Advance praise for The Whole Thing Together:
“A gorgeously written novel on love, loss and family.”
—Nicola Yoon, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Everything, Everything
- “Masterful.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review
Ann Brashares, beloved author of the bestselling The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series, which has sold over 8.7 million copies in all formats, is back with another unforgettable story about fractured families, first love, and loss in her latest novel, THE WHOLE THING TOGETHER (Delacorte Press / on sale April 25, 2017 / $18.99), which carries a first printing of 100,000 copies. Readers will feel the sand between their toes and smell the salty air of Brashares’s Long Island beach town setting, which serves as the backdrop for Sasha and Ray’s unusual and budding relationship.
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. Booklist hailed THE WHOLE THING TOGETHER as “quintessential Brashares,” and fans of Brashares’s work as well as new readers will dive wholeheartedly into this original story that is a love letter to romance, summertime, and family—no matter how unconventional they may be.
Ann Brashares is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series, The Here and Now,3 Willows, The Last Summer (of You & Me), and My Name Is Memory. She lives in New York City with her family. Visit Ann’s website at AnnBrashares.com and follow on Twitter @AnnBrashares.
To me, the name Ann Brashares means The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. That series beckons thoughts of friendships, girlfriends, girls supporting girls, having each other to cling to in good times and in bad. It was with this lingering spirit of female empowerment and friendship that I opened The Whole Thing Together and began reading.
From the first chapter, I was met with themes that made me personally uncomfortable–with an obsession on skin color and the “other” and the shock value of marrying an Indian man presented to Grandpa Harrison. This isn’t just mentioned in passing, it’s brought up repeatedly throughout the novel. In this day and age, these references feel dates and, quite frankly, racist.
Since Sisterhood presented such positive female empowerment, I was also surprised to read that so much female enmity. I know that it was a point of resolution in the plot, but seeing as I’m naturally drawn to positive plots and characters (unless they’re the villains), I was also put off by this.
There was some interesting plot building methods with multiple points of view, slowing building of the arc of the story. Unfortunately, for me personally, there were ultimately points that just weren’t for me and that I couldn’t get past.
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March 22: Here’s to Happy Endings
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