Belong to Me by Marisa de los Santos
Cornelia and Teo, who are introduced in the splendid Love Walked In, are newly married and newly arrived in the suburbs, where Cornelia has become quite certain she’ll never fit in. After a few social humiliations, she meets the irreverent Lake, who appears to be a kindred spirit, and the two become fast friends. Lake’s son, Dev, a science prodigy, has a developing story of his own, as he falls in love for the first time and decides to track down the father he never knew. Piper, the neighborhood queen bee who is the root of much of Cornelia’s certainty that the ’burbs are not for her, becomes positively human right before our eyes, as she suffers along with her best friend, Elizabeth, who has cancer. de los Santos has a gift for developing warm, realistic characters who nearly walk off the page. She also has a skill for writing interweaving storylines (which merge here in a way I didn’t see coming). All kinds of good stuff: marriage (beginning and ending), friendship, betrayal, the inability to know truly what our neighbor is experiencing right across the street, and the connections we can make as we build our families.