Book Review : The Whole Thing Together by Ann Brashares

May 18, 2017 Book review 7 ★★½

When I saw the lovely summery cover on The Whole Thing Together by Ann Brashares, I was smitten!  Then I saw there was a Long Island setting, and I got even more excited.  It seemed like the perfect beach read.

Book Review : The Whole Thing Together by Ann BrasharesThe Whole Thing Together by Ann Brashares
Published by Delacorte Press on April 25th 2017
Genres: Coming of Age, Contemporary, Family Life, YA Contemporary
Pages: 304
Format: ARC
Source: NetGalley

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.

ARC REVIEW Young Adult

First Line of The Whole Thing Together by Ann Brashares

“The smell of home for him, more than anything else, was the smell of a girl he didn’t know.”

My Thoughts on The Whole Thing Together by Ann Brashares

Initially I loved the book, and I was already gravitating towards a 4, maybe 4.5 star review.  The characters were lively, unique and quirky, and so quickly won my heart.  So much potential here; fiercely complicated family relationships, divided loyalties and a Long Island setting. And I did really like the characters. But, somewhere between plot and execution, I lost interest.

It tells the story of one very complicated family.  There are 3 sisters and one half-sister on one side.  Then another half-brother on another side.  Throw in a few step siblings, and then the fact that the half-brother on one side, and the half-sister on the other side have no connection to each other.  I floundered in confusion!  Thankfully a helpful family tree sorted it all out.

“It was hard keeping the love and hate separate in their family.”

You would think with such a large cast that it would be easy to mix characters up.  But it says a lot, that all are so unique that I was never confused.  So huge thumbs up for the characters.  The setting was a bit of a disappointment for me.  I thought it would feature lots of beach time, but it didn’t.  I felt the setting could have been a house anywhere, and that fell a little flat for me.

But my biggest bone of contention was the plot.  I just didn’t love it.  As much as I took the characters to heart, the plot failed to grip me.  It should have been moving and emotional, but I felt neither of those.

Overall it started off amazing, but failed to hold my attention.  Disappointing, but it happens.

Rating Report
Did I feel it?
Overall: three-stars


Who should read The Whole Thing Together by Ann Brashares?

As I didn’t love it, I’m cautiously recommending it to those that love character-driven YA contemporary reads.  You may end up loving it a lot more than I did.  If you are a fan of Jessi Kirby or E. Lockhart, you might also enjoy.

Thanks to NetGalley and Random House Children’s Books for giving me a copy of this book for review consideration. As always, no matter what the source of the book, you get my honest, unbiased opinion.



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7 Responses to “Book Review : The Whole Thing Together by Ann Brashares”

  1. Dena @ Batch of Books

    Oh no! Too bad you didn’t like this better. I had such high hopes for it, but I wasn’t too crazy about her last book so maybe my hopes were unfounded. I’ll probably still read it, though. 🙂

  2. La La in the Library

    I loved the cover of the book, so I came to read your review. Sorry you didn’t like it as much as when you started reading it. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. 🙂

  3. Amy

    This book definitely sounds interesting; it’s too bad you didn’t like it all that much! I absolutely loved The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, how about you?
    I believe I also got a copy of this as an ARC from netgalley… whoops? They’re so hard to keep up with, ack! Anyway, great review! #getsocial17
    Amy recently posted…Time in a Bottle: An Unexpectedly Interesting Read!

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