Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

Falling Together

Rate this book
What would you do if an old friend needed you, but it meant turning your new life upside down? Pen, Will, and Cat met during the first week of their first year of college and struck up a remarkable friendship, one that sustained them and shaped them for years – until it ended abruptly, and they went their separate ways. Now, six years later, Pen is the single mother of a five-year-old girl, living with her older brother in Philadelphia and trying to make peace with the sudden death of her father. Even though she feels deserted by Will and Cat, she has never stopped wanting them back in her life, so when she receives an email from a desperate-sounding Cat asking her to meet her at their upcoming college reunion, Pen goes. What happens there sends past and present colliding and sends Pen and her friends on a journey across the world, a journey that will change everything.

360 pages, Hardcover

First published October 4, 2011

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Marisa de los Santos

15 books2,929 followers
Marisa de los Santos is the New York Times bestselling author of LOVE WALKED IN, BELONG TO ME, FALLING TOGETHER, THE PRECIOUS ONE, and her newest novel, which continues with characters from the first two, I'LL BE YOUR BLUE SKY.

Marisa has also co-authored, with her husband David Teague, two novels for middle grade readers: SAVING LUCAS BIGGS and CONNECT THE STARS.

Marisa and David live in Wilmington, Delaware with their two children, Charles and Annabel, and their Yorkies, Finny and Huxley. Marisa is currently at work on her sixth novel for adults, I'D GIVE ANYTHING.

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
2,119 (18%)
4 stars
4,216 (36%)
3 stars
3,730 (32%)
2 stars
1,122 (9%)
1 star
322 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,629 reviews
Profile Image for Chris.
312 reviews
October 4, 2011
I won this book from Goodreads and was excited since I rarely win anything. A new author to me with good reveiws from her two prevoius books, I couldn't wait to read it. I really wanted to like this book, and I tried to like this book. I feel bad that it just didn't happen for me. The author has a lovely command of language to the point of being poetic; however, as the book progressed its beauty turned tedious for me and I just wanted her to get to the point she was trying to make.

The story is about 3 people that becames best friends in college only to end their friendship after college. Before their 10 year reunion Cat emails Pen and Will out of the blue that she needs them. Then started the flashbacks to lay the backstory, which at times I found confusing. I have to be honest that I stopped reading about 100 pages into the book. The characters did not come to life for me, nor did I particularly like them. Pen, who seemed to be more of the main character of the 3 friends, came across as whiny and lead me to stop reading.

If you like the coming-of-age genre with more dialogue than action, this might be a book that you might want to try.
Profile Image for Jenny.
101 reviews12 followers
December 1, 2011
For a more diplomatic review, please see the post at Hyphen.

Falling Together has the elements to make a good novel: a talented writer who excels at parsing grief and unhappiness, a lesson about the value of living in the moment and appreciating what we have, and an important warning—unhappiness lurks everywhere and we shouldn’t let it get the best of us. But it ended up being too sincere and cheesy. There was a predictable happy fairytale ending where all the lose ends are tied up but the author unnecessarily attempts to stir up drama in the final ten pages before restoring everything back to the way it was.

Three inseparable college friends separate post-college, they promise to never get involved in each others' lives, and six years later they’re all unhappy. The main character, Pen, is a single mother chasing after a married man, stuck in a dead-end job, and fixated on the absence of her dead father. Will has anger management issues because of his emotionally abusive father and his mother is on the wagon (maybe) and is dating a man old enough to be her son. Cat has run away from an unsatisfying marriage with her dopey husband, Jason, but doesn’t tell anyone where she’s going which leads Pen, Will, Jason, and Pen’s five year old daughter to pack their bags for exotic locales to find her. Sounds convoluted doesn’t it? I had trouble understanding why this motley crew would go chasing after someone who doesn’t want to be found. The author admittedly says she was wanted to write about the Philippines so the book seemed a little bit like a vehicle for reconnecting with her heritage and an excuse to recount her travels.

From Hyphen review: You can tell she is charmed by the country in her vivid descriptions of the beauty of a coral reef, the joie de vivre captured in a jeepney, and the wisdom of the lolas (grandmothers), but unfortunately all of that happens in the final quarter of the novel. I wish she wrote about the Philippines from the beginning instead of creating this convoluted reason for her characters to get there. Falling Together aligns itself with other novels in which self actualization occurs during third world travels—big epiphanies always seem to happen because third world folks have some “ancient wisdom” which teaches them how to live and that can be a little cliché.

De los Santos wanted us to fall in love with Pen and Will because she wrote some good lines for them and tried to make them sound snappy and witty but I found their dialogue too earnest and I didn’t really care about them. Pen says “holy cluck” a lot and it makes her sound immature. Perhaps she’s never been able to move into adulthood because the loss of her friends stunted her development but I don’t think De los Santos intended it to sound that way. I was also upset at Pen because she said Will could have “saved her” from her grief and that made me cringe. Why couldn’t she have saved herself? I wanted to give her a swift kick in the ass and tell her to stop being so passive and whiny.

