Book Review

The Whole Thing Together

The Whole Thing Together by Ann Brashares
Release: April 25, 2017
Publisher: Delacorte Press


Ann Brashares, THE WHOLE THING TOGETHERWe live in the same house, but never together.

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.

In The Whole Thing Together by Ann Brashares, we meet a complicated family. Robert and Lila married and had three daughters, Emma, Quinn, and Mattie. They then divorced, remarried, and had one more child each, Robert and Evie had Sasha, Lila and Adam had Ray. In their divorce, they also share custody of a house and Ray and Sasha share a room–alternating from week to week. Emma meets a man who works for her father, Jamie, and they begin a relationship. Mattie tries to discover who she is and what she wants. Quinn just wants harmony and peach between her parents. And Ray and Sasha just want to meet as they’ve been kept from each other.

I thought I had a complicated family until I read The Whole Thing Together.

This book confused me. I didn’t realize it would be told in so many voices at so many times or together. It was a bit difficult differentiating between the main voice of the section and who is just being mentioned in their thoughts. It switches quite a bit, often in the same sentence, and I found myself rereading a few sections more than once.

The main setting of the book is the shared house in Wainscott and it was difficult to picture. Ray and Sasha’s room is a hodgepodge of their things but I couldn’t easily see the layout or the items. The only thing I remember about it are shoes and a skylight. Some characters seemed to blend together, like Emma and Quinn became one person to me in how they acted and spoke.

I chose this because I’d heard so much about Ann Brashares’ previous series, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants but never had a chance to read those. I thought this might be a good book to start with to welcome me to her works and I was a little surprised to be left more confused than when I started.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for review.


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