All We Ever Wanted by Emily Giffin, 4 Stars

I love Emily Giffin! Love her! But I do have to confess, I’ve always thought of her books as kind of a guilty pleasure. Like junk food for the brain. Her first book, Something Borrowed, is definitely a little fluffy, in the best possible way. And that movie, staring Kate Hudson and Ginnifer Goodwin, is a chick flick at it’s finest!

(If you haven’t seen it, pick up a bottle of rosé and the movie tonight–you won’t be sorry!)

But as Giffin has gotten older (as we all have!), her books have grown and matured as well. Now, don’t get me wrong, I still love her early work. But I feel less like her newest books are as much of guilty pleasures. And they are still written in her compulsively readable style. I consume her books! At a shocking speed. And then I’m sad that I will have to wait so long for another.

From the Publisher:

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.

My Review:

First off, let me start by saying that this book seemed very different to me than Giffin’s previous books, as least plot-wise. Now, her earlier books are fun and fluffy and maybe a little scandalous. With First Comes Love, she definitely took on a little more of a serious subject as two sisters survived the loss of a brother.

But in All We Ever Wanted, Giffin takes on her most serious topic yet. There are so many times in life when things take an unexpected turn and we aren’t sure exactly how we ended up where we are. This is exactly what Nina, Giffin’s main character comes face-to-face with in All We Ever Wanted. On the surface she has the perfect life. But as we peel back each layer of her life through the course of the book, it starts to appear that she is living a perfect nightmare.

In the age of social media and “let’s post everything”, we simply don’t have control over what our kids are doing online. Since the beginning of time, parents have tried to mold and shape their children to be who we want them to be. But, just as parents have always had little control over who their children ultimately become, now we are at risk of it being on display for the world to see.

I think Giffin writes what relates to her life. So her earlier books were fun and a little crazy, because we’re we all fun and a little crazy in our twenties? Now she seems to have settled in a little with the issues of a slightly older voice, but her writing is just as genuine as it has always been. And all her books are compulsively readable.

I’m a huge fan. I’ll keep reading every one of them. Even when she is writing about residents in a nursing home.

Mark your calendar for the release date–June 26. And clear a day or two from your calendar. Because you’re not going to want to put this one down!

Get your copy:



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