All We Ever Wanted

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 27 Aug 2018

Member Reviews

I really enjoyed this book. I found it to be a very important book for teenagers, in this digital era. Even more so, for the parents as well. 
The story was well paced, with not too many lulls and decent character development. 

However, I was a little disappointed with the last quarter of the story. It seemed rushed and due to that aspect, maybe the epilogue could of given us more. I felt like it was lacking any real closure especially between Lyla's dad and Nina.
Overall a enjoyable read. 
**I received this book from netgalley for my honest review **
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In an age where pictures can be shared in seconds via social media and texting, and long-term repercussions are not considered, this story takes a very realistic scenario and plays it out with such fast-pace that it pulls you in and challenges everything you believe.  “White privilege” and minority stereotypes were addressed in this story and it was extremely well written, without being forceful toward a certain agenda.  Thankfully fiction stayed as fiction.

This story really made me feel all kinds of emotions: compassion, sympathy, anger, sadness, happiness, disgust. I loved the writing, as it was so incredibly vivid.  The characters were definitely realistic, even the teenage viewpoints and I felt like they weren’t forced.  The “uppity” status exemplified by Nina’s husband was sadly believable as well, and the conversations had between multiple parties flowed.

I really enjoyed the novel, didn’t mind thinking about the worst case scenario when it comes to consequences and actually think this book might be extremely relevant for mothers, fathers, and teenage children to read together to cause discussion.  I would definitely read another book by the same author anytime, and enjoyed this book, despite the raw scenes. It was refreshing to read something that was mature about a topic as severe as this one.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through Random House Publishing Group and NetGalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own and I appreciate the opportunity to receive an advanced reader copy to do so. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
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All We Ever Wanted is filled with difficult topics, especially for parents. Giffin explores troubled relationships of both parents and their teenage children while also diving into social classes, racism, and social media; she manages to expertly weave so many relevant topics into a novel that felt too short as I wasn't ready for it to end. Overall, this novel will stay with me for a long time.
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This novel was definitely a change for Emily Giffin, jumping from entertaining romantic comedies to tackling relevant issues of today including class, race, privilege, social media, and self-worth. It was refreshing to see her take on these topics. And seeing the story from multiple character perspectives definitely had me empathizing with the characters more and questioning how myself or someone I know would handle this type of situation. The story is so real and unfortunately so easy to imagine playing out in real time. The story and its characters draw you in very quickly and this book stays with you long after you've finished the last page. Highly recommend!
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Not what I expected…
but then again I’m not sure I had great expectations for All We Ever Wanted by Emily Giffin.  One of our other reviewers was having a hard time reading it, I was never told why, so I was asked to take it.  Usually that doesn’t bode well for the book but I tried to go in with an open mind.  There are a number of cliches that really fit this experience; “life isn’t black and white”, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”, “just when you think you have it all figured out” are a few that come to mind.   Emily’s work is and isn’t what you expect, it explores hard topics yet is an entertaining and suspenseful read, and it makes you realize that the truth is always found somewhere in the middle if you are willing to listen to all sides of a situation.

All We Ever Wanted explores a number current issues at play in society today.  The plot explores how the choices of immature teens can have quicker and more devastating implications as the result of social media.  Emily also wants the reader to consider the role that societal expectations of wealth and prestige plays on warping the ethical and moral framework of our youth.  She also makes you evaluate then reevaluate how you arrive at conclusions based on the stereotypes or beliefs you have about different types of people.  While the story-line is extremely thought provoking, the main reason most of us like to read books is for the fun of it,  All We Ever Wanted  is highly entertaining.

Emily writes with fluid word pictures and vibrant characters.  Her plot is full of twists and turns and will have you reading “just one more page” so you can find out what happens next.  Your impression of the characters will swing back and forth like a pendulum many times throughout the book.  In the end you will realize that you just experienced one of those hidden gems in literature, a book that is both contemplative and entertaining but that mimics real life.  It will affirm that there are no fairy tale endings just real people trying to make the best choices they can with the hand they have been dealt.

4.5!
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I've been reading Emily Giffin religiously for years, but her last couple books have been a miss for me. This one, though, was a return to her better years! There's a lot going on in terms of social commentary, when Nina's son posts a photo of a drunken, half-clothed Latina classmate online and captions it with a racist remark to boot. There's manipulation on so many levels from so many people, and it's hard to know who to trust. I felt so much for Lyla, and wanted nothing more than for her to feel loved and accepted.
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Emily Giffin not only writes great stories but she writes about people that you think you know (or are) and she puts them into situations that you both want to be in and want to avoid.  All We Ever Wanted is Giffin getting back to the stories she does best.
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I enjoyed this story because it didn't follow the predictable story lines that some stories and even tv shows do. This one made a statement. It was good. The characters were so well written that I found myself frustrated with characters because they jumped off the page so I could shout at them. 

