In the big stack of books I got for Christmas was Falling Together by Marisa de los Santos. I first encountered this author when I read her second book Belong to Me. I didn’t know it at the time, but it was the sequel to another book and, when I finally realized it, I felt cheated that I didn’t read the first book, umm, first. So when I saw she had a new book out, I put it on my list for Santa.
Falling Together is about three friends, Cat, Will, and Pen, who met in college and were inseparable for years. Then one of them (Cat) leaves suddenly, leaves the city, leaves the friendship, just leaves. Will and Pen are left behind to figure out how to go on. The shift in their dynamics makes it impossible to recover and Pen and Will end up parting ways also.
Years pass with no interaction between the friends until one day Pen and Will receive emails from Cat saying she needs their help and to meet her at their ten-year college reunion. Once there, Pen and Will reunite to help save Cat, but find things aren’t always as they seem.
This story is about love, how our pasts haunt us, truly great friends, and family. It’s about overcoming heartbreak, dreaming about a better future, and chasing what you know to be right.
I loved this book. It was a little longer than I felt necessary, but it was still worth the time. De los Santos, according to the back cover, has a Ph.D in literature and creative writing. I don’t know if she finished that up in between writing Belong to Me and Falling Together, but it would make sense if she did because this book seemed to be much more wordy than the last one. There were parts where I skipped whole paragraphs because I got bored with the descriptions and long details that truly weren’t important to the story. But other than that, I loved what this book was about. The essence was inspiring, fun, and hopeful.
One part that stuck with me long after I finished reading was when Will was talking to his mom about his father and how he struggled to forgive him after everything his father had done to him.
“How, though?” Will persisted.
“I did for your dad what I did for me,” she’d said. “I didn’t decide that his behavior wasn’t that bad or erase the memory of it from my mind, but I threw away the idea that he was a monster. I acknowledged his humanness. There’s a light inside every human being; I chose to honor his inner light.”
“When?” asked Will. “How long did it take?”
His mother had given him a crooked smile and said, “When? Every morning when I get up and every night before I go to bed. Same as I do for myself.”
I don’t know if that is beautiful in-and-of itself or it just hit home for me personally, but I found that idea, that constant remembering to forgive very powerful. To forgive again and again because everyone deserves it really stayed with me. And I’m thankful for that lesson.
Read Falling Together. It was, like in real life, about the journey and not about the ending. And I’m all about having a great journey.