Mini Reviews: Unconventional Families and Baseball Romance
Today, I thought I would share a couple of mini reviews for books that I’ve read recently. Sometimes I can’t write a full review for a book simply because I don’t have a lot to say. Both of these books share some of the same themes of family, friendship and coming of age.
The Whole Thing Together by Ann Brashares
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.
The Whole Thing Together:
I received an e-arc of The Whole Things Together by Ann Brashares from Delacorte via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This has in no way influenced my thoughts and feelings about the book.
I hadn’t heard much about The Whole Things Together when I picked it up. There weren’t many reviews on Goodreads, but it seemed like something that I would enjoy reading. It seemed like a summer book that explored family, friendship and romance. And it was those things, but it just wasn’t my read.
The Whole Things Together follows protagonist Sasha and Ray who have shared almost everything but have never met. They share siblings, but they are not related by blood or even by marriage. It’s all a little confused actually.
The family tree per say – just confused me the whole book. I couldn’t remember who was related to who. Who was from which family? Who was blood-related? I forgot half the time who was who just by their name. There was just far too many characters to keep track of, especially because they all come from the same by different families.
Because of this, it was hard to get to know the protagonist and even the characters. I was just trying to keep track of everything the whole point and I couldn’t connect.
However, I did like the notion of these families coming together for different reasons. Some beautiful and happy, while others were heartbreaking and torn me. It was nice to see a family who is normally very apart come together.
Overall, The Whole Things Together is a poignant novel that just didn’t hit the right spots for me. With far too many characters and storylines to keep track off. I was confused most of the time. It explores the notions of romance, family and finding yourself.
Swinging At Love (Suttonville Sentinels #2) by Kendra C. Highley
Outfielder Tristan Murrell has a problem. As the number two slugger for the Suttonville Sentinels, his team is counting on him to make their very first run at the state championship. But he has a secret–his swing has totally deserted him. As in, he can’t hit anything. He needs to fix the issue, and fast, but how?
Ballerina Alyssa Kaplan has a problem, too. The shiny new sports complex in town has left her family’s batting cage business on the verge of going under. Nailing her audition for a prestigious dance company is everything, but there’s no way she’s letting her some shiny big-box company destroy her family’s livelihood.
Tristan needs a miracle. So does Alyssa. And maybe, just maybe, Tristan’s secret weapon might be the girl of his dreams…
Swinging At Love:
I received an e-arc of Swinging in Love by Kendra C. Highley from Entangled: Crush via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This has in no way influenced my thoughts and feelings about the book.
I am not sure why I picked this one up. I read book 1 in this series and really didn’t like it. But, this one sounded more like my thing and thought I should give it a go. And even though I liked it more than The Bad Boy Bargain, I still didn’t love it.
Swinging in Love follows protagonists Tristan and Alyssa who come together and are in for one hell of a ride. Tristan is an outfielder for his baseball team, but something is wrong. His swing is off and if he doesn’t fix it – he will be off the team. Alyssa gave up softball for ballet and she is great at it. But ball is still in her blood and with her father’s batting cage falling to pieces, so is she.
I enjoy the romance aspects of Swinging in Love. Tristan and Alyssa were adorable together and I like how they had some downfalls, but they were there for each other. However, I felt that both protagonists didn’t have a great arc and I wanted more from them as a whole.
Family was a big theme in Swinging in Love. While Alyssa’s family would give up anything for each other. Tristan’s was a lot harder to get around. I really enjoyed seeing these two different views on families. And that is what we need in YA. Yes, some families are great, while there are others that have trouble.
Overall, Swinging in Love was an okay read. I read it over a couple of hours, but I didn’t really get anything out of it. I didn’t feel that the protagonists had a great enough character arc. And while I loved the romance and family aspects, the story feel flat for me.
Have you read any of these two books? What did you think of them? Are you planning on reading these books? Have you read any books by these authors before? Let’s Chat!