I loved Tom and Lyla's relationship and how he strives to be the best father he can be for his daughter and without her mom in the picture. I also enjoyed how Nina sticks with her gut and instinct even against everything she's thought she wanted and surrounded herself with. 

As a mother of two sons and two daughters, I can put myself into both Nina and Tom's shoes. It's hard to be a parent and when something like this comes about you just don't know what to think. It's tough. It has been an eye opener for me and has brought up conversations you think you'd never need to have with your precious children. Especially teen children. 

I rated All We Ever Wanted four stars because I felt like the ending was rushed. I would have liked to know more about what happened at the end. The whole story was so good but then it ended and that was that.
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Great book. With the author in mind I picked up the book to read., not sure where it would lead. I was pleasantly surprised. From the start you are brought into the storyline. The pictures painted of the characters are detailed from the start with eloquence and grit. I could not put the book down, I wanted to keep reading. I wanted to see the story unfold around me. The cast of characters is perfect, as are the underlying messages woven expertly into the story.
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One of my new favorite books! This author has such a way with words the pages flew by in no time! I can’t wait to see the next work by this author! This was such a joy to read!
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I really liked this book by Emily Giffin!  It offered many perspectives around issues of privilege and how kids react to having it all.  Following different characters really offered a few of all sides and made it so hard to put down.  
I would have liked a little more at the end of the novel, it ended really quickly, but overall, a really good novel!
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This is Griffin’s best book to date, an unflinching look at privilege and its ultimate cost .  Three very different points of view make the characters in this novel multi-dimensional .  This is a book worth reading, and a great book club pick.
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All We Ever Wanted was an emotional novel!  I enjoyed how the characters’ emotions were portrayed throughout the whole story.  Nina and Kirk’s lives change forever after their son Finch is involved in a situation where a controversial photo is taken and shared to other kids from his high school.  Lyla who is in the picture just wants the whole thing to go away.  But her father Tom wants whoever is responsible for taking the picture to be punished.  Finch's ex girlfriend is also involved in the situation.  The kids struggle with the aftermath of what happened as the days go on.  The parents themselves are struggling with it all.  Kirk wants to plow right in and “fix” things.  While Nina is all full of emotions because of what her son did.  Unsurprising, Tom is very angry and wants to protect his daughter.  The story is told through Nina, Tom, and Lyla's viewpoints.
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I used to love Emily Giffen books, but her style is just played out. She seems to try too hard. I did not like this story.
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When I think of Giffin, I think of romance, and this was not her typical book. The story themes are very timely, dealing with social media, race and class biases. While a surprising story from her I found it very enjoyable.
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All We Ever Wanted was the perfect summer time beach read. It was fast paced, entertaining, and filled with dramatic flair. All of the things you want when baking in the sun on the beach! There wasn't anything super special about this novel, and I don't particularly think it was Giffin's best, however there wasn't really anything wrong with it either. It was just a simple and entertaining novel. 

All in all, there's not too much to say about this book. It was good, I liked it, but it isn't one that will stick in my head for long. BUT with that being said, it really was entertaining and perfect for a light and easy summer read. Thank you to Random House and Negalley for sending this novel in exchange for an honest review. 

Rating 3/5
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I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

It took me a long time to get to this one, as I read the blurb and winced at the subject matter, imagining a pretty stressful read. I wasn't all wrong; it wasn't a particularly pleasurable read since I could only too well imagine some version of the broad outlines of the story happening in real life, and the result wouldn't exactly be pretty. But at the same time, I appreciated that the author tried to take a slightly different angle on a story that feels a bit "ripped from the headlines." If you like Jodi Picault, then you'll probably really like this book - and I know many people absolutely derive a lot of reading pleasure from those type of novels. 

I guess my main objection to this one wasn't anything to do with the writing style (which is fine if nothing special) or even the plot itself. It's the underlying assumption, running through the book, that these sort of things happening are kind of just an inevitable part of life. I won't say which things, as I don't want to spoil the plot, but that assumption - that what happens here is some sort of common feature of being young, of gender relations, or of racial clashes (for want of a better term) - well that just seems like lunacy to me, and not at all real.
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I really liked this book. I liked the item that there were discussions about consequences of actions. I loved the connection between Nina and Lyla. I would highly recommend it, especially in the age of social media!
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All I Ever Wanted follows two families from different sides of town after their children are involved in a scandalous social media moment. Although the topic was relevant, I had a hard time getting through the dialog at times, but I really enjoyed the family dynamics. Nina and Lyla’s perspectives were some of my favorite and I think Emily Giffin did a great job of balancing respectability politics with a person’s inner conflict and you can tell she put a lot of thought into it.
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This novel is definitely a different turn for Emily Giffin. It's one of those novels that makes one imagine how one would handle things as a parent. I found it compulsively readable. There was a point in the middle where I said wait, "no way" could I ever imagine reacting as any of the characters in this novel. Fortunately, I found the ending very satisfying despite that.
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