Belong to Me

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Meeeerggh, behind in reviews and responding to comments. Sorry everyone! This is my last batch of finals as a full-time student, but it appears to be determined to leave its mark.


Belong to Me by Marisa de los Santos is the second book about Cornelia Brown, heroine of Love Walked In. (My review here).

De los Santos is very good at weaving different stories in and out of each other and then bringing them together. Belong to Me is four stories -
1. Cornelia and her husband have moved to a new neighborhood, and their neighbors are unwelcoming and cold.
2. Dev and his mother, Lake, have moved to a new town due to his troubles in his former school. Dev suspects they moved to this town for a specific reason relating to his mother's blurry past, and he is determined to find out.
3. The most important thing to Piper is that everything run smoothly and appropriately. She is the typical woman with a charmed life - perfect kids, perfect body, perfect house. Except her best friend is dying of cancer and everything is starting to fall apart.
4. The way their lives come together.

I actually loved this book. Although I enjoyed Love Walked In, it annoyed me at times, and I expected to have a similar reaction to this book. To be honest, Belong To Me did annoy me once or twice, but I enjoyed it much more. It takes me a while to warm up to people - maybe it takes me a while to warm up to authors, also?

My brain is running slowly today (finals cell death) so I am going to list what I liked and didn't. I think that will be the most coherent way for me to review today.

What I didn't like:
* Part of my main problem with Love Walked In is that, while it was entertaining, stuff like that doesn't happen. For most of this book, I kept thinking, OK, good, this is more believable. But towards the end, Belong to Me catches the same disease - some of the events are just a little too unbelievable. This isn't a huge fault - the book is entertaining and well written. But at times, just a little too ridiculous.
* Too many swears! Once again, not a book destroying fault, but it was a little distracting at times.
* If you haven't read the first book and plan to read it, don't read this next part. I'll make it really small so your eyes don't inadvertently wander over it. There is NO MENTION of the fact that Teo used to be Cornelia's sister's husband. I thought they would maybe have to deal with that issue a little more. Oh well. They have other issues to deal with.

What I did like:
* Dev. I LOVED this character. I loved how he thought so carefully about everything he was learning in school, and the way he really tried to understand life. I loved the way he really cared about people. I felt like he was my best friend by the end of the book.
* The characters are complex and well-developed. The characters have to develop and grow. They are all human, with good and bad characteristics.
* There are such perfect descriptions of young love. The way she wrote was exactly how I felt when I held hands with someone for the first time, had my first kiss, etc. etc.
* Nerdy neuroscience paragraph: "To empty of stress and fill with what my sister would doubtless identify as a rush of estrogen-enhanced oxytocin accompanied by shots of serotonin and dopamine, but what felt to my hopelessly right-brained brain an awful lot like well-being accompanied by ease (92)."
* Marisa de los Santos' beautiful writing. My favorite thing about her writing is the way she captures a personality by "show-don't-tell," the hallmark of every creative writing exercise I ever did in
middle school. Guess it must work. Here's one of my favorite passages:

He told me that she had grown up in Detroit and of her own volition, had practiced vegetarianism from the age of six to the age of seventeen and had double-majored in psychology and art history and wore scarves and kept her shoes in the boxes they came in and laughed her brains out at Looney Tunes and looked amazing in a sweater and loved French and Vietnamese food, stinky cheese, chocolate cupcakes, Sancerre, all sushi with the exception of sea urchin, and Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk straight out of the can. (160)

I mean, really, how can you not like someone who drinks condensed milk straight out of the can?

So all in all, I recommend it. I will probably buy my own copy at some point. The story is sweet and entertaining.

Accessibiliby/readability: Very
Aesthetics/Literary Merit - Probably won't be a great classic or anything, but the writing is beautiful. 4
Plot: 4. I liked it, but it was a little too ridiculous to be a 5.
Characters: 5. I loved them so much.
Personal response: 4.5
Overall: 4.5


  1. I actually didn't enjoy this one as much as Love Walked In because I didn't like the neighbor at all (can't remember her name, Piper or something?). But I loved Love Walked In...

  2. Just wanted to say good luck with the finals! :)

  3. I really enjoyed this one, too, but was also completely flabbergasted at the whole marriage/no mention of issue (sorry, trying to be vague!). If this were, um, real life? Yeah, I can't see things going down that way.

  4. @Amanda - Yeah, Piper was definitely annoying, especially at the beginning. I think the main reason I liked this one better was because it seemed more believable... but then at the end the believability went away... so maybe not.

    @Sam - Thank you! :)

    @Meg - Yeah, if it were real life I think maybe there might have been a catfight or two. Or at least some awkwardness.


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