Far From the Tree: A YA Look at Adoption

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Far From the Tree by Robin Benway

Published by Harper Teens, June 4, 2019

Genre: YA (Popcorn)

Format: I audiobooked this one via purchased Audible

I read this one as it's one of the options on our rising 9th-grade summer reading list. 

The story presents the points-of-view of three teenagers who end up being siblings who were separated during childhood via adoption or foster care. The teens find one another and eventually have to decide whether to track down their birth mother. 

What I like about the book is that it focuses on the struggle of the adopted and also the one who gives her baby up for adoption. Grace, one of the main characters who is finishing her junior year, has recently given birth to a daughter she calls Peach. Grace opts to give her daughter up for adoption in an open adoption, but she struggles to process all the questions and feelings she has related to being adopted and giving her own child up for adoption.

Benway includes all the usual teen high school elements: struggles to fit in, struggles to figure out personal identity, broken and healed relationships, parent drama and parent peace as well as caricatures of three different expressions of how to deal with adoption. Grace experiences the mother's view as well as living through her own adoption experience, Maya lives in an adopted family where the parents also have a biological child, and Joaquin survives the foster care system and eventually ends up with parents who want to adopt him.

For teachers considering this book, the teens do mention bl*wjobs and Grace's experience getting pregnant, but mentions are cursory. The story is much more focused on the teens' social-emotional journeys as they process how being adopted impacts their present and their future.


“It took us fifteen years to find each other, but we still did! And sometimes, family hurts each other. But after that's done you bandage each other up, and you move on. Together. You've got us now, like it or not, and we've got you.”


This was a solid story focused on an important issue. 

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