Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Ties That Bind

'Stay With Me'
By: Sandra Rodriquez Barron

Format: ARC
Published: Harper Paperbacks; Nov. 2010
Pages: 384

Synopsis: In 1979, five toddlers were found alone in a luxury boat tied to a dock in Puerto Rico after a devastating hurricane. No one knew who they were or where they came from. Raised by different families, they remained connected by a special bond—always considering themselves siblings, despite their unknown blood relations.
Now adults, Taina, Holly, Adrian, and Raymond have been summoned by the fifth, David, to an island off the coast of Connecticut and the family home of David's ex-girlfriend, Julia. But along with the joy of reuniting comes the exposure of raw places, jealousy, and childhood sorrows. Having been diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer—and experiencing flashbacks to the time before the hurricane—David believes that healing his relationship with Julia and discovering his origins will strengthen his ability to endure and survive. David pushes the people he loves the most to their emotional breaking points in order to uncover the truth about the mystery that both unites and divides them.

My Take: Books that deal with family relationships usually strike a strong cord with me. I also love books that handle what 'it really means' to be a family. I think it's because these are such interesting questions to ponder. For many of us, our friendships are bonds that mean just as much to us as those of our families and so, what really are the ties that bind? However, there are arguments for both sides because for many, family will, no matter what, be by your side, for others they won't. 

This book deals with a 'family' brought together as young babies stranded on a boat in the middle of a hurricane. They were 5 little kids without a mother or a father. Who were they? Where did they come from? They couldn't remember because they were too young. Having no other roots to hold onto and being separated into separate but loving adopted families they held onto each other as the brothers and sisters they needed because they all came from the same beginning. However they all dealt with this beginning differently and when we meet them as adults the scars of their past are beginning to wear on them and its hard for them to form lasting relationships with others.

When one of the siblings, David, gets terminal cancer all of these feelings come to a head. Some of the siblings feel they need to know where they are from if they are ever going to deal with their past. I can see that need. It's got to be hard to not know. It's got to be unsettling to wonder why they were left stranded. But maybe the answer isn't a good one.

Here's the thing, and you know sometimes there's a thing! I didn't connect with a single character in this book. And there were a lot of them for me to connect with. There were five siblings. There was a meddling ex girlfriend who couldn't separate herself from David's illness. There were adopted parents. Nope, all of them seemed, um, written. In that I mean, not real. And while yes it was a fiction book, it wasn't set in the future or full of vampires or something, it was meant to be a book set in the now with real characters. There's nothing I could pinpoint and you may read it and think I am crazy but it just, was all a little off for me. However, you just might connect with one of these characters or the story of a cancer patient and a family trying to deal with it. 

*If you would like my very gently used ARC just leave a comment with your email and I'll pick one using random.org this Sunday! I'll ship anywhere in the US.*

For more information about the author, please visit her website

For other opinions about this book here's the full TLC Book Tour schedule:

Tuesday, November 30th: Amused By Books
Wednesday, December 1st: Chefdruck Musings
Thursday, December 2nd: BookNAround
Tuesday, December 7th: Debbie’s Book Bag
Thursday, December 9th: In the Next Room
Monday, December 13th: Reviews from the Heart
Wednesday, December 15th: Colloquium
Monday, December 20th: Rundpinne
Tuesday, December 21st: Sara’s Organized Chaos
Wednesday, December 22nd: Book Addiction

(Thank you to TLC Book Tours for sending me this book)


  1. Wow. What a fascinating and original premise. It's too bad that the execution left something to be desired. There are lots of questions that need answering for sure.

  2. The premise sounds lovely, so I'm sorry to hear it disappoints. I agree connecting with at least one character is so important!

  3. None of them..oh, it must have been so hard finishing this. Good of you to hang in there

  4. Oh, I know just what you mean. Not about this book but about books that seem written. It drives me crazy. Writing's hard, I know it's hard but I hate when I can see the writing. I'm sorry this book didn't work for you.

  5. This does sound like a well thought out plot line, but it's a bummer that you didn't connect to any character. Sometimes that makes it hard for me to connect to the story.

  6. The book sounds interesting. I'd like to give it a try and see if I can connect with the characters, just because I'm intrigued by the premise.


  7. I'm sorry this one didn't work for you. Hopefully your next read will be a better fit.

    Thanks for being a part of the tour.

  8. I hate when books fall flat like this.

  9. i remember reading the synopsis for this book and thinking wow this book sounds great! but i completely know how you feel about this book. there's been a few books that i've been struggling to read lately because the characters didn't feel real.


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