I learned that when you and your best friends have such a freakishly strong bond that you need to move away from them to give your marriage a chance, that friendship is probably a little effed-up.
799 reviews135 followers
November 20, 2011
I would like to dedicate this review to goodreads, the existence of which motivates me to finish unredeemable books so as to rip them mercilessly.

I picked this book up because I, unlike many others, was able to check my inner snob at the door and actually enjoy her previous books. Now don't get me wrong, they were shallow, silly and adolescent, but, like having ice cream for dinner, the experience was pleasant going down, even if it was sickly sweet and notsomething you'd want to brag about. So all I was asking for was more of the same, some light, trite mediocrity. SHE DIDN'T EVEN DELIVER THAT.
Perhaps it's the childish contrarian in me, but when an author creates overblown characters I am meant to love, I will hate them. The ridiculous characters that the heroines hate? I will root for them. Worse yet, DLS draws her heroes and villains with criteria such as who (whom??) has better grammar. I am not making this up. She is such a language snob that even vocabulary is meant to distinguish good and evil.
Then there is the ridiculous premise. Three college friends break up because one is getting married and, well, if things will change their dynamic then what's the point? Real mature. So they go live their dysfunctional over the top we are just so awesome lives, never knowing what's happening with each other (in a world of Facebook this seems unlikely) and meanwhile the overly overblown amazing Cat, who got married and broke up the group, married a total jerk for no forseeable reason and runs away, prompting the two other friends to reunite in a hot pursuit of Cat all the way to the Phillipines.
I can't think of anyone I wanted to stay missing as much as this Cat, the charm of whom was lost on me, considering that she was dumb enough to marry badly and cut off her friends and refuse to be in touch. The whole thing was painfully dumb, badly executed and pretty much a waste of time.
Profile Image for Rosemary.
64 reviews4 followers
November 17, 2011
Falling Together is a love story of friendship. It is about three friends who are so close to each other that even when they are not together, they are together. Marisa de los Santos writes with a poets soul, bringing the reader into the lives of the characters with her beautiful descriptions of their lives and the world they live in.

I give this book five stars, up there with my favorite books of all time, because I love an author who can write so beautifully that your life is made better by reading the books they write.
Profile Image for Jessica J..
1,013 reviews1,918 followers
July 21, 2016
I'm not entirely sure why I decided I wanted to read this book - I was fairly lukewarm on Love Walked In, which I felt to be a cutesy story with no real depth and mediocre prose that was trying too hard. I just really wanted a quick, easy read and this is what I ended up with.

Pen, Cat, and Will meet their first week of college. Pen walks in as Cat is having a seizure in the bathroom, and Will happens to be in the hallway as Pen begins to panic. Once Cat recovers, the three are bonded for life....or the next six years when their friendship dissolves, leaving Pen lonely and struggling with a life she didn't expect for herself. A few weeks before their ten-year reunion, both Pen and Will receive a cryptic email from Cat begging them to come to the reunion because she needs them. They are initially angry when Cat doesn't show up at the reunion. Instead, it turns out that Cat's husband, Jason, wrote them the email because Cat has gone MIA and he wants their help finding her. Despite the fact that neither has spoken to cat in six years, and despite the fact that Pen and Will viciously hate Jason.

Honesty time: I gave up reading about halfway through. I got frustrated that it took nearly a third of the book just to set up the plot. de los Santos spent entirely too long rehashing the fact that these three used to be thisclose, that Pen misses her friends terribly, and she is less than satisfied with how her life has turned out. I spent the entire time just wishing we could get to the point already.

It didn't help that the characters were not as interesting as de los Santos seems to think. I felt that they were actually fairly cookie-cutter for any run-of-the-mill chick flick, and their friendship felt too forced. I get that they were close, but their interactions were just too cutesy.I hated that there was not real awkwardness between Pen and Will when they first reunite, and I had a hard time believing that Cat would ever , though maybe that was better explained after I gave up reading.

I have a hard time believing that de los Santos has a PhD in creative writing. She takes forever to deliver her exposition, and she has as much grace in doing so as a drunk elephant doing pirouettes in a room full of porcelain. The flashbacks are sandwiched in awkwardly, with nearly all of them preceded by a declaration like, "The memories came flooding back to Pen." The story occasionally shifts from Pen's point of view to Will's, but there seemed to be no consistency in this shift. It seemed like it happened just because de los Santos didn't know how else to give insight into both characters' backgrounds. And, my God, her sentences were so overwritten. I had to resist the urge to take my red pen to the book and remove half the unnecessary words.

Pen did not draw a blank or have a moment of confusion of have to read the message twice. She didn't think, Cat who? There was only one Cat. What she did was sit down on the floor between the shelves of books, shut her eyes, and press the cell phone to her sternum, against her galloping heart. 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.

The prose makes me want to stab something with a really sharp tool. That selection ought to be used in Creative Writing 101 to explain the meaning of "Purple Prose."

