All We Ever Wanted

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 27 Aug 2018

Member Reviews

Nina leads a charmed life, or so it seems from the outside. No one can see the turmoil that lurks just beneath the shiny surface. Then one photograph throws Nina's perfect world upside down. 

With her son's future at stake Nina sets out to learn the truth. Not caring if the truth is ugly or not, she examines all sides of the story, unexpectedly developing feelings for the victim and her father. 

What unravels are the secrets of the rice and spoiled. A deep web of lies, stunts and depraving behavior. A delicious read for sure.
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All We Ever Wanted by Emily Giffin is a departure from her usual sweet romantic stories. Don't go into this thinking that is what you will be reading. But, that said, this was a book that I did not want to put down, I needed to know more. There were little twists and turns throughout and right before I would decide to be done for the time being, something would happen and I would have to keep reading! The story revolves around an inappropriate photo taken at a teen party. It is told from the point-of-view of the main girl, Lyla, her father, and the main boy's mom. There is good character development, I definitely knew enough to intensely dislike a few of them and to be rooting for others.
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The Brownings are super rich. So when his son, Finch, is accused of passing out a sexually explicit photo of a girl (Lyla), Kirk Browning thinks he can make the problem go away by throwing money at it. But Nina Browning, who comes from a middle-class background, disagrees. Going against her husband and her ‘supposed’ friends, she sides with Lyla and her dad. Along the way, she also takes a close look at her life and what she really wants for herself and her son. 
I usually read thrillers, but this one caught my eye a few months ago and I’m glad I took the time to read it. I loved the way the writer portrayed Nina’s determination to do the right thing, even if it meant making sure her son would have to pay for his mistake. Lyla’s character was refreshing and very real. I would have liked the ending to be a little more fleshed out, but I'll take it!

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the ARC.
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With technology being a part of our daily lives, this book hits home the lasting impact an impulsive decision can have. Hopefully this book will give at least a few readers pause to consider the consequences that occur when making decisions regarding what to put on the internet and the impact it has not just on the person affected, but those around them as well.
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Circumstances propel Nina, Tom and Lyla together. While the book covers many family topics and how to find you path, I thought it was a bit too forced. I have yet to capture the magic of her earlier books.
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I enjoyed reading this book , All We Ever Wanted, from Emily Giffin. I have read all her books and this book touched on a much different topic than her other books. Throughout the book, my emotions were all over the place, constantly changing where I stood on everything. The story is told by three POV'S but I really needed to hear from Finch's POV. I liked how the three main characters changed by the end of the book. Their growth as a person in the end was great to see. The epilogue left me hanging and wanting more of Finch's POV. I could not get invested in Finch because I felt I really did not know him so the ending fell flat for me. Emily Giffin did a great job telling a story from more than one side. Also, the story shows that doing the right thing might not be the easiest but it is the right thing to do!
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A modern-day novel that touches on many vital subjects—family relationships, teenage-parent relationships, teenage life, abuse, and hope—told from the points of view of the three main characters. Suspenseful. Thoughtful. Highly recommended. 

Marilyn Levinson/Allison Brook
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I have read everything Giffin has written. With the exception of one book, I have loved everything Giffin has written. One thing that I have enjoyed about Giffin's previous work is that she typically does a very good job at presenting a situation like cheating or motherhood from a unique angle. I was really excited for this novel because this is such a timely situation that we are seeing all over the place. 

This novel felt incomplete and rushed to me. I say incomplete because, we were presented with three different viewpoints, but we lacked one of the most important viewpoints that of Finch. I never really got a handle on him or who he was. Then we have this tidy epilogue where it's implied that he has become a different person, but I'm not entirely sure who he was in the first place. Perhaps the whole novel was simply to answer the question, "What would I do if my child did something like this to another child?" when, I think, the more interesting question is, "Why would my child do this to another child and can I prevent this?"

