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All We Ever Wanted

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In the riveting new novel from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of First Comes Love and Something Borrowed, three very different people must choose between their family and their values. 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 accep In the riveting new novel from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of First Comes Love and Something Borrowed, three very different people must choose between their family and their values. 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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In the riveting new novel from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of First Comes Love and Something Borrowed, three very different people must choose between their family and their values. 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 accep In the riveting new novel from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of First Comes Love and Something Borrowed, three very different people must choose between their family and their values. 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.

30 review for All We Ever Wanted

  1. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    *3.5 stars* With her ninth novel, Emily Giffin takes an ambitious step away from her traditional love story narratives and attempts to tackle relevant topics surrounding social media, privilege, racism, and self-worth. Things that feel all too timely with the dominance of social media and the #metoo movement. I’m just not so sure it all worked. Despite the staggering number of issues Giffin sets out to address with this plot, there’s a lack of emotionality, leaving the reader to flail in the shall *3.5 stars* With her ninth novel, Emily Giffin takes an ambitious step away from her traditional love story narratives and attempts to tackle relevant topics surrounding social media, privilege, racism, and self-worth. Things that feel all too timely with the dominance of social media and the #metoo movement. I’m just not so sure it all worked. Despite the staggering number of issues Giffin sets out to address with this plot, there’s a lack of emotionality, leaving the reader to flail in the shallow end of the pool. Entertaining for sure, yet all too forgettable, in the grand scheme of things. I think by now we’ve all read some version of this story or at least seen a Dateline special (have I mentioned, I’m a junkie?). A sexually explicit photo of a drunken scholarship girl, taken by the uber-popular rich guy, and captioned with a racist “joke", goes viral. The question becomes, what really happened that night and who’s responsible? It takes the rumor mill—gossip perpetuated by one of her biggest rivals—to snap Nina Browning into reality. Maybe buying her son a brand new G-Wagon, allowing him to drink without repercussion and footing the bill for everything his heart has ever desired has made him feel entitled. Untouchable. Privileged. Ya think? Compounding her regret is her husband’s own pompous attitude. In stereotypical fashion, Nina’s husband is convinced throwing money at their problem will simply make things disappear. They have plenty of it being one of Nashville’s elite, so what’s the harm? Why hold their son accountable when it might jeopardize his acceptance to Princeton or tarnish their standing in the community? Gag. The major obstacle to just moving on is Lyla’s dad. The typical overprotective father, with a host of issues and insecurities surrounding money, is adamant. Taking a stance (although, he wavers at the most unexpected times) and protecting his daughter’s self-worth means not allowing the incident to just fade into the ether. Lyla earns the spotlight here, being the naive teenage girl, too in love with her crush to do anything other than brush away his major error in judgement. With time and wisdom, she'll learn. There are a host of other issues packed within these pages—relationship baggage, infidelity, dishonesty, date rape, divorce . . . it’s a bit much. While the ending is a little unexpected, it still feels deflating somehow. I can’t help but to think, if Giffin would have focused in on a few key issues, instead of trying to color with every crayon in the box, the big picture might have been more impactful. While I would consider this an enjoyable experience—for the most part—it’s not one I’m earmarking as a favorite of Emily Giffin’s. **Thank you to Ballantine Books and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for an honest review.**

  2. 5 out of 5

    Emily May

    "You should always side with your kid. Always." "Without regard to his actions?" I asked. "No matter what?" Here's two things I know for certain: 1) I would never condone abusive discriminatory behaviour, and 2) I would do everything within my power to protect my sons. So what happens if those two things directly contradict one another? This book surprised me by how much it affected me. I actually felt deeply discomfited and sad while reading it. I've never read Emily Giffin and, to be honest, I "You should always side with your kid. Always." "Without regard to his actions?" I asked. "No matter what?" Here's two things I know for certain: 1) I would never condone abusive discriminatory behaviour, and 2) I would do everything within my power to protect my sons. So what happens if those two things directly contradict one another? This book surprised me by how much it affected me. I actually felt deeply discomfited and sad while reading it. I've never read Emily Giffin and, to be honest, I probably wouldn't have if this hadn't popped up in the Goodreads Choice nominations and happened to be available at my local library. It was a spur-of-the-moment decision that became something I couldn't put down. Multiple perspectives are brought in as this story unfolds. One is Nina Browning, whose son Finch tears apart their cushy life when he posts a picture of a latina classmate passed out drunk and barely-dressed at a party, and then captions it with a racist joke. Nina's distress is palpable, and memories of her own traumatic past surface as she is forced to consider how her son became someone who would do this and if there's time to save him (and others) from himself. I found it extremely compelling. On a plot level, I needed to know how things would work out. Nina becomes convinced Finch's father has fuelled this toxic behaviour and she starts to question her husband and their marriage, too. The story often seems headed in certain directions but surprises us by not giving into the usual cliches. But it's more than just a compelling family drama. Maybe I felt this one so deeply because the scenario was horrifying-- what do you do when the person you love and care for more than anything seems to be hurting others? It's obviously not an easy question to answer, and Nina's reaction to it felt honest and sad. All We Ever Wanted asks questions about privilege and entitlement, responsibility and blame. Despite the impression I got from the marketing, this is not a romance. At all. It hits so much harder than that twinkly blue cover would have you think. CW: (view spoiler)[Rape (on-page, brief but graphic); attempted suicide; racism; misogyny/slut-shaming. (hide spoiler)] Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube

  3. 5 out of 5

    Deanna

    My reviews can also be seen at: https://deesradreadsandreviews.wordpr... “All We Ever Wanted” was my first read from Emily Giffin and I loved it! Life is good for the Browning family. Nina Browning’s husband Kirk sold his software company at the right time and they went from comfortable to very wealthy in a very short period of time. Nina doesn’t like to flaunt how wealthy they are, but her husband is a different story. Nina is trying to keep their eighteen-year-old son, Finch from becoming enti My reviews can also be seen at: https://deesradreadsandreviews.wordpr... “All We Ever Wanted” was my first read from Emily Giffin and I loved it! Life is good for the Browning family. Nina Browning’s husband Kirk sold his software company at the right time and they went from comfortable to very wealthy in a very short period of time. Nina doesn’t like to flaunt how wealthy they are, but her husband is a different story. Nina is trying to keep their eighteen-year-old son, Finch from becoming entitled though she admits they don’t say no to him often enough. They just found out that Finch has been accepted to Princeton and the family is thrilled. The book opens on a typical Saturday night…well typical for the Browning family. They are attending their fifth gala of the year. This gala is about suicide awareness and prevention and they are being honoured for their contributions. Lately Nina has been feeling like something is off in her marriage. She wonders if it’s money coming between them or something else. As she listens to her husband giving a speech about the horrors of losing someone to suicide, Nina thinks about Finch and all of the opportunities he has ahead of him. Time has gone by so fast. He used to tell her everything and now she’s lucky if she gets a few words out of him. She really can’t believe that he will be off to college in the fall. What Nina doesn’t know is that right at that moment their son is across town making the worst decision of his life. Tom Volpe is a single father who works multiple jobs in order to support his daughter, Lyla. Tom is extremely proud of his daughter. She is very smart which is how she ended up at Windsor Academy. The school is intense academically as well as socially. But so far Lyla seems to have adjusted well. As she heads out Saturday evening, she promises her father that she won’t be out late – he tries not to worry. However, later that evening Tom senses that something is wrong with Lyla. Sure enough, a few minutes later his phone rings… The story is told from the perspectives of Nina, Tom, and Lyla which really helped the story flow nicely. I liked hearing from both parents as well as Lyla. As parents, our first instinct is to protect our children from everything. But are there times where we can’t (and maybe shouldn’t) step in and fix everything? What is the difference between privilege and entitlement? It’s hard when your child makes a mistake….to know when to help them and when to step back. It can be so difficult to let our children suffer the consequences of their actions. Emily Giffin sure knows how to tell an engrossing and entertaining story with relatable and perfectly imperfect characters. I thought this was a well-written and thought-provoking novel that deals with important and relevant issues. I liked how everything came together and especially loved the epilogue. “ All We Ever Wanted ” was a very powerful and touching read that I’ll be thinking about for quite some time. I’m really looking forward to reading more from this very talented author. I'd like to thank Ballantine Books for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for my honest review.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Theresa Alan