Pen's heart raced as she sat down on the floor between the shelves of books, shut her eyes, and pressed her cell phone to her heart. After more than six years, Cat was calling her. Was that so hard?
Profile Image for Megan.
136 reviews
March 3, 2012
Oh! It truly pains me to give this book a one. I hemmed and hawed over if it really deserved a one. I mean, it's like educated chick lit. Can't be that bad. There were some entertaining parts near the beginning I suppose. And it's not as if she is some no-talent hack. I mean, she has an MFA and a PhD for God's sake! And she is a very unique writer. I've read all of her books and I will say, I could pick a paragraph she writes out of a line-up. I don't know if that's always a good thing (seeing as I don't always like it), but there are few other authors who have such a distinctive turn of phrase.

I think she has two main problems (and this goes for other books of hers, not just this one). One, her language can be beautiful but is usually just overwrought. Every book of hers I find a few phrases or lines where I think, "Wow. She really hit the nail on the head explaining that super specific emotion." Of course to have her trying to make life-changing, poetic moments out of every move and breath her characters make can get VERY ANNOYING. For example, "Will smiled at Pen and Pen wished she could put the smile in her pocket for the rest of life." Para-phrasing here because the book is back at the library....but, that was almost word-for-word one of the lines. Barf. I can take some sentiment like that, I am not a completely heartless person. But every other sentence? I wanted to scream, "ENOUGH! I KNOW PEN'S HEART IS RACING IN HER CHEST ABOUT SOMETHING OR OTHER! MOVE THE PLOT ALONG!" I even consider myself a somewhat emotional person who is always overthinking...but when she speaks from the character's point of view, even I thought, "God. Come on. Who has this much time to analyze their emotions and friendships from 8 years ago in their daily life?? WHY AREN'T THEY WORKING INSTEAD OF PONTIFICATING ALL DAY?"

Which brings me to my second point. Her characters and plots are very unbelievable. She tries very hard to make them not perfect and quirky and many dimensional. But it's quirky in a "aw, shucks, look how unique I am, I say 'holy cluck' instead of the f word' way, where everyone loves them for it. Not in a real life way. I don't know how to explain how unbelievable her characters are unless you read the book. Again, she has little bursts of clarity where I believe her characters are like real people. But traveling all the way to the Phillipines for a friend (true, a best friend) who you haven't seen in years? A best friend who CHOSE to run away, and is not kidnapped or lost or anything? And you aren't even sure she's there? I can't see many adults putting their whole life on hold for what amounted to an adult sized hissy fit, friends or not. Anyone would be concerned and sad if they knew their friend had "ran away" but I don't know if they would take it this far.
I didn't believe that Will would so willingly have two best female friends. I get that she was trying to go against the stereotype and say hey, look, straight guys and girls can be super close! They can, but I just think other guys and girls would have to be present. I don't think even the most open minded of guys, straight or gay is going to only hang out with 2 girls 24/7. There may be a few times where hanging out ends to just be you, a few girl friends and one guy? Sure. But over and over again, without it being some weird sex thing or someone falling in love with someone, etc? I don't see that anywhere, no matter how liberal or conservative the place. But that's just me.

Marisa has a good foundation to become a better writer. She just needs to be edited and needs to stop making her characters so earnest and starry-eyed. And more plot focus and less sap and going off on tangents please. The end.
Profile Image for Tina.
444 reviews456 followers
September 27, 2012
Original post at One More Page

I've always dubbed March as a special month because of my birthday, and I take advantage of that by meeting up with as many people that I can, especially those that I haven't seen in a while. It's always the best excuse IMHO: "It's my birthday, let's meet up!" Of course, I often ended up treating the people to coffee, dessert or sometimes even dinner because of that fact, but I never really minded that. In the past month alone, I've been out almost every weekend and two to three times on week nights to meet up with my barkada (my closest friends), college roommates, thesis mates, book club friends, church community friends -- old friends, new friends, people from almost all stages of my life, I took the time to meet them this month. Sometimes I end up traveling farther than I want to, staying out and losing sleep and being so exhausted that I don't have time to read (or blog), but I think all of those times were worth it.

This is one of the reasons why I chose Falling Togetherby Marisa de los Santos as my birthday read. Pen, Cat and Will met in college, and have been the best of friends ever since. Their friendship was so strong that even their romantic relationships took a back seat from their friendship, making them an almost impenetrable circle. But that was the past, and it's been six years since Pen has seen Cat and Will after they walked out of her life. She never stopped missing them, even if they had missed major milestones in her life such as the birth of her daughter, Augusta, or the death of her father. When Pen and Will receive an email from Cat asking them to meet at their college reunion, they couldn't refuse. But when they were faced with the unexpected at the reunion, Pen and Will set off to find their missing friend all across the world in a journey that really changed everything for them.