Overall, I just feel like this novel left a lot to be desired.
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Wow. This book is so timely as a mom raising teenagers. I felt so much for Lyla-and for her dad. Our kids have become so immune to what is inappropriate, my heart broke for her that she felt this kind of thing happens so often that it would blow over. I felt outrage, and fear-as a mom, we want our kids to make good choices and I was just as sad as Fitch's mom was to learn how easy it is for a good kid to make very bad decisions. I was not a fan of the rushed ending, but thought everything until those last few pages was very well done.
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I liked this book, but didn't love it. Although she tackled some relevant topics, I just didn't connect well with the characters--they all seemed a little too stereotypical and one dimensional to me. I think maybe she tried to hit too many issues and maybe it would've worked a little better for me if she had delved deeper into just one. It was an entertaining read, but just lacked something for me.
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Emily Giffin is a go-to for me when I am in the mood for some chick lit. I always enjoy her books and that held true for All We Ever Wanted. I was sucked into the story and finished it in one sitting.
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So, I’m a bit late on this one, having downloaded it to my Kindle months ago. I’m not sure why I let it sit for so long because once I started this one, I was completely hooked. All We Ever Wanted tells the story of the wealthy, upstanding Nashville family, The Brownings. Kirk and his wife Nina are extremely proud when they learn that their son Finch has been accepted into Princeton. However, while at a charity gala one evening, they learn from one of the gossipy women in their circle that Finch has taken an inappropriate picture of a fellow student at his high-profile private school, and that it is spreading among the community like wildfire. Tom Volpe is a single Dad working extra jobs and doing his best to raise his teenage daughter, Lyla. She attends Windsor Academy with Finch thanks to financial aid and doesn’t exactly fit in with the rich and privileged students at the school, but when Finch’s photograph of Lyla has circulated around, Tom aggressively defends his daughter, demands repercussions for Finch’s actions, and finds a surprising ally in the process. 

I absolutely loved this novel. I mean, LOVED it. Emily Giffin’s characters were completely amazing – whether good or bad – and the main conflict of the novel is something that could happen to any parent. I can’t count how many times I have made comments such as, “my child would never do anything like that,” assuming that I had raised him/her “right” and they just wouldn’t think of doing this or that. In this novel, those assumptions are completely upset and proved to be untrue when the popular, wealthy, intelligent, and charming Finch takes a photo of Lyla and then captions it with a comment even more inappropriate than the photo itself. However, once the photo is shared and each family begins dealing with the aftermath and consequences, lines are blurred, desperate measures are taken to fix everything, and it essentially becomes a battle of morals and what is right and wrong. Add in several lies, omissions, some manipulation and you can guess how things go.

I would say that the major theme of the novel revolves around the fact that assuming things about others – whether loved ones or complete strangers – is a careless way of thinking and unfortunately, can lead to a great deal of disappointment, anger, and heartbreak. Nina not only learns things about her son and his morals that are surprising and disappointing, she also recognizes and/or finally faces things about her husband Kirk that she had not seen. Nina and Tom are the moral heroes in this story, Lyla is repeatedly a victim, Kirk learns nothing, and as far as Finch goes, I honestly don’t know if he learned anything from the experience but I don’t want to go into that because of spoilers. 

Faithful followers of my blog know that overall, I prefer romance or more light-hearted women’s fiction than novels such as this, but I cannot praise All We Ever Wanted enough. I think that parents will especially relate to this novel, but anyone that has ever stopped to wonder if their “perfect” life is truly “perfect” will most likely be fascinated by this novel. It’s a page-turner, there are several twists and surprises, but most importantly this one will get you thinking about things that are important. 

*Thanks to NetGalley and Ballantine Books for providing this review copy in exchange for my honest review!
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Chick-flick books are usually not what I ever reach for - I usually go for murder mysteries. But somehow I love the other books I have read by Emily Grifin. This has a slight change of a pace though and doesn't feel chick-flick at all - more domestic drama. When I was 97% done on my kindle and the story was still spiralling, I was wondering how it would ever wrap up cleany - but it does - with a tug at the heartstrings.
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All We Ever Wanted was not my first book by Emily Giffin and I'm kind of glad about that because this was not my favorite one. In fact, I had to start it 3 or 4 times before it took and I pulled myself through the rest of the book. If I didn't have a bit of a loyalty to Giffin, I may not have made the additional effort at all. 

Ultimately, I was disappointed in how the characters in this novel come across. They seemed a bit cookie cutter & fell far too hard into stereotypical male/female, rich/middle-class/poor roles. I was hoping for her to mix it up a bit but she never came through. The ending came and went and I was left unimpressed and slightly bored. Sorry Emily!!

