Book Reviews

All We Ever Wanted by Emily Giffin

This is Emily Giffin’s latest, to be released June 26, 2018. I’ve enjoyed several of her novels over the years so I was thrilled to get an eARC from netgalley.

The story follows Nina, living the high society life in Nashville with her uber-wealthy and successful husband and their 18-year-old son Finch. But her perfect life starts to fall apart when her son sends a sexually explicit and racist Snapchat of a 15-year-old girl to his friends—and of course, someone starts spreading it around the school.

The novel is told from multiple points of view (which I love): Nina, Lyla (the subject of the inappropriate picture) and Lyla’s blue-collar single-dad Tom. He was my favorite character right away because he’s so down-to-earth and loves his daughter fiercely. Nina was more difficult to connect with—it’s hard to feel sorry for a woman who lives in a four million dollar house and spends her days planning extravagant charity banquets and showering her son with every advantage. Lyla is also difficult to like because, as a typical teenager, she doesn’t appreciate her father and resents him for refusing to do whatever she wants. But as the story progresses, both Nina and Lyla show a tremendous amount of character growth and that was satisfying.

As you can probably tell, this book is light-years away from Giffin’s earlier “chick lit” reads. The novel brings up issues of social media use, privilege, sexism, consent, materialism, and race, which makes it feel very timely. My one complaint is that many of the supporting characters—namely, Nina’s husband and her super-rich friends—are pretty one-dimensional.

Overall a satisfying read and a solid 4 Star book. I recommend it for readers looking for a thought-provoking novel exploring timely issues. It would make a good book club selection.

Thanks to the Random House and Netgalley for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review!

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