Sunday, November 4, 2012

Falling Together by Marisa de los Santos — 384 pgs

Pen Calloway has just received an email that will change her life. Six years have passed since her two closest friends decided that it would be best for the threesome to split apart and lead separate lives. Now Pen is alone, living with a young daughter, the product of an affair that went south. When Pen opens her inbox and finds an urgent message from her old friend Cat, she quickly decides that she must attend her ten-year high school reunion and meet Cat there. What Pen discovers when she arrives is that Will, the last piece of that triangular friendship, also got an email from Cat. But things are not what they seem, and when Will and Pen begin an earnest search for the woman who sent the email, they must team up with a man whom they both have negative feelings for while also realizing that there are some unresolved feelings between each other as well. The journey they take is both physical, mental and metaphorical, and along the way, each of them will come to see how life can rip people apart but can also glue them back together again. As Pen and Will discover, some things cannot be changed but others cannot be stopped. In this novel of searching and discovery, de los Santos takes her readers on a journey through the narrow passages of the heart—the place where things fall apart, and fall back together again.

This was my first time reading a book by de los Santos. Though I’ve heard many rave over her talents as an author, including Sandy and Heather, I’ve not gotten the chance to read any of her work before now. Most reviewers have decided that this is not her strongest book, and my sentiments on it lead me to believe that if de los Santos can write better than this, she must indeed be amazing. I’m looking forward to exploring more of her work in the future.

De los Santos has a great grasp of character. Though it took me awhile to warm up to Pen and Will, and though I thought Cat was extremely selfish, I eventually felt a lot of attachment to the first two. They had an easy relationship fit, kind of like putting on your most comfortable jeans. They had a huge psychic bond, and though this bothered others in the novel, it made me realize that they were made for each other. Of course, it wasn’t that easy because of their history, but overall, I felt that these were two people who really *got* one another. There were levels of dysfunction surrounding them, but what remained pure were their intentions towards each other and Cat.

Cat was the wildcard in this situation. She never really felt fleshed out to me, and despite the fact that Will and Pen loved her so much, she seemed both manipulative and a little cold. I know that I wouldn’t have gone to the ends of the earth to track her down, that’s for sure, and I just didn’t buy into the fact that Pen and Will had been so connected to her. She seemed like a grown-up child, complete with tantrums and very vicious behavior towards her husband—who I frankly thought was too good for her, though he was sort of a schlub. I found her to be a bit repulsive, and wondered why so many people cared so deeply for her when she seemed to care for no one at all but herself.

This is a book that centers around relationships: the kinds we hope and dream of, and the kinds that we overlook. De los Santos has a clear grasp of the myriad of relationships that people can have with each other and the struggles they will go through to maintain those relationships. Like children, Pen and Will avoided the obvious, and this set them up for a lot of strife and a few heart-wrenching moments. In the end, what is lost has been found, but there are no easy answers for the elusive Cat. This didn’t really bother me because she felt like an extemporaneous character and really brought out negative feelings from me.

If you’re in search of a story of journeys taken and difficult paths that are overcome, this is a book you will want to read. Though all the characters aren’t as loveable as one would hope, I think de los Santos gives her readers a lot of warmth and emotion in the characters that she chooses to focus on in this book. As I said before, I’ll be reading more from this author. Her gentle story had a lot of bite, and it reached me in a way that not many books do. Recommended.

Author Photo About the Author

Marisa de los Santos is a New York Times bestselling author and an award-winning poet with a Ph.D. in literature and creative writing. She lives in Delaware with her husband, David Teague, and their son and daughter.


TLC Book Tours A warm thanks to TLC Book Tours for providing this book for me to read and review. Please continue to follow the tour by visiting these other blogs:

Tuesday, October 2nd:Reflections of a Bookaholic
Wednesday, October 3rd:Reading Lark
Thursday, October 4th:girilichef
Friday, October 5th:The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader
Monday, October 8th:A Reader of Fictions
Tuesday, October 9th:A Patchwork of Books
Wednesday, October 10th:No More Grumpy Bookseller
Thursday, October 11th:The Feminist Texican [Reads]
Friday, October 12th:Book Spark
Monday, October 15th:Books and Movies
Tuesday, October 16th:Kritters Ramblings
Thursday, October 18th:Between the Covers
Monday, October 22nd:Silver & Grace
Wednesday, October 24th:Book Hooked Blog
Thursday, October 25th:My Bookshelf
Friday, October 26th:Iwriteinbooks’s blog
Monday, October 29th:Lit and Life
Tuesday, October 30th:The Book Bag
Monday, November 5th:Raging Bibliomania
TBD:Book Journey

This book was provided as a complimentary review copy.