I love Marisa de los Santos. I can't help but swoon over the way she writes -- there's a certain beauty and elegance in her writing that just makes everything...well, fall together for me. Falling Together is a pretty slow book, one that builds up slowly and flashes back on a lot of memories to tie up the numerous strings spread out around Pen, Will and Cat. Her characters come off feeling like they are also your friends and not just friends with each other, like you're a part of their circle. Pen is reminiscent of Cornelia in Love Walked In and Belong to Me with her observations and her small eccentricities, although I think I would choose to be with Cornelia over her because I find her more of a darling than Pen. Cat is sufficiently made into a mystery, and it made me wonder what her motivations were in doing what she did. Will is almost like Teo Sandoval in Marisa's first two books, but also not quite. Maybe the half-Filipino aspect of Teo made him more attractive to me than Will. Sometimes it feels like these characters are a little too whimsical, or maybe a little too different, or maybe even a little too perfect sounding, but Marisa includes little quirks that make them less of those a-little-too's.

Speaking of Filipino, one of the main reasons why I was so excited to read this book was because a part of it was set in the Philippines. Marisa de los Santos has Filipino roots and I can't help but feel so proud about how she described the Philippines and the Filipinos in this book. Here's an example:
Maybe it was the food or the muted light or the ceiling fan's slow, hypnotic paddling of the air or maybe it was simply that every journey -- and Pen had come to see herself as a person distinctly on a journey [...] -- has its land of the lotus eaters, its drowsy slowdown in momentum. There would be time to winnow out the reasons later, but as she sat in the living room of the house in which Cat's father had grown up, surrounded by someone else's family -- Cat's family, the one she had flown across the world to find -- with a plate of food on a tray in front of her, all Pen knew was that she wanted, with her heart, to become a part of the place, to unpack her bags, hunker down, and stay. (p. 284)

And something about the food:
But there was nothing "nothing special" about it: great piled tangles of noodles rife with bits of vegetables, meat and shrimp; a concoction of eggplant, okra, green beans, squash and bitter melon called pinakbet; banana blossom salad; whole fish, crispy and gleaming with sauce; thin egg rolls called lumpia that Pen could have eaten like popcorn; and, glory of glories, down the center of its own special table, a roasted suckling pig, burnt orange, glistening, dizzyingly fragrant. Pen had a momentary qualm at seeing it whole ... but once dismantled, the sublime combination of hard, crackly skin and nearly white, meltingly tender meat caused such rapture in her mouth that she gave hearty thanks to God that she was not a vegetarian. (p. 286-287)

That last paragraph made me hungry.
The second time, more prepared, she stayed long enough to understand that the coral reef off Balicasag Island packed more gorgeousness per square centimeter than any other place she had ever been. At the same time that it was exactly like something she had seen on a nature show, it was like nothing she had seen on a nature show because everything -- from the imperious butterfly fish trailing their scarves to the brown undulating ribbons that Pen assumed were eels (but might not have been; it frustrated her not to know) to the neon blue coruscations, so penny-small ad quick that they might have been tricks of light -- each thing, every individual scrap of embodied beauty, was palpably, unmistakably, alive.

So were Pen and Augusta, alive and in the thick of it. Pen had expected to look down and see fish, and she did, but when she looked to her side, there they were, too, suspended next to her face or flowing by in iridescent streams, and, when Will swam over to take Augusta to see an anemone clownfish and Pen dove downward, the fish were above her as well. (p. 303)

I'm not being biased here, but that last paragraph is absolutely true. I almost squealed with delight when I found out where exactly they were heading in the Philippines because I was just there a month ago. So much beauty, and it's just one island. :)

A word of warning, though -- if you're expecting them to head to the Philippines early on, well...they won't. I had to adjust my expectations with that because I thought that the characters would spend a longer time in my home country but the travel happened at the last third of the book. But even so I'm not really complaining, and it's not really a wild goose chase for their friend all across the world. When I got to the end, I felt like even if I was made to wait for the part I wanted to read the most, the timing was pretty right and I was so invested in the characters and the story that I want them to find their answers in the place I called home.

I was perfectly, perfectly charmed with this book. Again, I may be pretty biased about it because so far, I've loved every book that Marisa de los Santos wrote. Even if I can't relate to it much (by that I mean nothing like that has ever really happened in my life), there's something in her books that makes me feel that she wrote it just for me -- or someone like me who craves for this kind of life fiction. For this kind of story that talks about love and friendship and family and the ties that bind, and all of those things falling together in one complicated and beautiful mess.