    This is a truly powerful, wonderful novel. It’s been many years since I’ve read an Emily Giffin novel, but I enjoyed those books and was excited to read this one. My previous experience with her work did not prepare me for the complex, layered, serious manner of this excellent book. For most of the first chapter, I thought this was going to be a book about a couple that went from well-off to obscenely wealthy having marital woes. Boo hoo. But when I learned what it was really about, it took a da This is a truly powerful, wonderful novel. It’s been many years since I’ve read an Emily Giffin novel, but I enjoyed those books and was excited to read this one. My previous experience with her work did not prepare me for the complex, layered, serious manner of this excellent book. For most of the first chapter, I thought this was going to be a book about a couple that went from well-off to obscenely wealthy having marital woes. Boo hoo. But when I learned what it was really about, it took a dark turn. It was important that the story was told from multiple points of view of the mother of the boy accused of taking the comprising photograph of a passed-out girl at a party, the father of the girl, and Lyla herself because you can’t quite figure out who is telling the truth about that night. Also, it’s about the way teenagers don’t want to disappoint their parents, and parents want to do their best for their kids. There were pleasing twists in the story, and I cried my guts out at the end. Highly recommend. Thanks so much to NetGalley and Ballantine Books for the opportunity to review this book, which RELEASES JUNE 26, 2018. For more of my reviews, please visit http://www.theresaalan.net/blog

  5. 4 out of 5

    Lola

    This is not literature for birds (chick lit) or women’s fiction. This is everyone’s fiction. Because this kind of story should be directed towards every adult, regardless of gender, color, class, etc. This is not a love story. It is both heart-breaking and heart-mending. You will be frustrated half of the time, cry at unexpected moments, and smile rarely. This is not a happy tale, but it is an important and empowering one. Although there have been stories about abuse (of power, physical and emotion This is not literature for birds (chick lit) or women’s fiction. This is everyone’s fiction. Because this kind of story should be directed towards every adult, regardless of gender, color, class, etc. This is not a love story. It is both heart-breaking and heart-mending. You will be frustrated half of the time, cry at unexpected moments, and smile rarely. This is not a happy tale, but it is an important and empowering one. Although there have been stories about abuse (of power, physical and emotional…) published in the past, the way this life-altering scandal is dealt with is different. It’s told from three distinct points of view, all in the first person singular. A mother, a father, and a daughter. Only the father and daughter are related, the mother being the parent of the boy who caused the scandal, but they connect to one another in various ways. It’s filled with manipulatory behaviour – so much that it will mess with your head and what you believe is true – and characters behaving atrociously. There is lying, cheating, neglecting, and such bad role models. Definitely not an easy book to read. Unfortunately, I predict many will pick this up expecting it to yes deal with serious issues, but also be dramatic in an entertaining way – because of this author’s previously published books. I assure you that will not happen. It’s a compelling story, because you’ll want – no, need – to know the fate of the characters, but rarely was I able to crack a smile. Did I even? I hope this will truly empower people to speak out about abuse and help others grow into decent citizens of the world. Blog | Youtube | Twitter | Instagram | Google+ | Bloglovin’

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader

    4 timely stars to All We Ever Wanted! ⭐⭐⭐⭐ When Emily Giffin releases a new book, it’s a big deal, and I think All We Ever Wanted is her best book yet! That said, All We Ever Wanted gets off to a rocky start. The first chapter is narrated by Nina who escaped her middle class roots to live amongst Nashville’s wealthiest. I was worried over-the-top grandeur would take center stage in this book, but it did not. Nina’s son, Finch (no offense to any Finches of the world, but that name made me giggle a 4 timely stars to All We Ever Wanted! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ When Emily Giffin releases a new book, it’s a big deal, and I think All We Ever Wanted is her best book yet! That said, All We Ever Wanted gets off to a rocky start. The first chapter is narrated by Nina who escaped her middle class roots to live amongst Nashville’s wealthiest. I was worried over-the-top grandeur would take center stage in this book, but it did not. Nina’s son, Finch (no offense to any Finches of the world, but that name made me giggle a few times!), has been accepted to Princeton. The next chapter is narrated by Tom, a single dad working multiple jobs to raise his willful daughter, Lyla, who earns a scholarship to Windsor Academy, where she rubs elbows with the most privileged kids in town, including Finch, of course. We also hear from Lyla as a narrator. Everything is going well until a photo goes viral. Amid all this scandal, Tom, Nina, and Lyla are left holding the bag. How will they move past what happened? What is the right thing to do? All We Ever Wanted is timely because we hear most every day a story where a teen, or even adult, has made a mistake on social media, one that could have a lasting impact on that person and their family, and even their community. I enjoyed hearing from the different points of view, and where the truth actually lies is anyone’s guess. Additionally, Giffin addressed race and class biases, and there were unexpected twists to the story. All in all, All We Ever Wanted was a powerful and emotional journey. I highly recommend if you are looking for a summer read with plenty of substance and much to think about. Thank you to Random House/Ballantine for an advance copy. All We Ever Wanted will be published on June 26, 2018. My reviews can also be found on my blog: www.jennifertarheelreader.com

  7. 4 out of 5

    BernLuvsBooks (Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas)

    "Sometimes you just can't see the things that are the closest to you." All We Ever Wanted was a very thought-provoking read that addresses timely and pertinent subject matter for today's society and technological age. At first glance, Nina Browning seems to have it all. She is rich, focusing on doing charity work and her son has been accepted to Princeton. She has the kind of "ideal" life that others envy. Yet, she finds herself embroiled in a scandal that she never thought would happen to he "Sometimes you just can't see the things that are the closest to you." All We Ever Wanted was a very thought-provoking read that addresses timely and pertinent subject matter for today's society and technological age. At first glance, Nina Browning seems to have it all. She is rich, focusing on doing charity work and her son has been accepted to Princeton. She has the kind of "ideal" life that others envy. Yet, she finds herself embroiled in a scandal that she never thought would happen to her. Her son, Finch, snaps a revealing photo of Lyla, his drunken underage classmate who is a scholarship student at the prestigious Windsor Academy. He captions the photo with a racist comment and shares it amongst his friends. The photo spreads throughout their upper class, privileged student body causing controversy amongst the students and parents. The book's chapters are told in alternating voices/point of views. This made for an engrossing story as different tidbits were revealed by each character but also made you doubt everything - as we were left pondering whose version was actually true. I love how Giffin focused on the emotions of each character from their perspective as they dealt with the aftermath of the photo. We saw Lyla's struggle to be accepted in this upperclass world. We saw Nina question how money and privilege affected her choices and parenting style. Through her husband, we saw how ruthless and cold money can make a person. What happens when you are forced to see your partner and ultimately your child in a different light and you don't like what you see? Life is full of choices. We face countless of them on a daily basis. Some are simply more far reaching and profound than others. As parents, we try to instill our children with the morals and ethics they need to make the right decisions. Ultimately, the choices and decisions they make are up to them and they have to deal with the consequences of their actions. As a parent I found this book thought provoking, especially the social media aspect which is so relevant today. I couldn't help but think about what I would do and feel if I were Nina or Lyla's dad, Tom. This one was engaging from beginning to end and made you think about the dynamics of marriage, money & power, morals & ethics and parenthood.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jordana