So why three stars? She really is a great writer and I could definitely see what she was attempting here. I didn't HATE anything about it - but I didn't really LOVE anything either. For me, it just didn't hit the mark. 

Bottom line: Fingers crossed her next one will take my breathe away.
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All We Ever Wanted tackles a more serious subject matter than in Giffin's previous books. This book comes at an important time with the rise of the MeToo movement. The main character, Nina Browning has to decide whether to continue her posh existence in an upscale Nashville neighborhood, or to confront, head on, a matter of entitlement and injustice involving members of her family. While the book could be at times hard to read because of the subject matter, it is certainly worth finishing and worthy of our time.
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This book was Griffins best. It was excellent. The topic was current, the characters relatable, and I would recommend.
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This was a really great read. I've read and enjoyed Giffin's previous work, but this was a very different story than I'm used to seeing from her. But it was all the more enjoyable for it. The characters were well written and engaging--flawed but relatable. I appreciated how she kept the reader in the dark on what had truly happened until the end of the book. Would highly recommend this book!
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All We Ever Wanted is the first book I've ever read by Emily Griffin, and while I kept hearing great things about this book, I just didn't feel that it was anything spectacular. Don't get me wrong - it was a very well-written book and was easy to read from beginning to end. But to me, it just felt too similar to all the other books I read and other books of similar plot were more gripping. All We Ever Wanted would be an easy beach read or on a long trip as things tidy up somewhat at the end. There were a few things that I wish were resolved and it didn't seem like there would be a sequel to the story. So, I'll just have to be satisfied with the partially "satisfactory" ending.

In All We Ever Wanted, the story is told in alternating POVs with the main character, Nina, as more of the protagonist of the story as we see her life slowly unfold. Nina is your typical wealthy housewife who came from a middle class family, married rich, and lives with her son and husband. As the story opens, we are immediately taken into an incident that involves her son, Finch, and his classmate, Lyla. The story then quickly escalates to how Nina, her husband, Lyla, and Lyla's dad, Tom deals with this incident. And this is where the story felt kind of typical for me - the fallout of the incident just didn't seem dire enough nor did I feel that it was as devastating as it really should be. This is where the author should have really stressed how horrible the incident was and how the aftermath should be even more tragic and gripping. But that's just me and how I felt in reading the story.

All throughout the story, we see how Nina's husband Kirk had slowly turned from the doting and hard working husband to one that starts to take advantage of his wealth after he sold his technology company. Since he already came from a rich lifestyle, he tends to act like he's better than others, especially those who do not live in the upper crust area nor have a 6-figure income. Nina, on the other hand, was born from a more humble family and background and in fact feels kind of embarrassed of all the wealth. This is also where I wish the author had stressed more about Nina's disgust with all the wealth around her. She is described as humble yet she still lives in an expensive house, drives a luxury car, and wears designer clothing. So didn't feel like there was too much of a hardship on her conscience on that part.

I did like Tom though. While he was more of a blue collar worker and was in fact, disgusted with all the self-righteous millionaires around him, he was the one I felt had the most character growth. His daughter Lyla though was a bit annoying as was Finch, Nina and Kirk's son. Lyla was described very well as the typical self absorbed teenager and while she was supposed to be a smart self absorbed teenager, she did become a better person after the incident happened. Her ending of the story was better than I had hoped.

The gaping inconsistencies at the end bothered me because I wanted to know more about what happened to Kirk and Finch. It did seem that Finch learned his lesson but then the ending just kind of focused on Nina and Tom. If the author had intertwined these two characters a bit more (perhaps) in more chapters then the ending would have had more meaning for me. In essence, it just felt like the author wanted to end things on a happier note than how the story first began.

Overall, it's still a nice read and can easily be read in one sitting. The writing is smooth and clever but I just didn't feel very connected to any of the characters, and I feel that is one of the most important component to a great story.

Thank you to NetGalley and Emily Giffin for the ARC.
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As usual, Emily Griffin has written an excellent novel. I was looking forward to this novel and it did not disappoint. All We Ever Wanted is a great Ivey for anyone who is looking for a story where you could find yourself lost in.
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I really enjoyed this book. It was not as light as most of Emily Giffin’s books but very relevant. I especially enjoyed how the story was told from multiple perspectives. Strongly recommended.
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