I'm not sure if Falling Together is for everyone, but if you've ever read and liked Marisa de los Santos' other books, then you will probably like this. Just how much is another thing, but as far as I am concerned, Falling Together is the perfect birthday read. And I am definitely keeping this one on my shelf. :)
Profile Image for Sal.
19 reviews
October 26, 2011
This was her best novel yet and I've thoroughly enjoyed them all. I think she could write on any topic and I would still enjoy reading her due to the absolutely delicious use of language - witty, lush, eloquent, poetic. In this case, though, the subject matter is a timeless one viewed from several angles and showing how we humans so rarely know ourselves well.
Profile Image for Carol.
523 reviews
April 5, 2012
Having really enjoyed Belong To Me and Love Walked In, I was a little disappointed in this book. It was enjoyable enough and an easy read, and I liked the emerging relationship with Jason (I always appreciate it when a “bad” character is ultimately shown to have some good qualities tucked away somewhere). I noticed that I was often getting lost in long, convoluted sentences. For example: “Maybe it was the food or the muted light or the ceiling fan’s slow, hypnotic paddling of the air or maybe it was simply that every journey— and Pen had come to see herself as a person distinctly on a journey (in rare, solitary, un-ironic moments, “seeker” did not seem too strong a word, although what she was seeking, apart from Cat [and she was sure there was something else] she couldn’t say)— has its land of lotus eaters, its drowsy slowdown in momentum.” Even after typing that sentence, I still don't know what she means. As I read, I often had to go back and try to reattach the end of a sentence to the beginning. I think the author was going for a “thinking out loud” kind of feel, but when one sentence contains hyphens and brackets within parentheses, it’s time to do some editing. One other complaint: I didn’t think Cat was worth finding. She struck me as bratty, and I couldn’t understand why or how she could keep a good couple apart.
Profile Image for Larry H.
2,481 reviews29.4k followers
October 29, 2011
The irony isn't lost on me that Marisa de los Santos' new book, Falling Together, centers around three once-inseparable college friends who come back into each other's lives several years later, because the return of Marisa de los Santos with a new novel felt a little like a reunion to me. Like her earlier novels, Love Walked In and Belong to Me, there's so much more to this book than meets the eye, and as I tore my way through it, I felt many of the same emotions her characters did.

Pen (short for Penelope), Will, and Cat met in college. "Met cute," they liked to say, when Will and Pen came to Cat's aid when she was in the middle of an epileptic seizure in a university bathroom. Pen was the idealist, Cat the flighty one, Will the steadfast one. The three were inseparable for a number of years (often at the expense of romantic relationships any tried to pursue), until one day, Cat decided to get married and determined that in order to have any chance at a successful marriage, she needed to end her friendship with Pen and Will. Shortly thereafter, Will left Pen, because he said he didn't know how to be friends with just her. Will and Pen both got on with their lives, until one day just before their 10-year college reunion, both received an email from Cat saying she needed help and begged them to come to the reunion. The email sent their lives into disarray, and is the catalyst for an interesting, sometimes frustrating and heartbreaking, journey.

Some have referred to de los Santos' novels as "chick lit," because they're books about relationships and love, but I believe that doing so denigrates the quality of her writing and her storytelling ability. Her use of language is almost poetic and she develops characters that seem fairly simple on the surface but are truly complex, flawed, unique people. While some of the directions the story takes are a little overly dramatic, the book pulls you in emotionally and makes you want to get invested in the story. I thought this book was fantastic, and you can't go wrong with either of her other books. Take the chance—you won't regret it.
368 reviews
October 22, 2011
Having loved de Los Santos' first two books, I was eager to read her third book. What a disappointment! A thin plot, a leading character (Pen) who is immature and self centered, unlikely events throughout the book,dialogues between adult characters that sound like high school hallway conversations and a 5 year old character with sleep difficulties (there is no reason to care about this)who speaks like a 10 year old. Worst of all, the beautiful use of language that was a hallmark of her first two books was reduced to long strings of descriptions that became tedious. I suspect that this was really the first book she wrote and got it published now only due to her success with the first two.
Profile Image for Laura.
3,684 reviews95 followers
July 3, 2011
Many of us had incredibly intense friendships when we were in college and felt that those friends would remain the most important people we knew beyond college - it didn't always work out that way. Pen, Cat and Will were an inseparable trio until a few years after college, when they separate. Cat goes off to get married to a man neither Pen nor Will like (or liked back in college), and Will and Penn discover that without Cat they don't quite know how to be friends.

Just before their 10th reunion, Will and Pen get an e-mail from Cat, asking them to meet her at the reunion. They go, but Cat never appears. Instead, Cat's husband Jason is there, looking for Cat. In the intervening years, all three have changed yet their bond is still such that of course Will and Pen will join in the search.

The exploration of those intense friendships, the ways in which the change, the nature of love and what is truly important is wonderful, the occasional delving into soap opera dropped this from a five to a four.

ARC provided by publisher.
231 reviews36 followers
October 20, 2011
I looked forward to this SO MUCH. And now I feel deflated, a victim of my high expectations. The story: Will, Pen and Cat were the closest of trios in college, but after college they deliberately went their separate ways. Now Cat has contacted Pen and Will, summoning them to a college reunion, and it's time for the three to confront the feelings for each other that they have had all along.

