This week I read Falling Together by Marisa de los Santos. This is the second book of hers I have read. You can read my post about Belong to Me here.
I tend to favor character-driven books. De los Santos's characters are so endearing, unique, and complex, yet the issues they face are universal. The three main characters in Falling Together meet the first day of college their freshman year. Penelope (Pen) Calloway, a tall, willowy beauty, leaves her English lecture in tears, not because of Beowulf's fate, but because her mascara is running down her face. She finds a pretty, fae-like girl named Cat having a seizure in the bathroom. Pen panics and grabs the first sweatshirt in the hallway and drags it into the ladies' room. The sweatshirt belongs to Will, and he takes charge of the situation and helps Cat. The three form a strong friendship that lasts throughout their college years.
Six years after graduation, Pen is living with her brother, Jamie. She is still dismayed that Will and Cat separately walked out on her shortly after graduation, and so much has transpired in the interim. Her father has died, and Pen has a five year old daughter. Cat grieves for all she has lost, and she is stunned and elated when Cat sends an email requesting Pen's attendance at their college reunion. When Pen and Will arrive on campus, Cat is a no-show, but her obnoxious husband is there. He influences Pen and Will to travel across the world with him.
The plot, partly told in flashback, builds to reveal why the best friends parted ways. To me, this story is personal and touching as friends come and go in and out of our lives. We graduate, move, marry, have children, change neighborhoods, churches, and play groups. But usually we do have what my friend Susan calls "touchstone friends." They are friends we had when we were young, and no matter what, no mater the distance, they are always there for us. That is why this novel moved me to tears. Pen, Cat, and Will should have remained touchstone friends, and I so badly yearned for a positive resolution while reading the book.
I highly recommend Falling Together. Marisa de los Santos writes about relationships better than anyone. You will not be disappointed in her books. But be forewarned: you might be compelled to call, email, google, or Facebook stalk college friends you have not heard from in years! ;P
Until next time...