By: Ann Brashares
Published Year: 2017
Publisher: Delacorte Press
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I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This in no way shape or form influenced my opinion.
Summary (Provided by Goodreads): 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.
Yay! I am such a huge fan of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series, so I was excited to see a new book by Brashares. Her name coupled with the cover caught my eye on Netgalley and I knew immediately that I needed to read this book.
What I thought
This is the story of a family. A very confusing and complicated family. Lila and Robert used to be married. Together they had three daughters, Emma, Quinn, and Mattie. Now divorced, Lila is married to Adam with whom she had Ray and Robert is married to Evie with whom he had Sasha. Ray and Sasha were born weeks apart and have lived seemingly parallel lives. While some divorces are amicable, this one was anything but. Lila and Robert live completely separate lives; so much so that Ray and Sasha have never met. Each family shares a summer home in the Hamptons on a weekly rotation. Ray and Sasha have shared the same bedroom for their entire lives, only knowing each other through what they left in the room.
I liked the idea of the story, but the execution was lacking. There was also a shocking moment that occurred about 80% of the way through the book that to me, felt cheap and unnecessary. This book could have been so much more interesting if it hadn’t fallen into some overdone tropes.
I also struggled with the switches in perspective. Now, I did have an Advanced Reviewer’s Copy, so I’m hoping that part of the difficulty was due to the formatting. It seemed to switch from person to person with no warning and a little too often for my tastes. I also felt like we didn’t need all of the perspectives. I think it takes a lot to make a book with 5 perspectives to work, and unfortunately this one just missed the mark for me. The thing that I think bums me out the most is that Brashares can do a multiple setting story so much better than this. Sisterhood had 4 rotating perspectives but they were much more developed and separate which made them work.
Ray and Sasha share sisters but are not related, and like I mentioned, have never met. I liked the uniqueness of their relationship, but felt like the romantic twist it took was lost within all of the other storylines. If the book had just been from their perspectives and focused on building their relationship, I would have loved it. However, it becomes such a side story that it ends up not making sense. I also got a bit confused between which thoughts were from which person. I liked that the point was that they were so similar even though they were so different, but they were too (unrealistically) similar.
My final straw with this book was the ending. Again, I’m hoping this is an ARC issue, but it seemed like the story just ended. I kept pressing the screen to see if another page would appear but nope, that was the ending.
By: Ann Brashares