Well. That's kind of it, really. A fairly lengthy novel with a fairly slim (but slow moving) plot line. Plus, nothing really makes sense here: the trio's reasons for separating are so weak, I just couldn't suspend disbelief, and I felt that way about many of the plot twists. I ended up liking the minor characters rather than the major ones, and I really missed de los Santos's previous gift for vivid characterizations. Oh well. I will still read her next novel - but I hope it will have the sparkle that made her first two novels so delightful. This one fell short.
Profile Image for treehugger.
498 reviews84 followers
July 15, 2012

I cannot say enough awesome things about her first 2 books. This book was a major major major disappointment. The characters were "meh", the plot was so tepid it WISHED it could be called lukewarm, the descriptions of the time spent in the Philippines were so extraneous and exhausting...

While I was interested enough to keep reading to see if it got better, I was NOT sad when I finally finished it, which is exactly the opposite of how I remember feeling when I finished her other 2 books.

I had hoped to disprove all of the naysayers who read this book before me and given it terrible reviews. Surely they were just missing the magic that she works with the English language, her sparkling abilities to make relationships robust and glowing...

Nope. This book just sucks compared to the first 2. Don't judge De los Santos if this is the only thing you have read from her - it's simply not a fair judgement!
Profile Image for Danie P..
783 reviews5 followers
October 10, 2011
I loved Marisa's other books (Love walked in and Belong to me) but I just couldn't love a book in which the premise is utterly ridiculous.

Cat, Pen and Will are best friends. After college they decide to break off their friendship never to speak to each other because their friendship is so strong it alienates other people around them. Six years pass and "Cat" emails Will and Pen to please come to their class reunion because she needs them.

Pen and Will fall in love but when Will confesses that he kept tabs on her and knew her father died and went to the funeral Pen get angry at him and says she can't have a relationship wtih him? What is that about?

The entire time I read it I couldn't stop thinking about how irritating these characters were for creating their own "torment", clearly realizing they could solve it and doing NOTHING about it until they get an email.
Profile Image for Amanda.
593 reviews431 followers
October 7, 2017
Maybe 3.5 stars. Going in, I didn't know or had forgotten the synopsis, so going off of the title, I thought it would be contemporary romance, but it was really a lot more than that. Parts were more like mystery, and overall it was really about the people who are important in your life, and keeping them in your life, whether they are physically there or not. Starting the book was a little odd, because I was half asleep and the author's storytelling style in the book can be confusing - a lot of scenes or conversations start in the middle, without context, and you don't figure out what is happening until a bit later. This took some getting used to, and I definitely did not try reading while half asleep again!
Profile Image for Denise.
1,968 reviews82 followers
October 2, 2011
2.0 out of 5 stars - Romance and self-discovery, but a very long journey...

I have not read any previous novels by Marisa de los Santos so I had no expectation of this book purportedly about a strong and "magical" friendship tested by a separation. I read other reviews that praised this highly, so I was excited to read it but thoroughly disappointed when I did.

The main themes in the book center around the following: when you love someone, you have to go 'all in' -- and that there is always room for one more (in your heart? your house?) -- and people in your life may be "gone but here." Hmmm, really? That seems obvious enough to most of us and nothing new to any adult who's had some life experience including tragedy and loss.

The characters did not seem fully developed into more than stereotypes of romantic fiction nor did they captivate me in any way and I just did not like any of them. The plot is trite and unbelievable with a "seek and find" game as three adults and a child traipse across the world in a frenzy to find an old friend who had left them behind years ago and moved on with her life.

If you like predictable and slow moving novels with little tidbits of facts that are meant to tell rather than show, you might like this. At times, I felt the author was trying to "show off" as she went on and on about every little thing from the color of something to a thought in the head of a character. I will not look for another by this author.

Pass. I need to go clear my palate with a good thriller!
Profile Image for Diane S ☔.
4,692 reviews14.1k followers
September 1, 2011
What a wonderful feel good book. Cat, Pen and Will meet in college and form an intense friendship. Thinking that the level of their friendship can neither be maintained nor let any one else in they decide to go their separate ways. Will and Pen come together 8 years later when Cat's husband tells them Cat is missing. This book explores the friendships one forms, the meaning of family and how people are only gone when they are forgotten.
255 reviews
December 12, 2022
I enjoyed the character growth interspersed with the unfolding of the Cat's disappearance. There were some lovely descriptive sections, good one-liners, and some surprises along the way.
Profile Image for Christina (A Reader of Fictions).
4,220 reviews1,650 followers
February 13, 2014
Originally posted on A Reader of Fictions.

Under a misapprehension that Falling Together would deal with the same characters as Marisa de los Santos' prior books (because I fail to read blurbs most of the time), I read the one I hadn't yet gotten to, Belong to Me, last week. Now, Falling Together actually has nothing to do with the prior two, but I'm glad for the mistake, because I love Marisa's writing and who can regret an error that results in more joyous reading? While Falling Together did not touch my heart the same way Love Walked In and Belong to Me did, it is still a marvelous, beautiful, thoughtful novel on the nature of love, friendship and family.

So far all of Marisa's novels have had friendship, the sort of long-lasting kind that is more important than family even, the friends that become your family and part of your heart forever, at the core. While romance certainly enters into her plot lines, I would argue that it's not even close to being the most important thing thematically. Before love, friendship.

