Friends on Friday: Audio: Far from the Tree by Robin Benway @RobinBenway ‏@justjuliawhelan ‏@HarperAudio @BookwormBrandee ‏ ‏#FriendsonFriday

Posted April 12, 2019 by Anne - Books of My Heart in Book Review, Friends on Friday / 15 Comments




Today’s friend is Brandee from Unconventional Bookworms.  I’ve loved getting to know her through books and this wonderful community. We sort of met in passing at the RT Convention in Atlanta, May 2016, since I spent all my time with Melanie and they roomed together.  I look forward to getting to know her better at Book Bonanza this August in Dallas.  She was kind enough to do this review, even though she was at RARE Paris last weekend.




Friends on Friday:  Audio: Far from the Tree by Robin Benway @RobinBenway ‏@justjuliawhelan ‏@HarperAudio @BookwormBrandee ‏ ‏#FriendsonFridayFar from the Tree by Robin Benway
Narrator: Julia Whelan
Published by HarperAudio on December 5, 2017
Genres: Fiction, Young Adult
Length: 8 hours, 54 minutes
Format: Audiobook
Source: Publisher
AmazonAudibleLibro.fmBarnes & Noble
One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

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.

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

Far From the Tree was an incredibly thoughtful, thought-provoking, gripping, and emotional read. Benway crafted such a genuine story with engaging characters. And Julia Whelan did an excellent job with the narration. Both Benway and Whelan were new-to-me and I was, obviously, impressed.

The story is told from three POVs: Grace, Maya, and Joaquin. We’re initially introduced to Grace. She’s 16 and has recently had a baby that she gave up for adoption. Having been adopted herself, this experience leads Grace to wanting to find her birth mother. This, in turn, leads to her meeting Maya and Joaquin, her biological siblings. Maya was adopted into a family that later had a biological daughter. Joaquin has spent his life in the foster system, although he’s currently in a loving and supportive home.

Getting to know these 3, as they get to know each other, was fascinating. The similarities they have, thanks to biology, the differences they have due to their circumstances, were interesting to see and made me think. A LOT. I appreciated how Benway allowed us to get to know them, revealing things little by little. My heart broke for each of them in small ways because they each were dealing with the typical teen struggles with belonging and then they all had these additional elements added into the mix. And they each had preconceived notions about each other based on the perception of how they’d been raised. As I said, it was fascinating. And thought-provoking. And so very emotional. (you’ll need tissues!)

Far From the Tree was an amazing read. (Thanks, Diana!) I’ll be on the lookout for more from Benway and Whelan.


Whelan’s range for male voices was lacking at times but otherwise, she ROCKED. Her delivery was wonderful, the pace was excellent, and she did a great job of keeping the female voices consistent.

Listen to a clip:

About Julia Whelan

Julia Whelan is a screenwriter, life-long actor, and award-winning audiobook narrator. She graduated with a degree in English and Creative Writing from Middlebury College and Oxford University. While in England, her flirtation with tea blossomed into a full-blown love affair, culminating in her eventual certification as a tea master. When not writing her own books, you can find her reading other people’s out loud into a microphone.

About Linda at (Un)conventional Bookworms

Linda is an English as foreign language teacher and has a Master’s degree in English Language and Literature. She’s an avid reader, blogger, compulsive one-clicker and a genre omnivore. Ever since she learnt how to read she has been seen with a book or two in her hands everywhere she goes.

About Robin Benway

Robin Benway is a National Book Award winner and New York Times bestselling author of six novels for young adults, including Audrey, Wait!, the AKA series, and Emmy & Oliver. Her books have received numerous awards and recognition, including a 2008 Blue Ribbon Award from the Bulletin for the Center of Children’s Books, 2009’s ALA Best Books for Young Adults, and 2014’s ALA Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults. In addition, her novels have received starred reviews from Kirkus, Booklist, and Publishers Weekly, and have been published in more than twenty countries. Her most recent title, Emmy & Oliver, was published in 2015 by Harper Teen, and was named one of the best books of summer by the Los Angeles Times, the Houston Chronicle, and Publishers Weekly. Her latest book, Far From the Tree, won the 2017 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature and was published on October 3, 2017 by Harper Teen.

Robin grew up in Orange County, California, attended NYU, where she was the 1997 recipient of the Seth Barkas Prize for Creative Writing, and is a graduate of UCLA. She currently lives in Los Angeles, where she spends her time hanging out with her dog, Hudson, making coffee, and procrastinating on writing

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Posted April 12, 2019 by Anne - Books of My Heart in Book Review, Friends on Friday / 15 Comments

15 responses to “Friends on Friday: Audio: Far from the Tree by Robin Benway

  1. Yeah, that would be a pretty poignant read, Brandee. I haven’t listened to Whelan for a while, but I do enjoy her narration work. 🙂

  2. Brandee, Thanks for being my Friend on Friday. I hope you make it home today.

    I love that you chose a book with such emotional journeys for the main characters. Thank you for sharing!

    Anne recently posted: Finder by Suzanne Palmer
    • Hi Anne! You’re most welcome and thank YOU for having me. I hope others will give this book a go because it has really stayed with me. It’s just such a great read…er, listen. 😉
      I didn’t make it home as planned because of a blizzard. My flights were cancelled and I had to spend 2 days in Dallas. But that wasn’t so bad as I stayed with my mother-in-law. 🙂 I did make it home and then promptly got sick. And then I’ve dealt with jetlag. And now I’m dealing with the fact that my kids graduate in 2 weeks! Gah! But I had a wonderful time and I’m all recovered from my trip now. I look forward to spending time with you in August!!!! 😀

      Brandee @ (un)Conventional Bookworms recently posted: Thirsty Thursday & Hungry Hearts #175 ~ The Highwayman