    All We Ever Wanted is all we’ve come to expect from bestselling author Emily Giffin: an engaging, effortless, readable story that is deceptively likeable and painfully shallow. Giffin asks nothing from readers but a few moments of their time, and in exchange delivers high-gloss low-payoff novels that showcase entitlement and moral ambivalence disguised as depth. By now, her pattern is set, but this time, the stakes are higher. --It could happen anywhere-- All We Ever Wanted is a domestic drama abo All We Ever Wanted is all we’ve come to expect from bestselling author Emily Giffin: an engaging, effortless, readable story that is deceptively likeable and painfully shallow. Giffin asks nothing from readers but a few moments of their time, and in exchange delivers high-gloss low-payoff novels that showcase entitlement and moral ambivalence disguised as depth. By now, her pattern is set, but this time, the stakes are higher. --It could happen anywhere-- All We Ever Wanted is a domestic drama about the upheaval that occurs when the 18-year-old son of a wealthy and prominent Nashville couple posts a questionable photo of an underage girl, launching reverberations that upend the family’s smug existence and that of friends and relations as well. The premise is compelling. The execution leaves Giffin’s position unclear. --Like us, only better-- Giffin’s bread and butter characters are what you might call beautiful people with first world problems. The first world is my address, so I’m game for domestic drama of the white privileged set. Heck, some of my best friends are wealthy Caucasians with country club memberships…. The problem is that Giffin wants to write her characters two ways, and it leads her nowhere. She seeks to explore the pitfalls of privilege, yet she absolves her heroines of mistakes and casts them as well-intended victims who are really good people, honest, if you just look behind the Chanel handbag and Mercedes SUV. --Meet the mom-- When we meet her, the main character, Nina, has ridden high for two decades on the wealth and cache of her husband’s success. She is a walking fashion plate whose fondest expressions come not for her husband or son, but for the custom-made furnishings and designer clothes that her lifestyle affords her. And good for her. That’s all fine. Three cheers for Nina, no one is judging. She married a wealthy guy, kept herself thin and pretty, it’s her life to enjoy fabric swatches and poached salmon lunches if she so pleases. But when Nina awakens from her comfortable reverie, she notices that her spoiled son and rich husband have bloomed into arrogant snobs. She spends the rest of the book castigating, criticizing, and rejecting them. What she does not do is mother her son. She never misses a Starbucks, but in the time it takes her to vilify her boy and drift out of his maternal reach, she never once grabs the scruff of his obnoxious neck to launch the tush-kicking that his behavior demands. Indeed, her son is facing dire consequences, either with severe punishment or life as an asshole. Moms step in; Nina steps out. --Holding out for a hero-- The unsettling part is that, in Giffin world, Nina is the hero. Nina is the character with the moral authority. This woman whose choices have contributed to, if not created, the family crisis, bails on them and casts herself as an innocent victimized bystander. She benefitted from every lazy parenting moment that led here, but neither she nor the book ever say, “Hey, lady, you know this happened on your watch, right?” Instead, her self-involved shirking is supposed to signal some sort of heroic feministic coming of age. It does no such thing, and this is Giffin’s authorial failing. She is a powerful storyteller with a weak moral compass for her characters. Her stories build a compelling, if cliched, setup, but she is neither honest nor complete when it comes time to dole out denouement and judgment. Perhaps Giffin loves her characters too much to make them fully flawed people; perhaps she is writing too much of her own personal conflicts between success and the desire to be perceived as good. Whatever drives her pen, it should demand more of stories and her characters. Hold them accountable, don’t make them so innocent. Let them come to it honestly. --Right neighborhood, wrong book-- Giffin is right on one score: there are stories to tell here. The vulnerability of privileged suburban American life to sudden and shocking fragmentation is fertile ground for writers with the guts to write authentic characters and ambiguous conflicts. Two staggering, must-read novels, This Beautiful Life by Helen Schulman, and The Guest Room by Chris Bohjalian, delve similarly into the split-second missteps and external forces that can disrupt and forever alter a modern family’s domestic tranquility. In contrast, All We Ever Wanted is a minor entry in the genre. For Giffin fans, who appreciate the escapism of her breezy, readable style, this is another easy sell and quick read. For readers looking below the glossy surface, seeking the painful yet redemptive truths that quality fiction can offer, this one will leave you wanting. I received an advanced review copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. www.jordanalandsman.com

  9. 5 out of 5

    Berit☀️✨

    5 Thought Provoking Stars 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 This book is a MUST read! Not only was it absolutely brilliant it also touched on so many of today’s issues... it was a book that really made you think... what would I do in that situation? And as a single mother of two boys and a girl I could see so many sides of this story... and this book really made you realize that with social media a teenager’s reputation can be trashed in a matter of minutes.... makes you long for the good old days when you needed to make a 5 Thought Provoking Stars 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 This book is a MUST read! Not only was it absolutely brilliant it also touched on so many of today’s issues... it was a book that really made you think... what would I do in that situation? And as a single mother of two boys and a girl I could see so many sides of this story... and this book really made you realize that with social media a teenager’s reputation can be trashed in a matter of minutes.... makes you long for the good old days when you needed to make a trip to the local drugstore to get your pictures developed and your rash words were only ever read/heard by a handful of people... One night, one thoughtless moment, and lives are changed forever... what do you do when your daughter has had her picture taken in a compromising position at a party and it is plastered all over social media? What do you do if it was your son that took this picture? Meet Tom single father of Lila the girl in the infamous picture and Nina the mother of Finch the photographer.... both parents instant reaction was to defend their children, as all of ours would be, but what is the right thing to do? Wow, this is tough! If I were Tom I’d want blood my heart would break for my daughter in that situation... but what would I do if I were Nina? What If it were one of my boys that took this picture? This was something that nagged at me throughout this entire book.... i’d like to think I do the right thing, I’d like to think my boys would never do something like this.... but how hard would it be to let your son ruin his life over one indiscretion?Ugh still have no idea what I would do, and fingers crossed I never need to figure it out! This book was told from the perspectives of Nina, Tom, and Lila and I thought this was super effective.... all three characters were likable, relatable, and reel.... Nina was probably the most relatable character to me, because she was a mother... my heart broke for her what a horrible position to be in! But to Nina’s credit she handled the situation with intelligence, grace, and an open mind.... actually all three of these characters handled the situation in a very commendable manner... unfortunately not every character in this book did... it is always amazing that controversy can show people’s true colors.... Loved this book from first page to last and the ending was perfection... strongly encourage everyone to pick up this book and make sure you have a box of tissues nearby when you read it! *** many thanks to Valentine Books for my copy of this wonderful book ***

