Book Review: The Whole Thing Together by Ann Brashares

From Goodreads:

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.

The Whole Thing Together by Ann Brashares is a confusing story that made me think “Why am I reading this?” over and over again. I loved The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares. Ever since then, Ann Brashares books, at least the ones that I have read, haven’t lived up to my expectations. There are too many characters in this novel. The first page outlines who is related to who and which kids belong to which sets of parents. I still found myself referring back to this page throughout the entire novel.

The Whole Thing Together gave me an uneasy feeling. Every character had an issue with confrontation and avoided multiple problems in their lives until it was too late. Ray and Sasha are the two main characters. One belongs to one set of parents and the other belong to the other set of parents. They share one job and three sisters. They also share a beach house, and oddly enough, share a room, and have never met. Sounds crazy, right? It is. Somehow these two finally run into each other and sort of fall in love. When I say sort of, I mean, even though they are not related, they kind of are, considering the circumstances. It’s weird. Just really, really weird.

The main conflict is that a divorce split a family in half. The resolution…not really existent. There are a lot of strange subplots that don’t really fit in that just waste page space. By the time a few issues were being resolved, the book was over, just like that. It takes a tragedy to open their eyes and realize that life is too short to hold grudges. Not that this is actually said, it is only assumed on my part.

I liked the the email exchanges between Ray and Sasha. I liked how they shared a job and their boss kept referring to them as the same person. But that’s about all I liked. I finished it because I thought there would be an epic ending. And there was, it just wasn’t a good one. It was just depressing and left be unfulfilled and exhausted.

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review from Random House LLC.


Book Review: Things We Have in Common by Tasha Kavanagh

thingsYasmin lost her father at a young age. When she couldn’t handle the pain, she turned to food for comfort. Eventually, she lost all of her friends, and slowly became obsessed with Alice, a girl in her high school class. Alice is a pretty, popular girl. Yasmin watches her from afar, collecting things that she finds of hers and places them in a box in her room. One day, Alice goes missing. Yasmin predicted it was going to happen, and even suspected who took her, but decided that it was best to solve the mystery herself and save Alice so that she would fall in love with her.

As you can tell from my synopsis, Things We have in Common by Tasha Kavanagh is strange. Not only is it strange, it is very creepy. The entire book made me uncomfortable and uneasy. I wanted to yell at Yasmin for being a psycho and I also wanted to tell her that she needed to stop eating all the time. Yasmin does not get the help she needs in this book. Her mother is naive and her step-father is overbearing. I think the only character I actually like in the book was the little dog named Bea.

Things We Have in Common is written in second person narrative. Yasmin is speaking to a man who she thinks will eventually take Alice. The entire novel is written this way. This concept works well for the book because Yasmin is able to tell this mystery man how she feels. The book feels slow at times. It takes forever for Alice to actually disappear, and once she does, the novel speeds up and gets to the good stuff.  It is a young adult book that has an adult feel. The end is unexpected and worth reaching. I was shocked and had to reread the last few pages, thinking  I missed something. Things We Have in Common is Tasha Kavanagh’s debut novel and it did not disappoint. If you’re into twisted thrillers, this one is for you.

I was given a copy of this book in exchange of an honest review.