The Whole Thing Together Book Review

31123236Author: Ann Brashares

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Genre: YA Fiction, YA Contemporary

Pages: 304

Summer for Sasha and Ray means the sprawling old house on Long Island. Since they were children, they’ve shared almost everything—reading the same books, running down the same sandy footpaths to the beach, eating peaches from the same market, laughing around the same sun-soaked dining table. Even sleeping in the same bed, on the very same worn cotton sheets. But they’ve never met.

Sasha’s dad was once married to Ray’s mom, and together they had three daughters: Emma, the perfectionist; Mattie, the beauty; and Quinn, the favorite. But the marriage crumbled and the bitterness lingered. Now there are two new families—and neither one will give up the beach house that holds the memories, happy and sad, of summers past.

The choices we make come back to haunt us; the effect on our destinies ripples out of our control…or does it? This summer, the lives of Sasha, Ray, and their siblings intersect in ways none of them ever dreamed, in a novel about family relationships, keeping secrets, and most of all, love.

My Thoughts:

From the blurb above we can surmise that the story will revolve around Sasha and Ray. With background information on the sisters and the family that they share. Well that’s not completely accurate. The story actually follows everyone. With POV’s from all of the kids, not just Sasha and Ray. It’s all very intricately woven together.

Ray and Sasha had a one of a kind relationship. These two were clearly sweet on each other from the get go. The way they thought of one another and built up a picture of who the other person might be was adorable. I enjoyed feeling what they felt. It was exciting to see how much they cared for each other despite being strangers. Although they weren’t strangers. Not completely. The sense or familiarity, comfort and security they thrived on from one another was engaging.

This felt like a very unique read. When I picked this up I was expecting a fun, fluffy, beachy read. Though it makes for a nice summer contemporary, I was very wrong. There were certainly many times where Sasha and Ray amused me. However what I enjoyed the most was the realism Brashares captured about a family torn by divorce, trying to regain it’s composure. There was also a lot more diversity than I was expecting.
I’ve mentioned before that I myself am a child of divorce. Growing up I got to see one parent more than the other. Not to mention there was a huge strain on the relationship I shared with my brother, as he was always several states away from me. As I got older it became easier to cope with the struggle and I accepted that that was my life. I actually got a somewhat happy ending myself though. My parents are now friends (which is a huge step up) and we even share holidays together as a family. So reading this there was quite a few things I could relate to.

What I Didn’t Like:

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I don’t like reading books with multiple POV’s. Two is perfectly fine, three becomes a chore to follow, but five?! That’s completely overwhelming. It became too complicated and too hard to keep up with. Mattie and Quinn’s characters made no real sense to me. It felt as though their POV was unnecessary. Emma I got, Emma I could relate to in some way. Though even my connection to her was very faint and still felt pointless. Alone that was a huge star detractor for me. As the story continued it began to lose more of its depth and connection to me. Another unfortunate star detractor. So much of the story should have been focused on Sasha and Ray.
It’s very clear what Brashares was trying to accomplish. It’s just unfortunate that it was smothered by needless information.

Rating:

7c629b43d19c572bd68e7a74753d341a7c629b43d19c572bd68e7a74753d341a7c629b43d19c572bd68e7a74753d341a.Half Candy

Recommend?

If you’re looking for a book that deals with real life divorce issues, how it affects the children, and doesn’t sugar coat it, then yes. If you like following a lot of characters, yes. This book had an infinite amount of potential to it.
If you want to check it out you can find an Excerpt here, see what you think 🙂

About The Author:

Ann Brashares grew up in Chevy Chase, Maryland, with three brothers and attended a Quaker school in the D.C. area called Sidwell Friends. She studied Philosophy at Barnard College, part of Columbia University in New York City. Expecting to continue studying philosophy in graduate school, Ann took a year off after college to work as an editor, hoping to save money for school. Loving her job, she never went to graduate school, and instead, remained in New York City and worked as an editor for many years. Ann made the transition from editor to full-time writer with her first novel, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. Ann and her husband live with their three children in New York.

*I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for this review.*

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Have you heard of this book? If you’ve read it please share your (non-spoilery) thoughts!

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