Enchantingly Written // REVIEW: The Whole Thing Together by Ann Brashares

Title: The Whole Thing Together
Author: Ann Brashares
Publication Date: April 25th 2017
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Part of a Series?: No, A Standalone
I Got A Copy Through: The Publisher via NetGally (THANK YOU!)
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Blurb Description: 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. 
While I’ve watched and been inspired by Ann Brashares’ first series, Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants, I’d never actually picked up the books to read them, and hence I’ve never experienced Ann’s writing style.

Which is why that is the first thing I’m going to talk about.

The writing was so… ethereal. It was subtle yet delivered its point all the way, it narrated but didn’t bore and HOLY CRAP I could spend years just reading the way Ann wrote this book, because of regardless of my problems with it, it was GORGEOUS WRITING.  

What is this about?                   

Lila and Robert used to be married. They had three lovely daughters – Emma, Quinn and Mattie and then after an undisclosed falling out, they separated and go re-married to have children born one month apart – Ray and Sasha.

Their parents would do anything to avoid staying in the same room as each other – anything.
And so despite sharing three sisters, a house and a bedroom, Ray and Sasha have never met. They have a relationship that never existed; they’re deeply considered strangers.

Over the span of one summer, the lives of all five siblings will change. One will move on to another place, one will get married, two will fall in love and one will question who she is in a house they alternate, always split, never together.
“What if she’s unknowingly traded her greatest dread for her oldest wish?”
The things I LOVED about this book include the WRITING. Holy crap it was beautiful and enchanting and I wanted to wrap myself in it and never leave.

Another thing I LOVED was the simple complicatedness of everything. There was nothing far-fetched or unbelievable about this, and yet the web of everything was so intricately knotted that I JUST HAD TO KNOW EVERYTHING ABOUT IT. I loved the basic premise of the story (even though it took me a while to get used to the names) and the characters.

Like I said, I did have a few problems.

The first was Sasha and Ray. I didn’t have an issue with the potential half incestuous thing, but what DID BOTHER ME was that THEY WERE SO IN LOVE WITH THE IDEA OF EACH OTHER and the whole FORBIDDEN FRUIT thing that they didn’t stop to see that THEY DIDN’T KNOW EACH OTHER. In the whole book, they would have had TEN DIRECT EXCHANGES, if even that. I don’t know WHAT that conclusion of theirs was, but UGH. DID. NOT. GET. IT.

I also hated what happened at the ending. As is switch viewpoints, everyone asked Quinn, “Did you plan it like this?” BECAUSE NO. NO, SHE DIDN’T PLAN IT. WHAT SENSE DOES THAT MAKE.

All in all, I was definitely captured by the magic of Ann Brashares. A poignant, beautifully written tale on what it means to be a family. 4 stars.
Ann BrasharesAnn Brashares grew up in Chevy Chase, Maryland, with three brothers and attended a Quaker school in the D.C. area called Sidwell Friends. She studied Philosophy at Barnard College, part of Columbia University in New York City. Expecting to continue studying philosophy in graduate school, Ann took a year off after college to work as an editor, hoping to save money for school. Loving her job, she never went to graduate school, and instead, remained in New York City and worked as an editor for many years. Ann made the transition from editor to full-time writer with her first novel, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. Ann and her husband live with their three children in New York.
Have you seen/ read The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants? What did you think of it? 
Which 'sister' would you say you're the most similar to? 
Have you read this book? What did you think of it?

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