‘THE WHOLE THING TOGETHER’ – Ann Brashares

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We live in the same place, 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.

Thanks to Penguin for sending me a copy of the book in exchange for a review!

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I think that the whole idea of this story is really interesting… confusing… but intriguing. For the first third of the book I was really confused about Sasha and Ray; I thought that they had the same parents and was confused as to how their parents could keep them apart. Like, what is this? The Parent Trap 3.0?! But after rereading the blurb another ten times, I eventually got the point.

But the confusion about this didn’t stop there. There were so many other characters in this book and I didn’t know who was who. This was my biggest problem with the book; the blurb of the copy I own (assuming AU/UK paperback) makes it seem as if the whole story is about Sasha and Ray, their relationship, meeting for the first time, etc., and I honestly would have been happy with that. Except, they were more like minor characters. It focused more on the three older siblings; Emma, Mattie and Quinn. The blurb I included at the beginning from Goodreads is the hardcover and actually mentions the other siblings, so this probably would have been helpful! I was intrigued with Emma’s story, however, I skimmed over the other two so I probably wouldn’t be able to tell you what they’re about.

I’m just going to say here that I liked the book in the beginning; Sasha and Ray’s characters and story line had a lot of potential and I was excited to read about them. Also,  think Ann’s writing style is beautiful and she definitely makes some deep and insightful remarks. I read the ‘Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants’ books in primary school and I remember liking them, so she definitely does a good job at that.

Despite this, I just think that there were too many characters she focused on. Instead of a story, this felt more like a bunch of characters who were linked together in one way or another, and therefore she was barely able to go into detail with each of the characters. I couldn’t connect to any of them because I didn’t know enough about them.

STOP RIGHT THERE!!! I was just reading through some reviews on Goodreads and saw that someone mentioned there was a family tree shown in the beginning of the book. It probably would’ve helped me a lot more if I saw this to begin with. Anyway…

Overall, it wasn’t a terrible book, it just didn’t do anything for me. On the plus side, I finished it in two sittings so it’s a quick read if that helps!

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