In Falling Together, the friends in question met and promptly became inseparable in college. They had that sort of instantaneous kinship, obvious kindred spirits. Stories of powerful, enduring friendship perhaps affect me more emotionally than all of those romances that make me swoon, because I can identify with those feelings. I've come across people like that, who were so obviously intended to be a part of my life, whether or not I believe in fate or god or preordination. Some people just seem to belong with you. Plus, friendship as a theme generally takes a back seat to romance, so it's always a refreshing read.

Cat, Will and Pen were like this. Trios are rough to maintain, because usually two of the three generally get along slightly better than the third. These three make it work...for a while anyway. After college, they live together in an apartment in Philly, but, eventually, Cat tires of their exclusive circle. She wants to marry and start a new life, and feels unable to do that with Will and Pen still in it. They are too protective of her, too judgmental of her suitors (the 'rump slap' bit was my favorite part!). Left alone, without the hub of their social group, Pen and Will eventually separate, all three agreeing not to communicate in any way anymore, preferring to keep their memories of one another pristine.

The catalyst for the journey of the novel comes with a mysterioug email from Cat, the first contact in six years, telling Pen she needs her and will hopefully see her at their college reunion. Unable to pass up the chance to see one of the people missing from her soul for all this time, Cat goes, and discovers that nothing was quite what she thought. Her journey leads to surprising places. There's romance that I found quite touching, and parts that broke my heart. There is even a charming child. I give Marisa de los Santos full credit for having written three books with children as main characters, and having made me like all of them. This one wasn't even a teen, but she still was pretty adorable.

This book took me a while to get through, though, because up until Pen goes to the reunion, I was rather bored. Pen does a lot of sitting around and feeling pathetic, which I can sympathize with but it still didn't interest me. There are also a lot of extended flashbacks, which messed with the tempo as well. I feel like this might have been stronger if it started in college and then jumped to the future where they're not together, rather than flashing back. The pacing was just off.

I also, personally, feel like the story might have benefited from first person narration, rather than third person limited. Pen would undoubtedly have a really powerful voice, and I'm sure I would have liked her, but I felt somewhat removed from her as it was, though perhaps that too is because of the pacing.

Marisa de los Santos has become one of my favorite authors. While this one might not shine quite so brightly, it's still powerful and beautiful, and one I expect I shall revisit sometime in the future.
Profile Image for Terrie.
862 reviews23 followers
October 18, 2019
Three college friends. Friends and family. Friends who are your family. Insightful writing capturing deep emotions of loss, love, heartbreak and rejoicing.

Often when I read a description saying a book is about loss, friendship, love lost and found, I sort of roll my eyes and think.....oh, one of "those" books. This is one of those books but it really is about all those things and more. An excellent book about relationships and feelings - expressed so much better than I ever could.

de los Santos displays a real skill in describing the emotions of loss (of a parent), love (of a child), loneliness, yearning, friendship, and love (romantic), that I was swept away in the prose. It’s almost poetic at times. To be honest, sometimes it is a bit long winded and overdone, but mostly I am in awe at the insight and clarity with which she is able to present all that range of emotion.

The book has a very tidy, Hollywood-happy-ending, which I expected, but I loved. The book is not a complex plot or filled with a large cast of characters, but the three main ones are fully developed and likable (even with their flaws - Will was maybe a little too perfect, but the 2 women were flawed but lovable characters). It is a very readable, thoroughly enjoyable book.

Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Patty.
2,299 reviews100 followers
October 23, 2011
First of all, thank you to HarperCollins and GoodReads for this book. I had not ever read Marisa de los Santos and if this book had not come for free, I might not have ever picked up her books. That would have been a shame.

I am not sure why I had not read de los Santos. This book was my kind of book. I thoroughly enjoyed this.

Cat, Will and Pen met the first week of college and were inseparable for more than four years. Their friendship would color the rest of their lives. But six years ago, Cat went off to get married leaving Will and Pen on their own. Without Cat the relationship did not work out.

Now it is time for their college reunion and Cat contacts Pen and Will for help. Of course they show up, but as the reader might expect not everything is as it appears. There are a lot of life lessons to be learned by Pen, Will, some other people and even Cat. Since de los Santos is a good and interesting writer, this reader was glad to go along for the ride.

WorldCat has Psychological Fiction as one of the subject headings for this book and in another place it is referred to as Domestic Fiction. I would not have picked either term myself, but they both fit. And both terms describe why I like the book. It is psychological - the emotional and mental states of the characters are important. But this novel is also domestic - in my mind these characters have a home life that could be taking place next door to my home. They seem real.

Pen and Will are people I could spend some time with. It was harder to get to know Cat, but that was the nature of the book. I was glad to have over 300 pages to spend with these characters.

