Ann Brashares' New Book Features Life Themes That Are Familiar for Many in the Ya Audience

Updated on April 28, 2017
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Cindy Hewitt is a retired teacher with a passion for children's literature. Read-aloud stories add quality to a child's life experiences.

Ann Brashares is Back with an Engaging Story of Familiar Life Events

Ann Brashares is back with her new book The Whole Thing Together featuring poignant themes that almost everyone in the YA audience will relate to. Step-families now make up a majority of how families are structured in our society today. Brashares writes a charming story of Sasha and Ray who are caught up in a relationship of first love after knowing each other as part of a step-family. Sasha's dad had been married to Ray's mom, and their childhood was filled with memories of playing together, good times at the beach house, and reading the same books. They share three other half sisters. Now there are two separate families and everyone has moved on with their lives. New marriages have brought new challenges to all and Ray finds himself wanting to reconnect with Sasha. Sasha finds herself also wanting to reconnect with someone she knew as Ray.

Brashares writes of complicated family dynamics as all of the siblings and step-siblings grow to be young adults. All of their lives are entwined forever with special memories of childhood. Brashare's creative descriptions of Ray's and Sasha's fantasies of meeting again are engaging and the meeting finally comes together in a surprising way. Romance blooms at the conclusion of this enthralling story of young love, family drama in today's society, and YA readers will find this new book to be a great summer read.

The Whole Thing Together was published by Delacorte Press and is recommended for ages 14 and up. It has an ISBN of 978-0-385-73689-3.

Just in Time for Summer Reading for the YA Audience

Brashares is back with a great read for the summer
Brashares is back with a great read for the summer | Source

Beloved Author is Back with an Engaging New Story

Ann Brashares is the author of the bestselling The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series. Her new novel, The Whole Thing Together, brings the all-too-familiar theme of step-families and complicated family dynamics together with an engaging story that emerges from all of the complications. You may visit her website at to read about more of her works.

Bestselling Author Ann Brashares

Get acquainted with the author
Get acquainted with the author | Source

The Dynamics of Step Families

Blended or step-families comprise a large part of our society in today's world. Statistics show that step-families now outnumber all other family structures. Brashares writes in her new book of many situations that members of the YA reading audience may have encountered in their own life. Step-families provide an amazing source for learning about relationships. The lessons learned can benefit children as they grow into teenagers and young adults as Sasha and Ray did. Childhood memories were sparked as Ray sorted through items remembered as a child when Sasha and he were together at the beach house. Readers might recall their own childhood memories with step-siblings and want to reconnect with lost family members. Lessons about gender relations are also a part of learning in the dynamics of step-families. Ray and Sasha struggle with gender relations in Brashares' story.

Other points to consider about siblings who grow up in step-families are also hidden inside The Whole Thing Together. Step-kids learn resilience with the new family structure. All of Brashares' characters demonstrate their mastery of resilience as the story unfolds. The biggest problem that kids in step families face is the conflict that arises between parents and step-parents. Conversations between Brashares' characters in The Whole Thing Together reflect the reality of how these problems can be solved. Her new book is also a great read for step-parents.

"We live in the same place, but never together" is an idea to ponder for all families in our society today. The characters in The Whole Thing Together find a way to sort through this idea and a new family dynamic is born at the end of the story. This quote from the book is a good summary of how families can come together. "I like having both my parents in this house," she said. I admit it. I love both of you. I love both my families."

An Idea to Ponder

Brashare's theme that can bring step-families together
Brashare's theme that can bring step-families together

Families Blend In a Variety of Ways

How do you manage your blended family?

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