- Hardcover: 352 pages
- Publisher: Ballantine Books; Barnes and Noble exclusive edition. edition (June 26, 2018)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0399178929
- ISBN-13: 978-0399178924
- Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 6.5 x 1.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 915 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,247 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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All We Ever Wanted: A Novel Hardcover – June 26, 2018
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From the Publisher
“A gripping, thought-provoking journey.”—Jodi Picoult
“Giffin is a worldwide best-selling author because she gets under your skin—by creating relatable characters wrestling within believable situations. . . . Giffin crafts an unpredictable page-turner that unfolds in the voices of three superbly distinct characters. . . . Her latest . . . is destined for greatness.”—The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
“Page-turning . . . Timely and thought-provoking, it’s Giffin’s best yet.”—People
“Nina Browning has it all: the handsome husband, the Ivy-League-bound teenage son, and the big house in the Nashville suburbs. But with one unthinkable social media post from her beloved child, could it all fall apart? Dealing with issues of class, money, and race, All We Ever Wanted is the book everyone will be talking about.”—PopSugar
“This complex and layered novel will give you all the feels.” —Brit + Co
“This thought-provoking novel follows two Nashville families as they struggle with the fallout from a horrible incident. Their wealthy community quickly becomes divided, with people eager to assign blame and take sides as the families struggle with loyalty and staying true to their values. It's one of Giffin's most topical, gripping books yet.”—Good Housekeeping
“A page-turning exploration of wealth and privilege.”—Entertainment Weekly
“Giffin’s novel has style and substance. . . . Truly excellent.”—The Washington Post
“If you’re looking for a book club selection, All We Ever Wanted is bound to spark meaningful and meaty discussions.”—The Augusta Chronicle
“Giffin draws the reader in like few storytellers can, and All We Ever Wanted is no exception. She effortlessly captures the voices of a struggling single father, a strong yet vulnerable teenage girl and a mother desperate to know the truth about her own child. All We Ever Wanted is a deeply moving cautionary tale about the perils of privilege.”—BookPage
“Stellar . . . an excellent page-turning story . . . a nuanced, thoughtful take on family and social dynamics.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“A compelling portrait of a woman facing the difficult limits of love.”—Kirkus Reviews
“A timely and absorbing portrait of the complexities of modern life. This is Emily Giffin at her very best.”—Kristin Hannah
“Riveting and poignant, Emily Giffin's latest novel paints an impossible dilemma that will make readers ponder hard questions about loyalty and love. I was captivated by every page.”—Harlan Coben
“A compelling, fascinating story told through blue-ribbon dialogue and the dual gifts of intelligence and goodness. I loved this novel.”—Elinor Lipman
About the Author
Emily Giffin is the author of eight internationally bestselling novels: Something Borrowed, Something Blue, Baby Proof, Love the One You’re With, Heart of the Matter, Where We Belong, The One & Only, and First Comes Love. A graduate of Wake Forest University and the University of Virginia School of Law, she lives in Atlanta with her husband and three children.
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Have you ever stopped and wondered how you got somewhere? With this man, living this life? Nina Browning should be ecstatic. She is part of the Nashville elite with a charismatic husband and a son that was just accepted into Princeton. It all seems wrong, though. The preoccupation with material wealth, the inability to really connect with her husband or son… this just isn’t who she is. Any of it.
Tom is desperately trying to be a good father to Lyla, his beautiful and intelligent daughter. When she got a scholarship to Windsor Academy he is a bit worried, but very proud. Lyla is trying to keep up with her classmates both academically and socially. It’s a different world and sometimes the differences are glaring.
A picture snapped in a moment of drunkenness spins out of control. Windsor Academy is going insane with rumors and casting blame. In the eye of the scandal are Tom, Lyla and Nina. Each one is forced to question the relationships of those closest to them, and who they really are.
I could not put this book down. It was gorgeously written, and moving. The trio of narratives was an interesting touch. I really enjoyed being able to see more of these characters, their thoughts and motives. These were really interesting, well developed characters. I loved Lyla especially. Tom with the chip on his shoulder and Nina who desperately wants to be seen as a good woman.
As far as the plot goes, I found it really intriguing and I loved the different twists and turns that kept me guessing. Through out the book I both loathed and loved certain characters, wanting to believe in them, but not knowing if I can. It’s definitely a different world. I also like how they portrayed the young victim- it was very believable. The horror, shame, inability to believe, and the desire to let it all just fade away. Her strength was also something I really loved. I feel like this book has a lot of adult moments, but also a lot that older teens would like as well. For me, this is a five star book.
On the adult content scale, this is pretty high. There’s a lot of language and sexual content as well as drinking. While I would, as I said, see no issue with an older and more mature teen reading it, I have to say it’s meant for adults. I give it an eight.
I was lucky enough to receive an eARC of this book from Netgalley and Random House Publishing in exchange for an honest review. My thanks!
This is the story of the Brownings, one of Nashville's golden couples whose son, Finch, attends a prestigious private school and whose parents, old money Kirk, and the less entrenched Nina, rule the social scene. Tom, on the other hand, is a (mostly) single father, whose daughter, Lyla, attends Windsor Academy on scholarship.
The book and marketing are extremely coy about how the two families become inextricably intertwined, though it's revealed very early on and is the entire crux of the book, but if you don't want to know, skip to after the next ellipses ...
[slight spoiler warning]
While his parents attend yet another benefit, Princeton-bound Finch Snapchats a picture of a passed out, partially disrobed Lyla captioned with a racist joke, which soon the whole school has seen and changes both their lives.
[/end small spoiler]
... How both sets of parents, and children, handle the fallout, is the entire story. The focus is very much on the parents here, namely Tom and Nina, both of whom come at the issue with their kids in different ways due to their own, troubled pasts, which are fairly quickly revealed. Lyla gets a bit more attention in the story, but Finch and Kirk have a fairly skimpy place in this tale.
This is fast-paced and, while not always 100% credible—I think the author likes Nina way more than I, the reader, did—it does set up some semi-interesting moral dilemmas, though none are handled especially subtly.
It's also a terrifying read as a parent, as you see the many, many ways kids can make incredibly bad, life-changing decisions in mere seconds, which we are completely unable to protect them from. Not that Giffin leans in too much to that aspect, making pretty clear moral judgements that will allow most readers to fall comfortably into the, "this could never happen to me," camp. But, I could see a similar, more nuanced scenario that would ultimately make for a more interesting story, where the moral black and white is much more shades of gray and yeah-it-COULD-happen-to-you.
I wavered between three and four stars here, and settled on the latter most because this one was fast-paced and Giffin is an adapt author who knows how to tease out a page turner. ALL WE EVER WANTED kept me engaged until the end, even through its more predictable plot points and ultimately unsatisfying ending, and I finished it in just two settings. Not terribly deep, it's still a decent read.