. Well done.

45 people found this helpful

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SO MOVED BY THIS STORY! GREAT FICTION!

I can't tell you the last time I was so moved by a story! I laughed, I cried, I was greatly affected. It should be listed as Fiction, not Teen / Family Relationships. Even though the story is centered around 3 young people, the book and it's content is so diverse, any age will enjoy it! (With over 2,500 audiobooks, I listen to 1-3 books a week, depending on the books length, so to be so moved is really saying something!)

78 people found this helpful

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Perfect for readers of adult literary fiction.

Far From the Tree took me far out of my comfort zone in the most excellent way! It’s only the second audiobook I’ve listen to till the very end and it’s YA.

Here’s what I loved:

The Characters – Grace, Maya, and Joaquin were well-developed characters to love. They’re all basically good kids carrying more baggage than most adults could bear. Some of their baggage is shared and some is very specific to the character.

The Story – There’s a lot going on here but it all blends seamlessly. Themes explored include teen pregnancy, racism, family dynamics, bullying, and behavioral health and substance abuse issues. Yes, lots of heavy stuff! Yet throughout there’s an underlying sense of hope and healing.

The Feels – As you might guess from reading the above, this is a very emotional read. Sadness, despair, joy, fear, etc. All the feels are there! Be prepared for teary eyes.

The Writing/Narration – I can’t speak to how it would be to read this in print but the language was very easy to listen to. The narrator, Julia Whelan did a fantastic job giving each character a very specific voice.

The Takeaway – Far From the Tree is a beautiful story. It’s YA that’s perfect for readers of adult literary fiction.

29 people found this helpful

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Moving and sweet.

Enjoyable story presenting some of the complexities of adoption, foster care, and cross cultural adoption. If only all such stories could be so n aptly tied up in a bow.

12 people found this helpful

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Wow!

This is a very powerful and well-done book on a sensitive subject...adoption. Joy, pain, roots, foster system, extended family, hurt, love, and doubt; it answers the question of what it means to be a family. The reader(s) of the audio version are exceptional. I read and listened and the audio added subtle emotion.

9 people found this helpful

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Beautiful Story, but not for ages younger than 13

We bought my daughter 3 credits from audible so she could pick out her own books. This book was in the kids and teens section and since she is adopted she was very excited to hear this book. As I was passing by her room while she was listening, I heard some very strong language that I was not too happy to hear. I decided to listen to the book with her in case she needed some help understanding the situations the characters were being placed. After teen pregnancy, lesbian content and harsh language, I decided this wasn't quite the right book for her at this age. I would imagine it would be fine for an actual teenager age.

17 people found this helpful

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Pretty close!

As someone who was adopted as a young baby, I wouldn’t say that I have a lot of angst about the situation. However, after reading several books and stories, and watching movies, about people coming to terms with their adoption, I haven’t really ever found anything that resonated with me much. I typically find these sorts of stories to be trite and overly dramatic; adoption being a poor plot twist or (non) character development. And although this book has its moments of sensationalism, there were moments of brilliance and authenticity that really stuck a chord with me. I would recommend.

5 people found this helpful

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Interesting story, predictable ending

This is different than my usual genre. I usually go for historical fiction, but my book club chose this one, so I gave it a chance.

Bad:
-predictable ending. So predictable, that I knew exactly how it would end half way through the book. I was rolling my eyes when the inevitable happened and the cheese was piled on thick, with a perfect little ribbon tying it all up.
-overuse of the same descriptions and terminology. For example, I read about each of them being “tethered” and someone’s hand “grounding” them several times. Get a thesaurus!
-third person writing did make me care very much about these people. They were well developed, but the emotional connection to them wasn’t there. I found maya annoying.
-I didn’t appreciate the frequent f-words

Good:
-interesting story lines
-Empathetic characters.
-Shed light on how the foster care system impacts a child.
-Exploring a teen pregnancy, adoption, and the aftermath was the highlight of the book for me. I was most emotionally connected to this story line.
-interesting concept of what your family is, but I would have liked to see that question explored more.

18 people found this helpful

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A Read for All Ages

Though this is a young adult genre, this 70 year old Reader loved it, sans the dialog between the teenagers. I not only liked but related to each character (parents and teenagers). The narrator could have done a better job on the male voices (not all of us have the gift).

This book especially touched me since I was adopted infant in 1948 who recently met my siblings and biological father at age 70.

I highly recommend. Thank you, Robin Benway, for this gift!

3 people found this helpful