(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

I like the way you made this sound. I had passed on it initially, but since I did like her first novel, I might try this one at some point as well. Thanks Heather.

Brooke said...

I've never read anything by this author either, but she sounds like one I need to add to my TBR list. I love books with intricate relationships. Great review!

Mary (Bookfan) said...

I also liked her first novel so I'll add this to my TBR list. Great review!

Jenners said...

I definitely didn't think this was her strongest book ... be sure to check out the first two (they are related so read them in order).

Mystica said...

I've read one novel of hers. This one is going on my TBR

rhapsodyinbooks said...

This was definitely a disappointment for me, but I don't know how I would have felt if it had been my first book by this author!

Beth F said...

I've never read any of her books but I've had her on my list for a while. I like books about relationships and I don't have to love the characters if they are well formed.

Peppermint Ph.D. said...

I haven't read anything by this author yet, but sounds like I'm missing something :) I'm a sucker for characters I can care about and miss when the story is over :) Enjoyed your review :)

Sandy Nawrot said...

Her first two books are absolute MAGIC (read Love Walked In, then Belong To Me). And if you can do them on audio, even better. Because of this, I was a little disappointed in this book but it was still really good. Her first two books are just a tough act to follow.

Darlene said...

I think I have the audio of this from the library and am looking forward to it. That or I know I have the book. I'm glad you enjoyed it. It makes me want to get to it sooner.

Harvee said...

Sounds like a book well worth reading.

Suko said...

Lovely review! I enjoy books that focus mostly on relationships and I think I'd relish this book, or another, by this famous author.

Athira said...

It sounds like this book is intriguing though a few aspects were not fully developed. I don't know if it will work for me, for exactly the reasons you mentioned but if I come across this book, I will give it a try.

Audra said...

Hmm, I'm not quite sure this is for me -- but it sounds a little like Sarah Allen Addison -- a surprise hit for me! I might have to consider this one...

Ti said...

She does have a firm grasp of characters. I read one of her other books and enjoyed it. I haven't gotten to this one yet.

Anonymous said...

It's interesting that you didn't think Cat was a full character! I had some problems with the book, but I thought Cat's characterization was very good -- I feel like I've known that exact sort of person in my life before. You like them because they're lovable, even though they do things that make you sad and angry.

Anyway YES. Marisa de los Santos's other books are miles more wondrous than Falling Together and YES she is indeed amazing. I think you would love Love Walked In. It's one of my favorite books in all the land.

Jennifer | Mrs Q Book Addict said...

I have this one but I haven't had a chance to read it yet. I'm also new to this author.

Amy said...

I'm so pleased to hear that you enjoyed this because I really want to read her books!

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you liked this one, Heather! I enjoyed it but absolutely LOVED the first two. You definitely will want to make reading those books a priority. :)

Anonymous said...

I read and enjoyed another of de los Santos' books and I agree that she really makes readers care about the characters. Glad you enjoyed this one!

Aarti said...

I've never read de los Santos, either, but based on your review above and Jenny's comment here, I think I must add her to my list! I shall look into Love Walked In. That's not a book title that would generally get my attention, but if you like this author so much and Jenny likes that book so much, then it seems like one I should try.

kay - Infinite Shelf said...

I only read one of her books (Love Walked In) and absolutely adored it. I have heard many says that this isn't her strongest but I still plan on read it. I'm glad to hear you liked it, and I think you should absolutely give her other books a try!

Lisa said...

I think I liked the one because I love the idea of having such a deep friendship with a group of people. I agree with your thoughts about Cat but then I also know that there are people that other people just gravitate to, sometimes inexplicably. It would have helped the story if Jason hadn't turned out to be such a sclub, if readers could have understood what made Cat marry him in the first place.

Marg said...

I liked this book, but it wasn't as good as her other two books which were amazing! I do agree that Cat was a weak link in terms of characterisation. I am glad that I read it though

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