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I'd Give Anything

Review

I'd Give Anything

There’s nothing that Marisa de los Santos writes that I won’t read. Her writing is warm and accessible, like open arms welcoming us into the story. 

I’D GIVE ANYTHING follows one character in two time periods: Ginny in present day and Zinny as an idealistic, bold high schooler, told through her diary entries. As the story opens, Ginny Beale is a mother of a teen daughter, her husband is caught up in a scandal that forces her to examine her marriage --- and why she chose him --- and her mother is dying. Her difficult, insensitive mother is controlling, divisive and must have everything her own way, right down to how she wants to die.

"[Marisa de los Santos] weaves a compelling, wisely plotted story with characters you want to hang out with and have as friends."

Ginny has been living a steady, safe life that contrasts with her quarry-jumping, fun-loving, big-dreaming younger self. We are privy to young Zinny’s innermost thoughts as we read her diary entries, which vividly capture the spirit of her character and the voice of a vivacious, optimistic teenager. They convey the dramatic, exuberant highs and the dramatic, desperate lows of youth that are so authentic, they reminded me of my own high school journals.

Zinny tears out the pages of her diary that reveal what happened in her senior year of high school that changed her from wild Zinny to safe Ginny. This gap makes us, and later her daughter, question what happened that ruined her dearest relationships --- her close connection with her brother and her friendship with her high school foursome. Ginny’s past collides with her present, and not only does she have to face old wounds, the secret threatens the closeness with her own daughter --- a relationship that she values above everything.

I’D GIVE ANYTHING is a story about redemption, grief and healing broken relationships. De los Santos explores the power of family and friendships and the harm in guarding secrets. Often in books, I’m frustrated when characters don’t talk directly to one another or don’t ask a tough question, but while there are misunderstandings and things that go unspoken, de los Santos lets her characters confront one another. They have difficult conversations, they call each other out, they connect and relate in an active, real way so that we understand when they keep something to themselves.

In true Marisa de los Santos fashion, she weaves a compelling, wisely plotted story with characters you want to hang out with and have as friends. She addresses weighty issues with beautiful prose, and while her writing is elegant and gorgeously crafted, it’s approachable, never sentimental, haughty or pretentious.

I’D GIVE ANYTHING earns five stars.

Reviewed by Leah DeCesare (www.leahdecesare.com) on May 22, 2020

I'd Give Anything
by Marisa de los Santos

  • Publication Date: May 12, 2020
  • Genres: Fiction, Women's Fiction
  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow
  • ISBN-10: 0062844482
  • ISBN-13: 9780062844484