  10. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    As a parent of a 12 year old son that seems to be growing quicker than I'd like him to be I found this book to be quite terrifying. We all want to believe our children are thoughtful, empathetic, and responsible beings but that's not always the case and sometimes our children are going to disappoint us. The entire time I was reading this novel I couldn't help but think "What would I do?" My emotions really went through the ringer with this one. I was angry, I was frustrated, I was sad, yet I was As a parent of a 12 year old son that seems to be growing quicker than I'd like him to be I found this book to be quite terrifying. We all want to believe our children are thoughtful, empathetic, and responsible beings but that's not always the case and sometimes our children are going to disappoint us. The entire time I was reading this novel I couldn't help but think "What would I do?" My emotions really went through the ringer with this one. I was angry, I was frustrated, I was sad, yet I was hopeful throughout. Nina & Kirk have it all including an 18 year old son, Finch, who has recently been accepted to Princeton. They are beaming with pride for their son when the horrific happens. Their son is accused of taking a picture of a girl, exposed, while passed out at a party captioned with a racist comment. He then sends it to a couple of buddies who then send it to a couple of buddies until guess what? It's everywhere. Lyla is the girl in the picture. She is the bi-racial daughter of single dad Tom. Tom is understandably furious while Lyla just wants it all to go away. She is embarrassed and doesn't want her entire education at Windsor Academy put at risk. From here we follow along with alternating chapters between Nina, Lyla, and Tom and I have to say I was absolutely enthralled to see how this all played out. This book is not only topical but important. A must read, indeed! Thank you to NetGalley & BookishFirst (giveaway win) for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest review.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kelly (and the Book Boar)

    Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/ Somehow I managed to avoid Emily Giffin’s books for nearly FIFTEEN years, but couldn’t resist any longer thanks to all the times this one kept popping up over on Bookstagram . . . . My reaction now that I’ve jumped the shark off that bridge???? Caricatures rather than characters, stereotypes (rich = bad/poor= good – upperclass white teenage boys = sociopaths at best/Brock Turners at worst/middle-class teenage girls = naïve victims-in Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/ Somehow I managed to avoid Emily Giffin’s books for nearly FIFTEEN years, but couldn’t resist any longer thanks to all the times this one kept popping up over on Bookstagram . . . . My reaction now that I’ve jumped the shark off that bridge???? Caricatures rather than characters, stereotypes (rich = bad/poor= good – upperclass white teenage boys = sociopaths at best/Brock Turners at worst/middle-class teenage girls = naïve victims-in-the-making) and a “ripped from the headlines” storyline (boy takes/shares selfie of passed out naked girl at a party) that comes off desperately as trying to be relevant but remains completely devoid of emotion throughout. Simply put, this was the most basic white girl of chick lit and was absolutely . . . . I’ve had plenty of friends who read Giffin’s stuff in the past back when it was that whole wedding type of name series and loved her, but it’s pretty clear she is most definitely NOT for me and will be a one-and-done.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Cheri

    !! NOW AVAILABLE !! 3.5 Stars ”When the sharpest words wanna cut me down I'm gonna send a flood, gonna drown them out I am brave, I am bruised I am who I'm meant to be, this is me Look out 'cause here I come And I'm marching on to the beat I drum I'm not scared to be seen I make no apologies, this is me Oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh, oh, oh This is me” -- This is Me, Keala Settle, The Greatest Showman Ensemble, Songwriters: Justin Paul / Benj Pasek Nina Browning was raised in Bristol, a small city on the T !! NOW AVAILABLE !! 3.5 Stars ”When the sharpest words wanna cut me down I'm gonna send a flood, gonna drown them out I am brave, I am bruised I am who I'm meant to be, this is me Look out 'cause here I come And I'm marching on to the beat I drum I'm not scared to be seen I make no apologies, this is me Oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh, oh, oh This is me” -- This is Me, Keala Settle, The Greatest Showman Ensemble, Songwriters: Justin Paul / Benj Pasek Nina Browning was raised in Bristol, a small city on the Tennessee-Virginia border, where race cars, football, and Country Music abound - in fact it calls itself the birthplace of Country Music. Her father was a writer for the Bristol Herald Courier and her mother was, formerly, a fourth grade teacher. A happy, middle class family. Nina’s husband, Kirk, came from old money, a ”fourth-generation silver-spoon Nashvillian” who grew up ”ensconced in a private-school, country-club world.” Snobbery was in his blood. Nina and Kirk’s son, Finch, had just received his acceptance letter for Princeton the day before, and they spent the evening at a charity fund-raising dinner, for suicide awareness and prevention. They imbibe booze, they schmooze, and on the other side of town, their son was risking everything he had, his future, in a moment of lapsed judgement, acts on an idea involving a party with lots of alcohol, an unconscious girl, and a cell phone. Of course, social media and cell phones are busy sharing this latest “shaming” and what might have remained quiet, or at least quieter, becomes a roaring conflagration. Tom, Lyla’s father, is a carpenter raising his daughter alone, proud that Lyla was able to get a scholarship for the prestigious Windsor Academy, where Finch also attends. He could never afford to send her there otherwise. Having had a similar incident in her early college years, Nina’s heart breaks for this girl, despite the fact that it is her son who supposedly is behind this. She reaches out to help. If he did this thing he is accused of, she wants him to confess, repent and take responsibility for his actions. Through the alternating thoughts of Nina, Tom, and Lyla, we are able to see the flaws become cracks and then everything erupts. The accusations that flow when Tom approaches the Academy in search of justice for his daughter. As Nina sees her husband push money at the “problem” to make it go away, she also sees how unconcerned he and their son seem to be about Lyla’s well-being, and she struggles with her memories of Finch as her little boy while trying to face the possibility of him being guilty of what he is accused. A woman examining what she believes in, what she wants from her life, a town that thrives on gossip and unkind remarks, a husband who has no moral compass, and a young girl desperately in need of someone to listen, and believe in her, too. I’ve only read one other book by Emily Giffin, First Comes Love which I read around a year and a half ago. While that also dealt, somewhat, with the complexity of family relationships, there was “romance,” which I believe is what she is best known for. But that is not to say this is not a love story, only that it is not your soft, happy, tears-on-my-pillow kind of love story. Pub Date: 26 JUN 2018 Many thanks for the ARC provided by Random House / Ballantine Books

  13. 5 out of 5

    Brandice

    All We Ever Wanted is a timely story about Lyla and Finch, two high schoolers attending an elite private prep school in Nashville, who both go to a party one night. Lyla gets drunk and a compromising photo of her with a racist caption surfaces following the party. This story focuses on the aftermath, including a plethora of reactions to the photo, and an attempt to identify who’s actually responsible for it. The story is told in alternating perspectives - from Nina, Finch’s mom, Tom, Lyla’s dad, All We Ever Wanted is a timely story about Lyla and Finch, two high schoolers attending an elite private prep school in Nashville, who both go to a party one night. Lyla gets drunk and a compromising photo of her with a racist caption surfaces following the party. This story focuses on the aftermath, including a plethora of reactions to the photo, and an attempt to identify who’s actually responsible for it. The story is told in alternating perspectives - from Nina, Finch’s mom, Tom, Lyla’s dad, and from Lyla herself. Nina came from a humble background and tries to instill the right values in Finch, despite his wealthy upbringing and ostentatious father. Tom is a single dad, trying to do what’s best for Lyla while giving her a little room to grow as she becomes older. I appreciated the varying viewpoints among the three main characters, all of whom I liked, and quickly became engrossed in the story. This book focuses on choosing between right and wrong, as well as money vs. morals, and the good old high school topic of just wanting to fit in. Some people believe money can be thrown at a problem and that everyone has a price. Some people believe justice is the only price. And some people just want to be liked. While a fictional story, it’s one that’s realistic and likely has happened, with some degree of variation. All We Ever Wanted was my second book by Emily Giffin and another one that did not disappoint.

