review

BOOK REVIEW | The Whole Thing Together by Ann Brashares

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.

blurb from Goodreads

I received an advanced copy of this book courtesy of Netgalley!

Straight off the bat, I have to say I was incredibly disappointed by this novel. I had high expectations because I remember loving Brashare’s Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series. Then again, I haven’t read them since middle school so my memory could be a bit skewed.

The book opens and you’re instantly bombarded with too many characters. There’s a switch-up of POVs, which is only between two characters thankfully, but I still was unable to keep track of which character was from which family. But suddenly, it wasn’t even all of the siblings you had to keep track of. There were co-workers, partners, friends, and other random people. When there’s an abundance of characters, it usually means that they’re undeveloped and unlikable. I wouldn’t say they were all unlikable, but some development would have been nice.

The plot was interesting if interesting means pretty boring and not really there. The family dynamic didn’t come across as realistic and the Ray/Sasha plot-line felt incredibly creepy and incestuous, even if they’re somehow the only two not related. I was uncomfortable anytime they mentioned each other, which let’s be honest, was basically the entire book.

I thought the turning point would be the climax. Instead, I knew it was going to happen, it happened, and then the book ended with strings left unattached.

Overall, I didn’t find this book very compelling. While I wouldn’t say it was bad, there was just too much going on for me to be able to actually enjoy it. To be honest, re-reading the synopsis now, I probably should have known that this wouldn’t be my cup of tea. Fortunately, I think if you find the description intriguing and are able keep track of characters better than I am, you might really like this book.

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