Review: The Whole Thing Together by Ann Brashares

The Whole Thing Together by Ann Brashares

I started reading¬†The Whole Thing Together without knowing anything about the book. I loved Ann Brashares’¬†Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, and I wanted to read her latest book. This novel is about a very unique modern family. Let’s see if I can explain this correctly. Ray’s mother used to be married to Sasha’s father, and they share 3 half sisters, but they have never met. Their divorced parents never speak to each other, and they can hardly stand to be in the same room together. But the two families share a vacation house. The alternate weeks in the summer and weekends the rest of the year. Ray and Sasha share a room in fact. This is all a little strange, but it does set up for an interesting book.

I had a hard time keeping the characters straight in the beginning because I was listening to the audio, and I couldn’t refer back to the family tree at the beginning of the book. Also, this whole book is written in 3rd person, so I couldn’t get a sense of the narrator either. It’s a story about Ray and Sasha, but also about their parents and their 3 sisters – Emma, Mattie, and Quinn. Emma is getting married, and Mattie is throwing her an engagement party. It will be practice for the wedding, since her parents will both have to attend.

There was a lot going on in this book, and also not a lot going on. It’s a chronicle of the day to day and also the monumental. There was maybe a little too much with some of the parents’ back story. I think I would have preferred this to be a story about just Ray and Sasha – you see, they fall in love. But it was an enjoyable read anyway. Ann Brashares has once again created a wonderful cast of characters.

Rating: 3 Stars

The Whole Thing Together
Ann Brashares
Young Adult Fiction
Delacorte Press
April 25, 2017
Audio CD
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.

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