  14. 4 out of 5

    ABookwormWithWine

    ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ / 5 All We Ever Wanted by Emily Giffin completely blew me away, and it evoked many of the same feelings I had reading Beartown by Fredrik Backman. What would you do if your son is accused of sharing a picture with his buddies that contains a half naked girl with a racist "joke" as the caption? Well that is exactly what Nina has to find out when her son Finch is accused of doing just that. Told in alternating viewpoints, this book is a heavy hitter that touches on a lot of pertinent issues i ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ / 5 All We Ever Wanted by Emily Giffin completely blew me away, and it evoked many of the same feelings I had reading Beartown by Fredrik Backman. What would you do if your son is accused of sharing a picture with his buddies that contains a half naked girl with a racist "joke" as the caption? Well that is exactly what Nina has to find out when her son Finch is accused of doing just that. Told in alternating viewpoints, this book is a heavy hitter that touches on a lot of pertinent issues in today's society. Chapters alternate between Nina, Finch, Lyla who is the girl in the picture, Lyla's dad Tom, plus a bit of Nina's husband Kirk sprinkled in. I loved the way Giffin did this because not only did it keep the story interesting, it also made figuring out who was telling the truth much harder. Each character had a very strong, unique voice so you can tell this isn't Giffin's first rodeo, and the characterization was perfect for me. While the main storyline has to do with the photo, there is also a touch of romance, marital woes, keeping up with the Joneses, and relationships between parents and their children. There are so many topics touched upon and I found the book to be quite emotional. Not only is the cover of All We Ever Wanted beautiful, but the inside is as well. There is struggle and sadness, but also a good dose of happiness and hope as well. I LOVED Nina and Lyla, and I think a lot of women will be able to relate to them (even though Lyla is high school age). They are very strong female characters and they weren't doormats which was refreshing to say the least. Final Thought: I have heard that All We Ever Wanted is nothing like Giffin's other books (which mainly seem to be romantic in nature), but it was such an amazing book that it makes me want to read her other novels right away. Her writing is superb and she is such an amazing storyteller. I will definitely be thinking of this book for months, and maybe even years, to come. All We Ever Wanted in 3-ish words: Beautiful, Must-Read, Ponderous

  15. 4 out of 5

    Meredith B. (readingwithmere)

    4.5 Stars rounded up! I love Emily Giffin and I get so excited when I hear the annoucement that a new book of her's is coming out. She seems to take really relevant experiences and apply them to a fictional story so that we can all somehow relate. Nina and Kirk are a wealthy couple. They drive nice cars, they have a 4 million dollar house and they have a housekeeper who does all the work for them. They also have a son, Finch, who just got into Princeton and is not only a great student but an all a 4.5 Stars rounded up! I love Emily Giffin and I get so excited when I hear the annoucement that a new book of her's is coming out. She seems to take really relevant experiences and apply them to a fictional story so that we can all somehow relate. Nina and Kirk are a wealthy couple. They drive nice cars, they have a 4 million dollar house and they have a housekeeper who does all the work for them. They also have a son, Finch, who just got into Princeton and is not only a great student but an all around great kid. Lyla comes from a single father home, her mom is an alcoholic but her dad wanted better for her. She is an incredibly smart girl and therefore was given financial aid to go to the town's top school..Windsor. Her Dad is a carpenter for the town and does his best for him and his daughter. One night Lyla and Finn end up at the same party after lying to her dad about "studying" (but really what teen doesn't??). Lyla gets sick, her friend Grace brings her home and we just think it was a night of some teens drinking and being stupid. The next day however a photo spreads around town and turns into chaos. Lyla just can't seem to remember anything that happened. Thus starts the conflict, the questions and we start to find out the moral of each of the characters. What happens when your husband and you disagree on a parenting decision? What if your morals suddenly don't add up? Do our experiences when we were younger always shape who we are today? Can you always protect your daughter from 'bad' people? Some choices you make will forever be held against you... I flew through this book. It caused me to stop and think so many times what I would do in Nina, Tom and Lyla's shoes. I love how they all come from different places but try to work together to resolve conflict. It was also a very relatable story in the sense that this probably happens to a lot of youth in today's age. No, it's not a YA book but it has a strong parent/child relationship presence. Also, can we talk about this cover. GORGEOUS! This book comes out June 26th and I highly recommend you pick it up!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Elyse Walters

    This is my first Emily Giffin book..... ..........A PrimeTime-Page-Turning-Plausible-novel that most likely attracts women readers. If I saw more reviews from men than by woman, I’d be surprised- but also very interested in their thoughts. There seems to be a trend on ‘issue’ novels lately- contemporary topics mirroring our every days lives. This book could join bookends with Rochelle Weinstein’s book “Somebody’s Daughter”. They have similar themes........ .....starting with inappropriate sexual This is my first Emily Giffin book..... ..........A PrimeTime-Page-Turning-Plausible-novel that most likely attracts women readers. If I saw more reviews from men than by woman, I’d be surprised- but also very interested in their thoughts. There seems to be a trend on ‘issue’ novels lately- contemporary topics mirroring our every days lives. This book could join bookends with Rochelle Weinstein’s book “Somebody’s Daughter”. They have similar themes........ .....starting with inappropriate sexual behavior among teens.....leading to a community scandal. If it’s not clear by now - that social media has become a quick way to spread ugly information out to people whose business it’s ‘not’.....creating real damage - from misdemeanors to Felony crimes - to deeply hurting people - if one has ANY QUESTION of the damage ......spending time reading this book - looking at the nut & bolts from every angle will prove to be TRANSFORMATIVE...... For those more clear about the contemporary problems teens and families face today in a “sharing-is-caring” modern world of transparency - Emily Giffin’s book will strengthen and re-enforce your own beliefs.....on what’s right - and what’s evil - on morality & ethics - on how cheating damages relationships - lies hurt -etc. The Characters in this story ( flaws and all) are all familiar ‘types’. Each clearly developed. In a odd way - we take comfort in the ‘reality’ of this story....as we can invest our inner opinions. The Family conflicts are clear: the solution to the conflicts is what’s ‘not’ clear. Emily Giffin does a great job including us with the thought- process.....and we’re totally wondering how the book will end. She keeps us interested that way. We look at individual reputations- school’s involvement with off campus misconduct - - betrayal- family dysfunctions - teen parties - teen drinking (some parents think if their child takes Uber instead of the car - it’s safer - IN CASE THEIR CHILD DRINKS WHILE OUT) >>>>wow.....this new parental train of thought is new-news to me..... Lots of sex and sex related issues of all kinds associated with High School kids - rape - secrets - racial bigotry - troubled marriages - single parenting - class divide - jealousy- social media dangers - communications.....( types that work and empower and communication that destroys)....friendships... forgiveness... true and false friendships.....even ‘love’. We look at the value of achievement ( be it grades, sports, business, wealth), vs. the value of honestly and service contributions. Get the point?.....Emily Giffin covers a wide range of human conditions to chew on. If we stay with this storytelling—- and no reason not to —which flows effortlessly —-and can ‘let go’ of judgements about so many past books in pastel colors ......( admitting I needed to do this), most readers who enjoy women’s fiction ( from time to time anyway), or books with ‘issues’ to examine and family drama ....will feel their own natural connection to this novel. Doesn’t matter if there are clichés... those clichés are life’s reality.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jenny