I recommend this book to folks who loved their college days, to people who have strong feelings about love and to those who like their fiction to be realistic.
Profile Image for Neha.
46 reviews2 followers
October 7, 2011
SO disappointed! After Love Walked In and Belong to Me, both which, in my honest opinion, are two almost perfect novels, I had become such a huge fan of Marisa de los Santos. I completely fell in love with her characters and her poetic writing. And, both of those aspects just didn't come alive in Falling Together. Overall, I liked Pen and Will, but I felt that they were just a little too self-righteous, good, and, honestly, a little boring. My favorite character was actually Jason, and got a little annoyed with the constant jokes about his vocabulary. Funny once, but ten times later, not so much. Also, I didn't really find the reason of separation believable.

********SPOILER ALERT********
********SPOILER ALERT********

Basically, Cat "broke up" with Will/Pen because she wanted to dedicate herself to her marriage and didn't feel that was possible with having the incredibly exclusive friendship that the three of them had. Seriously?? And, finally, when they find Cat, she just seemed so heartless and selfish to me. She showed no appreciation for the fact that these three people had traveled across the world to find her because they were worried about her. Honestly, I didn't think she deserved the love and loyalty she got from Jason, Pen, and Will.

So, Marisa...next time, can you just continue writing about LWI/BTM characters?
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
168 reviews2 followers
October 23, 2011
Will, Cat and Pen are the best of friends in college, secure in the fact that their threesome is perfect and complete. After graduation their lives begin to change and, largely due to Cat marrying a man Will and Pen don't like, the friendship ends. 10 years later Pen is struggling with single motherhood and the sudden death of her dad when she gets an urgent email from Cat requesting her presence at their 10 yr reunion. But when she and Will arrive they find Cat's belligerent and forlorn husband. What follows is a journey to find Cat and see if their friendship can be healed.

As always, Marisa de los Santos comes through with beautiful, intense, real characters who you will care about desperately. The problems they wrestle with, Pen's aversion to change, Will's anger issues, and Cat's inability to find her place in the world all touch a chord and resonate. The adventure of the trip adds some spice to the story and the lush descriptions of the Philippines and the people they meet there made reading this book feel like taking a vacation. Falling Together is a heart-warming, feel-good story that will make you reexamine your closest relationships.
Profile Image for Zuzana.
190 reviews12 followers
October 12, 2011
Another proof that Marisa de los Santos never disappoints! Positively the most grabbing book I have read in the last couple of years, and I am already itching for another one to come out (even though this one only launched last week). Marisa's gift of words is undeniable. She makes you see and feel what her characters see and feel, she makes you rejoice with them and mourn with them and laugh with them, she makes you believe in love and the beauty of the world all over again, especially if you're a bit like me and therefore a bit like Pen when it comes to thinking about love. If it's been a while since you've read something worthwhile, grab this book. Truly, truly beautiful, and that even if not everything comes out the way you'd expect. But then again, life doesn't exactly always come out the way we'd expect, either.
Profile Image for S.J. Davis.
Author 36 books162 followers
September 2, 2011
I don't want to spoil a single thing about the beauty of this book, but when it ended I missed Will, Pen, and Cat with all my heart. Every chapter is beautifully written with poetic charm.
Profile Image for Ali.
180 reviews
February 19, 2020
These people are so dumb it's hard to read about them. At the beginning I thought there would be a compelling reason they stopped being friends like they accidentally murdered someone and had to take it to the grave. The real reason is pretty stupid to have zero contact.

The writer is obviously talented, but I found the characters to be neurotic and unlikable. There were some good parts, but the bad outweighs the good.

It was just a little bit 'over the top' for me and the reactions of the characters did not seem true to life. Why seek someone out to this degree when they obviously want to be left alone? It just made no sense. Many people flew into rages or got extremely angry for minor reasons. Why? Everyone in this book is so reactive and immature.

When they loaded her young child on a plane to the Philippines I knew this was pure fantasy. Come on.

Just a really bad plot and writing that just went on and on. Listened to this mostly at 2.50x speed and still I was like, get to the effing point already.
Profile Image for Katie Fitzgerald.
Author 3 books196 followers
October 23, 2020
I loved the nostalgic feel of this book, and the fact that it was a friendship story first and a romance second. There were some dramatic moments that felt a bit over the top, but I'm glad I stuck it out. The audiobook narrator was very good. My rating is a 3.5 rounded up.
Profile Image for Katy.
204 reviews13 followers
May 20, 2018
Such a lovely book!

I really enjoyed my first Marisa de los Santos book, planning to read more. Vivid descriptions, lovely characters, and somehow it felt British to me although it isn't :)
Profile Image for Dorina.
338 reviews2 followers
August 5, 2020
I have to say that I had a hard time finding things that I liked about the characters in the beginning of the book. Young and in college they appeared to be in their own universe. But once you get past the first few chapters, I discovered that I liked Pen, the main character, and kept reading. The story involves the school reunion, a friend who disappears and the quest to find out what happened. I must admit that I loved the story and the ending. I hope future readers will enjoy it as well.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,629 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.