Book Review: All We Ever Wanted by Emily Giffin

Format: Hardcover

Pages: 400 pages

Published: June 26, 2018

Publisher: Ballantine Books

Genre: Fiction & Literature

Synopsis:

Nina Browning is living the good life after marrying into Nashville’s elite. More recently, her husband made a fortune selling his tech business, and their adored son has been accepted to Princeton. Yet sometimes the middle-class small-town girl in Nina wonders if she’s strayed from the person she once was.

Tom Volpe is a single dad working multiple jobs while struggling to raise his headstrong daughter, Lyla. His road has been lonely, long, and hard, but he finally starts to relax after Lyla earns a scholarship to Windsor Academy, Nashville’s most prestigious private school.

Amid so much wealth and privilege, Lyla doesn’t always fit in—and her overprotective father doesn’t help—but in most ways, she’s a typical teenaged girl, happy and thriving.

Then, one photograph, snapped in a drunken moment at a party, changes everything. As the image spreads like wildfire, the Windsor community is instantly polarized, buzzing with controversy and assigning blame.

At the heart of the lies and scandal, Tom, Nina, and Lyla are forced together—all questioning their closest relationships, asking themselves who they really are, and searching for the courage to live a life of true meaning.


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I took a break from reading Emily Giffin awhile back. The last book I read from her, The One & Only, just really didn’t do it for me, so I decided to take a break from Giffin’s writing. However, the plot of All We Ever Wanted sounded different and interesting, so I thought I would give her writing another go. After reading this, I can safely this is the novel where Emily Giffin returns back to her true form.

All Ever We Wanted is a huge departure compared to Giffin’s other books. Romance is not the main focus of this story. Is that a bad thing? Not at all. It actually adds to the realistic nature of the plot. When I saw how authentic it was and how it was relatable to today’s issues, I was more engrossed in the story and I had huge difficulty putting it down. The story is told through multiple viewpoints, another aspect that is different from what Giffin usually writes, although, necessary with this type of story. You couldn’t just have one perspective. Different viewpoints needed to be examined and Giffin did such a terrific job doing that.

This story also tackles a lot of social issues: race, class, bias, sexual assault and affluence. Social issues that are extremely relevant today. This is a definite first for Giffin. Her previous books never really reflected the reality of society. There were things that were being said that in my mind I kept thinking “Yes, that still happens”, “Oh my god”, or “That is so true”. Never has a contemporary book been both so thought-provoking and realistic and at the same time. I usually don’t like reading contemporary books because they fail so hard to adapt or make the connection to real life. Just by how effective and entertaining All We Ever Wanted was shows that Giffin had no problem tackling the hardcore issues.

The novel also did a perfect balance of displaying the stupidity of teenagers and also their maturity. Lyla is a character that should be in more YA novels. Well-rounded and in-depth, she would make a perfect addition to the collective of great YA characters. Giffin really got into the mind of a teenager. She didn’t try so hard to be hip or a poor job trying to write teenage lingo. She concentrated on telling their story and I think that is just the perfect way of grasping the teenage voice.

Page-turner, riveting, and engrossing. All characteristics you need for your next book read. If Emily Giffin fell out of your graces, this is the novel where she makes a triumph return in your daily reading life.

I received this from NetGalley for an honest review.

Overall rating : 4 out of 5 stars

Get It At: Amazon |Barnes & Noble|Book Depository| Your local library

2 thoughts on “Book Review: All We Ever Wanted by Emily Giffin

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