This book was my first ever read of Emily Giffin’s. I have certainly heard of her, especially her book Something Borrowed which turned into a major film starring Kate Hudson. I always thought her books were too lovey dovey for me (I really don’t know why I thought that…); I’m all for a good beach read but I just can’t get into romance novels. As many book lovers do, I follow a TON of book Instagram accounts, AKA “bookstagram”, run by book bloggers like myself who stay current on new/early releases and what’s hot. All We Ever Wanted saturated my newsfeed for a good week and this sparkly royal blue cover definitely grabbed my attention. Since I’m a Barnes & Noble member, I get 40% off new hardback releases (yaasss), so you bet your butt I picked up this copy the day it was released for only about $12!
I am thoroughly impressed by Giffin and kind of sad that it has taken me this long to read a book of hers. All We Ever Wanted follows 3 characters who are so different, yet so connected. Set in Nashville, Tom, Nina, and Lyla have no idea they are about to change each other’s lives. Nina lives a life many dream of; she is a true Nashville elite, having more money than she knows what to do with thanks to her husband selling his tech business. Tom is a single dad to Lyla who builds furniture for a living, lives on the “other side of the river”, and tries to stay afloat the expectations of Nashville’s social circle. Lyla is a headstrong teenager who attends Nashville’s most prestigious private school on a scholarship.
One night changes everything for these three when a scandalous picture from a drunken party gets spread like wildfire. They always say some of life’s toughest situations teach us the most valuable lessons. In times of tragedy, true colors come out and people you thought you loved and trusted disappoint you the most.
All We Ever Wanted touches on many sensitive topics that are especially relevant in 2018; sexual harassment, living in a new age where social media dictates all, racial divides, and speaking up when you know something is wrong. Nina, Tom and Lyla are forced to discover the true meaning of life and who they are as individuals in a world full of judgement, blame, and accusations.
I really enjoyed this book and am looking forward to reading many others of Emily Giffin’s. I loved the relevance it brought to the table and I loved that this wasn’t overly emotional or overly romance-y. There were definite areas that grabbed at your heart, but this book was more relatable to real life than anything. I love books that you can actually picture happening or relating to in personal ways rather than some fictional fluff constructed to build a good storyline. This book symbolizes what many people go through; racism, socioeconomic divide, trying to live up to society’s standards of what is right and wrong, fitting in with the “cool kids”, fear of speaking the truth to avoid the consequences that may come, assuming a woman is supposed to succumb to the power and wealth of a man. Wherever you find yourself in life, I think you’ll find a piece of this book that is relatable. Building a connection to fictional characters is one of the many joys I get from reading and I think you’ll feel the same after this one!