Wednesday, September 5, 2012

BELONG TO ME by Marisa de los Santos

Bad things happen to good people, and in this book all the characters are likeable.  Cancer can happen to anyone, and it's devastating.  However, Elizabeth's disease helps bring together two women—Cornelia, the petite newcomer, and Piper, Elizabeth's judgmental best friend.  There's also a surprising blast from the past that is sort of a mixed bag.  Any way you slice it, though, the cast of characters is delightful.  Cornelia is married to handsome oncologist Teo, and Cornelia's new friend Lake has a smart and congenial teenage son Dev, who has a new love interest in Clare, who visits Cornelia and Teo from time to time.  Cornelia and Teo would like to have a child of their own, now that they're permanently situated in suburbia.  Besides the cancer and a few spats due to misunderstandings, the worst thing that happens is that Dev's teacher in his previous school stifled his academic aspirations with a nasty putdown.  Lake, though, responds in the best way possible by moving Dev to a new locale, near Philadelphia, where our story takes place.  Dev suspects that the move has something to do with his father, whom he has never met.  Clare stirs the pot by encouraging Dev to try to identify and locate his father.  The result is that the kids get more than they bargained for.  Too bland a read?  Not at all.  The writing is lovely, and the lives of these nice people have enough bumps in the road to make us want to find out how they cope.

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