    James E. Faust once said, “All parents hope and pray that their children will make wise decisions. Children who are obedient and responsible bring to their parents unending pride and satisfaction.” The underlying message of that quote sums up the content of Emily Griffin’s book, “all we ever wanted.” Griffin’s book takes on themes of affluence, sexual assault, social media, harassment, racism and elitism in a story that will leave the reader asking, “what would I do in that situation?” One bad deci James E. Faust once said, “All parents hope and pray that their children will make wise decisions. Children who are obedient and responsible bring to their parents unending pride and satisfaction.” The underlying message of that quote sums up the content of Emily Griffin’s book, “all we ever wanted.” Griffin’s book takes on themes of affluence, sexual assault, social media, harassment, racism and elitism in a story that will leave the reader asking, “what would I do in that situation?” One bad decision will ultimately change the lives of two families forever and lead to collateral damage to others. Griffin gives the reader a chance to see the point of view from all the main characters in real time giving us a chance to feel the highs and lows of every person involved. I find myself still thinking about this book a week later and discussing it with friends and family. A definite must read and should be on everyones book club list. I received a copy of this book via Netgalley. It did effect my review of this book. #netgalley #allweeverwanted #emilygriffin

  18. 5 out of 5

    Paromjit

    Emily Giffin writes a novel that hits many of the red hot issues of our contemporary world and the nature of family dynamics. Nina Browning has an enviable lifestyle, part of the elite social circles, married to Kirk, whose sale of his tech business shot them from the comfortable into the circles of the rich. Nina has begun to have some niggles about their moneyed circumstances, having grown up in much more modest circumstances, although Kirk originates from the world of private education and co Emily Giffin writes a novel that hits many of the red hot issues of our contemporary world and the nature of family dynamics. Nina Browning has an enviable lifestyle, part of the elite social circles, married to Kirk, whose sale of his tech business shot them from the comfortable into the circles of the rich. Nina has begun to have some niggles about their moneyed circumstances, having grown up in much more modest circumstances, although Kirk originates from the world of private education and country clubs. Nina and Kirk are incredibly proud that their son, Finch, has been accepted at Princeton. Hard working Tom Volpe is a carpenter and single father, a life that has been tough and lonely, trying to make ends meet, bringing up his strong willed teenage daughter, Lyla. He is over the moon when his clever Lyla secures a scholarship to Windsor Academy. Lyla is now moving in a different social strata, desperate to fit in and be accepted. At a party, a compromising photo of a drunk Lyla is posted on social media with a racist comment, only for it to shared widely and going viral. Finch is deemed to have taken the photograph, and the repercussions of this thoughtless action and the nightmare impact and repercussions from the conflicts that arise go on to form the crux of this book. Rumours and gossip, some malicious, abound, Tom wants justice, whilst a naive and embarrassed Lyla just wants the whole affair to go away. Nina has her eyes opened with Kirk just wanting to throw money at the problem, his answer to everything, intent on protecting Finch's Princeton future, and neither Kirk or Finch show any concern or interest in Lyla's predicament. How far should Finch be held accountable for his actions and face consequences? This is a thought provoking read that looks into the truth of what happened that fateful night, and that covers a gamut of issues, from race, class, parenting, families, the role of social media, and to the impact of bringing up a teenager who is denied nothing and rarely comes up against the consequences of their actions. The power of money and the sense of entitlement it often engenders are issues that Nina has to face, the wealthy often have little concern for morality and ethics, relying on power, influence and money to extricate them from problematic scenarios. The narrative is relayed through the perspectives of Nina, Tom and Lyla, giving us an insightful look into their lives and their flawed characters. I found this a entertaining and engrossing read, reflecting many of the challenges of parenting and of being a teenager in today's world. Many thanks to Random House Cornerstone for an ARC.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Carrie

    All We Ever Wanted by Emily Giffin is an emotional tale that is very fitting in today’s social media obsessed age. One drunken night leads to a risque photo being passed around of a young teenage girl leading to the characters all dealing with the situation from their own points of views. Nina Browning is the mother of the boy accused of taking the photograph and is appalled at his behavior. Nina came from a middle class family and while happy her family doesn’t want for anything she’s also somew All We Ever Wanted by Emily Giffin is an emotional tale that is very fitting in today’s social media obsessed age. One drunken night leads to a risque photo being passed around of a young teenage girl leading to the characters all dealing with the situation from their own points of views. Nina Browning is the mother of the boy accused of taking the photograph and is appalled at his behavior. Nina came from a middle class family and while happy her family doesn’t want for anything she’s also somewhat ashamed of their wealth at times. She desperately wants her son to see that what he did was not right and not hide behind his father or their money. Tom Volpe is the single working class father of the teenager Lyla who was the subject of the photo. Tom is furious that the incident happened but Lyla is only concerned with fitting into the rich crowd at her school and doesn’t want her father to make a scene and embarrass her further. The book follows Nina, Tom and Lyla and changes the point of view between them as the incident unfolds to see how they all cope with what had happened. The author did a wonderful job conveying just how each person was feeling and their prospective on what was going on making it feel as if we were there witnessing the events with them and the effect it was having on each family throughout. It was wonderful to watch each grow and learn from their own mistakes and those of others in the story. Definitely a book I’d recommend checking out. I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley. For more review please visit https://carriesbookreviews.com/

  20. 5 out of 5

    Carol (Bookaria)

    This was an engaging and entertaining novel. I saw it listed on the GOODREADS CHOICE AWARDS Best Fiction list and picked it up. I didn't even read the description and went into it blind. Lyla attends a private school on a scholarship, her world is upturned when a compromising photograph of her is wildly circulated. The story is told in the alternating points of view of Lyla, Tom (Lyla's father) and Nina (the mother of the student that spread the photo). The novel takes place (mostly) in Nashville This was an engaging and entertaining novel. I saw it listed on the GOODREADS CHOICE AWARDS Best Fiction list and picked it up. I didn't even read the description and went into it blind. Lyla attends a private school on a scholarship, her world is upturned when a compromising photograph of her is wildly circulated. The story is told in the alternating points of view of Lyla, Tom (Lyla's father) and Nina (the mother of the student that spread the photo). The novel takes place (mostly) in Nashville and it deals with relevant issues such as social media, privacy in the informational age, privilege, and prejudice. I was drawn in from the start and I'm glad I picked it up. This is the second novel I read from this author, I didn't care for the one I read years ago but I loved this novel. I'm glad my previous experience did not deter me from picking this up. I highly recommend it to readers of contemporary fiction. 

