on April 27th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Diversity, Romance, Young Adult
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The new YA sensation from bestselling author of Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants, Ann Brashares. Perfect for fans of Zoella, Nicola Yoon, Jennifer Niven and Cathy Cassidy.
Ray and Sasha share a bedroom, they have overlapping circles of friends and the same sisters - but they've never met.
Once, Sasha's dad and Ray's mum were married, and had three daughters. But the marriage crumbled. Now there are two new families with two new children, Sasha and Ray, and during the summer months they alternate sharing a rambling beach house.
Teenagers now, Ray and Sasha find themselves becoming more and more curious about each other.When they finally meet, it's a summer filled with romance and secrets...and a tragedy that will break or heal their families for ever.
I was actually super excited to pick up The Whole Thing Together because I love family sagas and this one had an extremely interesting premise. The book follows Sasha, the daughter of Robert and Evie, and Ray, the son of Lila and Adam. Even though they have completely different sets of parents, they are linked together through their three older sisters who were from Robert and Lila’s earlier marriage. Even though they share an incredibly close bond, Sasha and Ray have never met because of a lengthy feud between Robert and Lila who go to great lengths to avoid each other or outdo each other when they are forced to interact. Sasha and Ray were born 2 weeks apart and have shared the same bedroom and bathroom in a beach house for the entire 17 years of their existences, switching back and forth every second week. They’ve known each other through their living habits, hobbies and the books that they’ve read throughout the years but are now longing to get to know each other in a way that they never have before. Meanwhile, there are family secrets that threaten to tear the family apart…
That was a pretty terrible description of the synopsis but there’s so much that goes on in this book and so many perspectives to follow that it’s a little hard to encapsulate all the themes and narratives in a short description. But I really loved that we got to follow so many perspectives and I enjoyed getting to know each and every character. It was really interesting to see how the family situations affected the different members of each family and I felt like these family dynamics were the stand out aspect of this novel. I thought they were developed well for the most part, despite some instances being a bit predictable, and kept me engaged throughout the whole book.
When it came to your own family, it was hard to remember how weird they were.
The main reason why I was glad that the book focused on all of the family members, rather than just Sasha and Ray, was because I wasn’t a big fan of our lead characters. I didn’t find them to be that engaging or interesting and I actually found their relationship to be a little bit awkward and uncomfortable. Despite being told constantly that they weren’t related, it felt a bit incestuous to me… and I just thought the whole romance was unnecessary. There were plenty of other relationships in the book that I was much more captivated by and would have liked to have seen more of. In addition to the discomfort that I felt, I just found the whole situation to be a little bit farfetched. Even though they had been to big family events like graduations and recitals together, they never got the chance to meet because they sat on opposite sides of the hall? And they never sought each other out even though they both live in the same city and have overlapping circles of friends? I was just kind of confused.
Having said that, I really did enjoy the writing style and found it to be easy to read but not basic in style. I really liked the pacing of the book and how the words flowed off the page. And ultimately, I was happy with the way that it ended even though there were some things towards the end that I was definitely not a fan of at all.
I love stories about families and The Whole Thing Together had great family dynamics and a really interesting premise. However, there were some relationships in the book that I couldn’t connect with and those took away from the story. But if you’re looking for a summer contemporary read that is a little more dark and less on the fluffy side, this might be one for you.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5