Belong to Me, by Marisa de los Santos
3.5/5 (and I have decided I am allowed to do halves….my blog, my rules) seems to be my standard for, I liked it, I’d recommend it, it’s not life-changing. Which means Belong to Me was a pretty solid book! It wasn’t a book that I had really heard about but I found it on Goodreads and it had been sitting on my “to-read” shelf forever. When I was making my summer reading list I decided to throw it on there to provide something light and sweet (isn’t that the name of a coffee sweetener?). Well, I was pleasantly surprised because when I posted my reading list on Blogher, several of the comments were about Belong to Me and how much people love this book and author, so I was excited to try it out!
A few people mentioned that Belong to Me is actually a follow up to Love Walked In, and although I wouldn’t be lost without having read the first book, it would add more perspective to some of the characters. Well, in the name of laziness, because I had already checked out and begun reading Belong to Me, I decided to forge ahead without having the background information from Love Walked In. I agree that I wasn’t confused or missing any information, but now I definitely want to read de los Santos’ other books! That’s another reason I was excited about this book–it’s fun to find a new author.
The book weaves together the stories of three individuals: Cornelia, the principal protagonist who’s just moved to the suburbs from New York City and is feeling a bit out of place, Piper, stepford-wife-ish, type-A to the extreme, and dealing with the fact that her best friend has terminal cancer, and Dev, a quiet, smart, thoughtful teenager who’s just moved to town with his single mom for reasons that he doesn’t quite understand–but will become clearer as the story progresses. While these three characters would initially seem to have nothing in common, lo and behold, their lives and stories intertwine and affect one another in ways that none of them could have possibly foreseen when they all moved into the same neighborhood.
My introduction to the characters is making this book sound a little cheesy and melodramatic. It IS a little cheesy, but in a well-written, happy-ending sort of way. Marissa de los Santos was a poet first, so she is a fan of somewhat flowery language, but it didn’t really become too noticeable until the very end of the book, when it got to be a little much for me. And without giving anything away, I will say that there was one story-line I was a lot more interested in than the others, and I wish that hadn’t sort of faded out by the end (but that’s always the case with these “lots of stories/perspectives that intertwine” books. Is there a name for that literary device? Please tell me what it is if so). There’s a twist about 2/3 of the way through the book that seemed a little out of the blue, but de los Santos did a good job of tying it all together by the end, albeit in a slightly rushed and maybe not super realistic way.
All in all, I would definitely recommend this book if you’re in the mood for something somewhat easy, but still containing some substance and heart. It’s poignant, funny, and interest-holding without the commitment of a suspenseful story line. Now, onto conquering the rest of my summer reading list in the six weeks left of summer!
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