Falling Together – Book Review and 2 Book Giveaway

Out of the blue sky and after more than six years of waiting – because no matter how hard she had tried not to wait, that is exactly what she’d been doing – Pen had been summoned. As soon as the merry-go-round inside her head slowed its whirling and jangling enough for her to think anything, she though, Oh, Cat, followed by Finally. – from Falling Together, page 5 –

Pen, Cat and Will all met in college and almost instantaneously became best friends. But, then, their friendship fell apart. Now, six years later, both Will and Pen receive a mysterious email from Cat asking them to come to their tenth year college reunion because she “needs” them. Anxious, but eager to see Cat, they make the trip. Within moments of reuniting, Pen and Will resume their old friendship filled with warmth and conversation and something else which neither of them have yet acknowledged. But Cat is not at the reunion and instead her childish, somewhat hostile husband, Jason, confronts the two friends. Before they know it,  both Pen and Will (with Jason in tow) find themselves on a search for their old friend, uncovering secrets, and discovering who they have become in the years between college and now.

Because Cat had said that she needed her, Pen had left Augusta, and now here she stood, mute and rigid as a stump, her head full of noise, remembering the curve of her child’s perfect skull in her hand, and waiting for someone who was either taking her damn time (Pen hadn’t worn a watch in years and her satin wristlet bag was too small for her phone, so she didn’t know how long she had been waiting, but knew it was unforgivably long) or who was never arriving at all. God, I must be insane, she though, or stupid. And then she turned her face – what was it? fifteen degrees? ten? less? – and saw Will. –  from Falling Together, page 96 –

Marisa de los Santos creates characters that are warm, flawed, and oh so real. It is one reason why I have loved her books. Falling Together is no exception. Pen, still reeling from her father’s death and raising her daughter alone, holds onto the fantasy that she, Will and Cat will be able to recapture their old friendships. Will, now a children’s author, regrets having left Pen behind all those years ago. And Cat, perhaps the most mysterious of the characters, has plunged ahead with her life and found independence.

The writing in this novel is witty and vivid. de los Santos was educated as a poet, and her prose often resonates with lyricism and beautiful description.

She licked the salt off her lips and wrapped her arms around herself, rocked by awe and the ocean, as the jackfish swirled beneath her like a typhoon or a galaxy or a like a swirling school of silver fish. – from Falling Together, page 304 –

The themes of friendship, love, and human connection are strong in the novel. Those readers who enjoyed the character interactions in de los Santos’s previous novels, will not be disappointed with the unspooling relationships in Falling Together. I found myself caught up in the lives of Pen and Will, Jason and Cat – I wanted to see them find happiness and friendship. I really did not want to see their stories end.

Marisa de los Santos has written a book full of heart and joy, and also laughter.

Recommended to those readers who have enjoyed this author’s previous books, and for readers who love women’s fiction.

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FTC Disclosure: This book was sent to me by the publisher for review on my blog.


Marisa de los Santos is the New York Times bestselling author of Love Walked In, and Belong to Me. She has also published a poetry collection called From the Bones Out. Born in Baltimore, de los Santos grew up in Virginia then went on to study at UVA, Sarah Lawrence, and The University of Houston where she studied poetry. She is married to children’s book author, David Teague. They live with their two children Charles in Wilmington, Delaware.


I am very happy to be able to offer TWO copies of Falling Together as a giveaway through the publisher. Here is how to enter:

  • Contest open ONLY to US Mailing Addresses.
  • Click here to take survey before 5:00 pm PST on October 16, 2011.
  • I will draw two winners sometime on October 17th and announce their names here on my blog

Good luck!

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    • Kay on October 8, 2011 at 10:07

    I loved her other books and I’m really looking forward to reading this new one. I know that some have been a bit disappointed, but I’m still excited to visit this author’s beautiful way of telling a story.

    • DarcyO on October 8, 2011 at 10:53

    This one’s on my TBR list. Thanks for the chance.

  1. I’m so excited about this book I can hardly stand it!

  2. I have heard varying things about this book, and some seem to think it wasn’t quite as good as her first two books. I haven’t ever tried any of her books, but it sounds like this one is still pretty awesome, and I am glad that you enjoyed it so much. Thanks for so generously hosting this giveaway as well!

  3. It is so rare, and so hard, for a poet to make the transition to a successful commercial novelist. I admire her abilities.

  4. I have been hearing good things about this author for a while, so I think I am going to give her a try.

    • Wendy on October 9, 2011 at 09:26

    Kay: Obviously I loved this book – and I am not sure why the book is getting such negative reviews. I just love how Santos writes. I would read the backs of cereal boxes if she wrote the blurbs 🙂

    Darcy: Good luck!

    Kathy: Hope you love it!

    Heather: I was nervous when I started seeing the bad reviews…but I ended up really loving this book and I think it is really just as good as her previous work. But I seem to be in the minority!

    Beth: I agree – although I have read other novels by writers who have started out as poets and also loved their work (Owen Sheers comes to mind – I reviewed his debut novel here: http://www.caribousmom.com/2008/03/07/resistance-book-review/)

    Kailana: I hope you’ll love her work!

    • Amy on October 9, 2011 at 10:50

    I have Falling Together on my nightstand and I’m looking forward to reading it. I haven’t read any of the author’s books yet and since I also have Belong to Me on my bookshelf somewhere, I’m thinking of purchasing Loved Walked In and reading all of them! I’ve read rave reviews of Marisa de los Santos’ first two books and wonderful reviews, like yours for this book, so it sounds like a good plan to me.

    Thank you for a great review, it’s made me excited to read Falling Together!

    • Wendy on October 25, 2011 at 08:42

    Amy: I really love her writing style – and I hope you do too!

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