On My Bookshelf: The Whole Thing Together by Ann Brashares

July 30, 2018

In The Whole Thing Together by Ann Brashares, Ray's mother and Sasha's father were once married, but after a bitter divorce all they have left in common is the beach house and their children. Narration alternates between Ray, Sasha, and their three sisters, offering different perspectives on the same events as they find love, forgiveness, and themselves. Read on for more of my review and ideas for classroom application.
The basic plot from Amazon: 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.
In The Whole Thing Together by Ann Brashares, Ray's mother and Sasha's father were once married, but after a bitter divorce all they have left in common is the beach house and their children. Narration alternates between Ray, Sasha, and their three sisters, offering different perspectives on the same events as they find love, forgiveness, and themselves. Read on for more of my review and ideas for classroom application.

Why I liked it: I am a sucker for anything beach house and that is the main setting of The Whole Thing Together. Growing up I spent a week or two at the beach every other summer or so, and there's just something magical about the sun and the sand. I would have love to spend every other week there like Ray and Sasha or the whole summer like their sisters.

Ray's mother and Sasha's father were once married, but after a bitter divorce all they have left in common is the beach house and their children. I liked that the narration alternated between Ray, Sasha, and their three sisters, offering different perspectives on the same events. My favorite parts of the book were the emails between Sasha and Ray as they share a job at the local market.

Classroom application: I'd recommend The Whole Thing Together for upper middle school and up. There is one sexy scene but it is implied rather than depicted. Students who like realistic fiction and romance will love this one.

If you are interested in purchasing a copy of The Whole Thing Together for yourself, you can find it on Amazon here.

Note: The Literary Maven is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

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