The Whole Thing Together by Ann Brashares
Description: “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.”
Review: I really struggled to read this book, I found it slow, confusing and lacking dimension. All of the interesting aspects of the story are briefly mentioned and are glossed over. The story felt like it was rushed.
This story is about a variety of personalities, how they cope with life and how they manage to live together. Due to so many characters it was difficult to keep track of who is who (sorry Mattie and Emma) and to feel connected to any of them. The characters and story of Ray and Sasha are more developed but I found the whole romance to be disturbing. Even though Ray and Sasha are not biologically related the budding romance between them creeped me out.
I wish the author cut the number of characters in half and gave them more details and focus. The characters had a lot of potential for growth but due to the overwhelming number of characters, all with personal struggles, I found it difficult to get to know them. A lot is mentioned and hinted at in the book but not much is flushed out.
While I will be purchasing this book for the public library I work at due to the author’s name (teens will still want to read it) I do not think I will personally recommend it to anymore.
*please note that I received an advanced copy of the book from NetGalley