All We Ever Wanted – Emily Giffin
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Release Date: June 2018
Synopsis: Two very different families collide in the new novel from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Something Borrowed, The One & Only, and First Comes Love. When scandal threatens your loved ones, how far would you go to protect them?
Nina Browning is living the good life after marrying into Nashville’s elite. Her husband’s tech business is booming, and her son, Finch, is bound for Princeton.
Thomas Talone is a single dad working multiple jobs. His daughter, Lila, was recently accepted to Nashville’s most prestigious private high school on a scholarship.
Then one devastating photo changes everything. Lila passes out at a party, drunk and half-naked. Finch snaps a picture, types out a caption and–click–sends it out to a few friends. The photo spreads quickly, and before long, an already divided community takes sides, throws blame, and implodes. And in the midst of it all, Nina and Tom are forced to question all their assumptions about love and loyalty.
In this riveting novel, Emily Giffin tells a story of characters who face impossible choices–but emerge to live more truly to themselves than they ever have before.
I really liked Something Borrowed–but I’ve never read anything else by Giffin until now. After putting down All We Ever Wanted, I wasn’t entirely sure how I felt about it. Truth be told, I’m still not, so expect this review to be a bit disjointed.
All We Ever Wanted was clunky. Switching chapters by character is fine by me, but I felt like the different personalities were total stereotypes of a middle-class man (Tom), upper-class woman (Nina) and typical teenager (Lyla). Nina was the only real character that I felt eschewed her stereotype by the end of the book, though Lyla doesn’t wind up in too bad of a place either.
Apart from Nina and Lyla, I hated the characters. Her dad Tom was so quick to fly off the handle and mistrust people. Finch and Kirk were just miserable rich jerks in chinos and polos throwing their money around. I was just really irritated by the men in this book.
So what did I like? I liked Nina’s sub-plot the most–the struggle she has with growing up poor versus her current high status, thanks to her husband Kirk. Her evolution and watching her come to terms with her slimeball of a husband and realizing just how much of an ass he is was satisfying to say the least. Also, seeing her struggle with how to best support her son, who is turning out a lot like his father, kept me turning pages.
All in all, this wasn’t a total dud for me, but I didn’t love it either.
Thank you to the publishers and NetGalley for providing an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.