  21. 4 out of 5

    Gabby

    Wow, holy shit wow. I picked up this audiobook from my library without really knowing what this book was even about and I am blown away by how much I loved it. This story is so sad and relevant and important. It follows two families: the first one is rich; Kirk, Nina and Finch. The second one is middle class; Tom and his daughter Lyla. Finch, the rich kids son takes a very inappropriate nude photo of Lyla while she’s passed out drunk and makes a racist comment in the caption of the picture. This Wow, holy shit wow. I picked up this audiobook from my library without really knowing what this book was even about and I am blown away by how much I loved it. This story is so sad and relevant and important. It follows two families: the first one is rich; Kirk, Nina and Finch. The second one is middle class; Tom and his daughter Lyla. Finch, the rich kids son takes a very inappropriate nude photo of Lyla while she’s passed out drunk and makes a racist comment in the caption of the picture. This book is heavy and it made me feel so much and I actually cried while listening to the audiobook. These characters and this situation just felt so real which is why I think it got to me so much. This book really makes you question if you should always stand by your child’s side? Regardless of their actions no matter what? And the difficult situation you get put in as a parent when you realize your child is a piece of shit, or at the very least did a really shitty thing. And how do you cope with that as a parent and move past that?? Ugh it broke my heart for Nina. It also really shines a light on privilege and entitlement and how rich people can get away with fucking everything. And how girls have it so much worse and it’s so unfair the shame that girls experience when they are so often the victim and the man should be the one feeling guilty. This book felt important and relevant to me the way Beartown and Little Fires Everywhere did to name a few. A very realistic, amazingly fleshed our well written family getting put in a terribly tragic but also very realistic situation that is sad to read about but also so important. I love books that can make me feel this much. I felt so much rage at Kirk and Finch and their fucking #richwhitemanproblems and I felt so much for Nina and I can’t possible imagine what it’s like to be in her situation. I also felt for Lyla and I could understand why she didn’t want her situation getting blasted into the public eye and I also felt for Tom and I can’t imagine what it’s like to have something like this happen to your daughter. Ugh it was just so good wow.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jill McGill

    Emily Griffin did not disappoint with All We Ever Wanted. She takes us on a powerful journey through marriage, motherhood, friendship, teen life, racism, and the negative effect of social media. This book definitely deals with some heavy topics that are going on in today's world right now. The story is told from three points of view: Nina, Tom, and Lyla (Tom's daughter). I have to say, I loved all three of these characters! First, we have Nina, she is living the dream. She has a wealthy handsome Emily Griffin did not disappoint with All We Ever Wanted. She takes us on a powerful journey through marriage, motherhood, friendship, teen life, racism, and the negative effect of social media. This book definitely deals with some heavy topics that are going on in today's world right now. The story is told from three points of view: Nina, Tom, and Lyla (Tom's daughter). I have to say, I loved all three of these characters! First, we have Nina, she is living the dream. She has a wealthy handsome husband, and a son who is going off to Princeton in the Fall. She has it all! Then, we have Tom, he's a lonely single father raising Lyla and working several jobs to pay the bills. Lastly, we have Lyla, she is a stunning teenager who earned a scholarship to Windsor Academy, Nashville’s most prestigious private school. But unfortunately, she doesn't always fit in. Then, one photo, that was shared on social media, changes their lives forever. In the end, they have to choose between their family and their values. This was a very powerful and moving read for me. Highly Recommend Many thanks to NetGalley and Ballantine Books for providing me with an ARC.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Marialyce

    My reviews can be found at : https://yayareadslotsofbooks.wordpres... The teenage years! Can you ever forget them? No matter how old you are you can flashback to those years with trepidation and the thought that god I am glad those are over. It is a time of so much that is unsure, the feelings, the emotions, the constant knowing that it always seemed as if your life was spiraling out of control. The arguments, the searching for control....yes, the teenage years were often hell, but they were also My reviews can be found at : https://yayareadslotsofbooks.wordpres... The teenage years! Can you ever forget them? No matter how old you are you can flashback to those years with trepidation and the thought that god I am glad those are over. It is a time of so much that is unsure, the feelings, the emotions, the constant knowing that it always seemed as if your life was spiraling out of control. The arguments, the searching for control....yes, the teenage years were often hell, but they were also exciting as you discovered yourself, your needs, and of course the people who you loved, your first crush, the dates, the hanging out, the proms, the joy of being alive where every emotion was tingling always and life stretched out in infinite minutes. Nina Browing has it all. She is married to a very wealthy man, has oodles of money, a fabulous house, and a son she adores. Her husband is ever so successful, a bit of a snob (well maybe more than a bit) but it is her son, Finch, where her love and adoration lies. He has been accepted to Princeton and life look very sweet for this golden boy but then.... Lyla Volpe lives with her dad. They are not even close to being in the socioeconomic stratosphere which the Brownings and others of their ilk exists and yet, Lyla attends on scholarship the prestigious academy where Finch is a senior to her sophomore status. They attend a party, unsupervised by adults and drink and then a picture is taken of Lyla that will eventually open up all the prejudices, some of them racially motivated and a series of lies that lead Nina in search of who she is married to and what her son is becoming. This was a well developed story that pointed ever so well to what can and does happen when teenagers drink and think nothing of the consequences of their actions. It is a story of how privilege often gets in the way of what is right and how the brains and actions of teens can often prove a major downfall to themselves, their families and those who surround them. It is a story of young attractions, of social media and its sometimes harrowing effect on our teens, and how is it possible to be responsible parents when life surrounds our teens with all its allure and it very many pitfalls. "I think the hardest part about being a teenager is dealing with other teenagers - the criticism and the ridicule, the gossip and rumors." (Beverley Mitchell) Who among us has not had to deal with this? Welcome to the teenage years. You get seven. Use them wisely. Thank you to Emily Griffin, Ballantine Books, and NetGalley for an advanced copy of this important book.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Debbie Oliphant

    WOW!!!!! I could not put this book down. It was so intense and relevant today. The story details the life of the privileged families who are held to a different set of rules nor held accountable for their actions. A mistake is revealed that is life changing, for a young girl who comes from a blue collar family and a young man who is entitled and comes from an affluent family, both attending a prestigious, expensive school. The event is revealed early in the story but through multiple points of vie WOW!!!!! I could not put this book down. It was so intense and relevant today. The story details the life of the privileged families who are held to a different set of rules nor held accountable for their actions. A mistake is revealed that is life changing, for a young girl who comes from a blue collar family and a young man who is entitled and comes from an affluent family, both attending a prestigious, expensive school. The event is revealed early in the story but through multiple points of view, the true story is revealed by the disparity of classes and how wealth provides access that can alter an outcome where actions have consequences. This story was paced perfectly and the story grabbed and engaged you immediately. Intense, emotional and so climatic in the end. The is my first book from this author and look forward to more.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kristy

    Nina and Kirk Browning and their teenage son, Finch, live a good life, especially since Kirk sold his company and the family has experienced a great deal of wealth. Nina and Kirk are attending a fundraiser when they hear whispering that Finch has been involved in an incident with another student at his school, Windsor Academy. It soon comes out that Finch has taken an inappropriate sexy picture of Lyla at a party and sent it to friends, accompanied by a racist comment. The photo spreads around t Nina and Kirk Browning and their teenage son, Finch, live a good life, especially since Kirk sold his company and the family has experienced a great deal of wealth. Nina and Kirk are attending a fundraiser when they hear whispering that Finch has been involved in an incident with another student at his school, Windsor Academy. It soon comes out that Finch has taken an inappropriate sexy picture of Lyla at a party and sent it to friends, accompanied by a racist comment. The photo spreads around the community quickly, causing both the kids and parents to take sides. Lyla's father, Tom, who has been raising Lyla since she was small, is appalled--he cannot believe his daughter is involved in such a mess, and he wants justice for her. Lyla's at Windsor on a scholarship, and she just wants to fit in. Now, Nina, Finch, Lyla, and Tom must grapple with the aftermath of the photo and what exactly happened the night of the party. This is a timely novel that certainly has a place in the #MeToo moment. It's a topic being covered more and more lately, and the idea of teens and sexting is just as horrifying as always. It draws you in from the beginning, and I found it to be a very fascinating read that kept my interest throughout. By alternating the point of view between Nina, Tom, and Lyla, we get to the story told from a range of characters, including the victim herself. The biggest issue I had with this one--and even Lyla herself admits it--is that the characters sometimes come across as cliche: the spoiled rich boy hurts the poor, intelligent girl on scholarship. The only light of resistance is Nina, our wealthy wife with the obnoxious, rich husband. Even Nina's friends appear to be clueless (or worse) jerks brainwashed by their picture perfect Nashville lives. Still, Lyla is a great kid and reading her sections is lovely. Her father is a flawed individual, but you can't help but empathize with him as well. Nina is more complicated, and I would have liked to see her take on a little more responsibility for her son and the events that unfold around her. Yes, Nina had a conscience, but she didn't seem to do a lot with it, if that makes any sense, besides apologize. In the end, I enjoyed this one because it wasn't totally predictable and because I really liked the characters of Lyla and Tom. I found it to be an easy and quick read. Still, it seemed like something was missing as I read, whether it was because some of the book felt like it was populated by stock characters or what, I don't know. While it's not exactly the same story, I would recommend the amazing Girl Made of Stars from Ashley Herring Blake if you're looking for a timely book on this topic. That powerful book blows this one out of the water, and maybe it's that power and emotion that I felt was lacking here. 3.5 stars. I received a copy of this book from the publisher and Netgalley in return for an unbiased review (thank you!). Blog ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Google+ ~ Instagram

