Friday, October 28, 2011

Book Review: "Falling Together" by Marisa de los Santos

The irony isn't lost on me that Marisa de los Santos' new book, Falling Together, centers around three once-inseparable college friends who come back into each other's lives several years later, because the return of Marisa de los Santos with a new novel felt a little like a reunion to me. Like her earlier novels, Love Walked In and Belong to Me, there's so much more to this book than meets the eye, and as I tore my way through it, I felt many of the same emotions her characters did.

Pen (short for Penelope), Will, and Cat met in college. "Met cute," they liked to say, when Will and Pen came to Cat's aid when she was in the middle of an epileptic seizure in a university bathroom. Pen was the idealist, Cat the flighty one, Will the steadfast one. The three were inseparable for a number of years (often at the expense of romantic relationships any tried to pursue), until one day, Cat decided to get married and determined that in order to have any chance at a successful marriage, she needed to end her friendship with Pen and Will. Shortly thereafter, Will left Pen, because he said he didn't know how to be friends with just her. Will and Pen both got on with their lives, until one day just before their 10-year college reunion, both received an email from Cat saying she needed help and begged them to come to the reunion. The email sent their lives into disarray, and is the catalyst for an interesting, sometimes frustrating and heartbreaking, journey.

Some have referred to de los Santos' novels as "chick lit," because they're books about relationships and love, but I believe that doing so denigrates the quality of her writing and her storytelling ability. Her use of language is almost poetic and she develops characters that seem fairly simple on the surface but are truly complex, flawed, unique people. While some of the directions the story takes are a little overly dramatic, the book pulls you in emotionally and makes you want to get invested in the story. I thought this book was fantastic, and you can't go wrong with either of her other books. Take the chance—you won't regret it.

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