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jonetta

    Nina Browning lives a very comfortable life being married to Kirk, one of Nashville’s elite. Their son, Finch is on his way to Princeton having done exceptionally well at Windsor Academy, the city’s prestigious private school. Tom Volpe is a single father and a skilled carpenter. He lives modestly on the east side of town and his daughter, Lyla has excelled scholastically, earning a scholarship to Windsor. The Browning’s and Volpe’s worlds intersect following an unfortunate night at a party wher Nina Browning lives a very comfortable life being married to Kirk, one of Nashville’s elite. Their son, Finch is on his way to Princeton having done exceptionally well at Windsor Academy, the city’s prestigious private school. Tom Volpe is a single father and a skilled carpenter. He lives modestly on the east side of town and his daughter, Lyla has excelled scholastically, earning a scholarship to Windsor. The Browning’s and Volpe’s worlds intersect following an unfortunate night at a party where both their children attended. This was an extremely troubling but compelling story told through the eyes of Nina, Tom and Lyla. Contemporary issues involving sexting, teenage drinking, social bullying and traditional tensions between those that have and others that have less. Nina is a bridge to both worlds as she comes from more humble beginnings and can empathize with Lyla’s circumstances. It puts her at odds with her husband whose only goal is to help his son evade the consequences of his behavior, furthering instilling his sense of entitlement. Tom struggles with Lyla, who doesn’t think what happened was a big deal, to get her to understand how she’s been harmed and how her view will ultimately imperil her self value. I loved how this story unfolded, made even more powerful by having Lyla’s point of view. All of the characters were changed by what happened, Nina most profoundly as it forced her to take an unfiltered look at her life. It felt real though some of the people in her world seemed a bit caricature, but it illustrated the salient points effectively. Everyone was trying to do the best for their children but not all actions were in their best interests. I found all three narrators’ performances outstanding. It felt as though they were inhabiting the skin of their characters. This is an important story I literally couldn’t put down, essentially finishing it in one day. I wavered on whether to listen to this one and I’m so glad my instincts pushed me in the right direction. And that thought provoking ending was truly the best final touch. (I received an advance copy from the publisher in exchange for an unbiased review)

  27. 4 out of 5

    Kat

    This book asked compelling, relevant questions from start to finish about privilege and whether the luxuries we allow ourselves to enjoy can become an infection that poison our children if we’re not careful. Essentially, there is a party, and a rich boy takes a semi-nude photo of a girl from the other side of town, then posts it to social media. How far would a parent go to protect their child is the question the book asks. Trigger Warnings: (view spoiler)[ sexual assault, attempted suicide (hide This book asked compelling, relevant questions from start to finish about privilege and whether the luxuries we allow ourselves to enjoy can become an infection that poison our children if we’re not careful. Essentially, there is a party, and a rich boy takes a semi-nude photo of a girl from the other side of town, then posts it to social media. How far would a parent go to protect their child is the question the book asks. Trigger Warnings: (view spoiler)[ sexual assault, attempted suicide (hide spoiler)] Please excuse typos/name misspellings. Entered on screen reader.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    I am a bit of an outlier in my opinion when it comes to Emily Giffin and her books. They really are just "okay" reads. However, I will say that All We Ever Wanted is much more meatier than the chick lit than she is usually known to write. When Nina 's teenage son makes a devastating choice, it forces her to take a more critical look at her marriage and family. Also drawing her closer to Tom Volpe and his daughter, Lyla while also confronting a long buried secret. I did find there was a lot of a I am a bit of an outlier in my opinion when it comes to Emily Giffin and her books. They really are just "okay" reads. However, I will say that All We Ever Wanted is much more meatier than the chick lit than she is usually known to write. When Nina 's teenage son makes a devastating choice, it forces her to take a more critical look at her marriage and family. Also drawing her closer to Tom Volpe and his daughter, Lyla while also confronting a long buried secret. I did find there was a lot of attention to relevant issues, but the ending was a bit quick and light to match the dark tone that begins the story.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Kendall

    All We Ever Wanted by Emily Giffin reminded me a little bit of Rochelle Weinstein's Somebody's Daughter. I feel like the same type of storyline was presented here... between teenagers and serious issues that are presented in our society. Nina one of our main characters finds out that her son Finch took a sexual photo of a girl named Lyla while she was passed out with a racist remark and sent it to basically the entire school. Lyla's father is furious (as anyone would imagine) and he refuses to ta All We Ever Wanted by Emily Giffin reminded me a little bit of Rochelle Weinstein's Somebody's Daughter. I feel like the same type of storyline was presented here... between teenagers and serious issues that are presented in our society. Nina one of our main characters finds out that her son Finch took a sexual photo of a girl named Lyla while she was passed out with a racist remark and sent it to basically the entire school. Lyla's father is furious (as anyone would imagine) and he refuses to take money from Finch's father Kirk. A battle between the underprivileged and privileged emerges between the two families in this horrible series of events. I feel like Emily Giffin did a wonderful job exploring challenging issues of social media, bullying, sexting, and pressure of alcohol that teens face today in society. What I felt the story was lacking was depth and emotion to her characters. As you can see this dealt with serious issues in this story and I felt like the characters were base surface level. I want to FEEL when the characters are sad, angry, depressed etc. And.. honestly there wasn't emotion behind any of the characterization... just feel extremely flat and I was disappointed. I really didn't like any of the characters. This was not an original storyline and like I had mentioned above... I've seen almost this same story in the novel by Rochelle Weinstein (which isn't a bad thing at all.....). But, I get tired of seeing the same plot etc etc. This was my first read by Emily Giffin and I've heard such positive things about her writing. But, I was left disappointed and wanting more from this novel. 3 stars. Thank you to Netgalley and Random House Ballantine Publishing Group for the advanced arc in exchange for an honest review. Published to GR: 6/2/18 Publication date: 6/26/18

  30. 4 out of 5

    Myrna

    What a book! Could not put it down. This book was a quick and easy read but dealt with thought provoking and timely topics. Loved the alternating points of view telling the story from the perspectives of parents and teenager. The end seemed a bit rushed and I wanted more that’s why I gave it 4 stars and not 5. This would make a good book to discuss with a friend or book club. Will Giffin write another dark story? We will have to wait an see.

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