Monday, October 31, 2011

Review: Everything We Ever Wanted by Sara Shepard

Paperback, 352 pages

Released: October 11, 2011

Publisher: Harper Paperback

Places to find the book:
How do you choose between your family and your history?

Emotional and compelling storytelling from Sara Shepard, author of All the Things We Didn't Say.

A late-night phone call on a Sunday evening rarely brings good news. So when Sylvie, a recently-widowed mother of two, receives a call from the head teacher of the school she's on the board of, she knows it won't be something she wants to hear. The school was founded by her grandfather, and she's inherited everything he strived to build up - a reputation, a heritage, the school and the grand old family house. And with this inheritance comes responsibility.So when her son Scott is whispered to be involved in a scandal that led to the death of one of the boys he coaches at the school, it throws the family into chaos: Sylvie has to decide between her loyalty to the school that has been part of her family legacy for years and her son who she feels wants nothing to do with her. She starts spying on the dead boy's father, making an unlikely connection.Sara Shepard's compelling new novel tells how hard it can be to really, truly connect to people, how making quick, easy judgments can come back to haunt you, and how the life you always planned for - and always dreamed of - often doesn't always turn out the way you imagined at all...
My Rating: 4 / 5

My Thoughts:
Yes, this is a book written by THE Sara Shepard, but no it's nothing like Pretty Little Liars. It is an adult book and one where life experiences come in handy.

Mrs. Bates-McAllister comes from old money but we soon learn that when you dig deeper under the surface, money does not mean pure bliss. She recently lost her husband, and quite suddenly. Her two, grown sons have their own issues as well. Charles is married and Scott is the wild one, but both are dealing with issues of belonging. Charles and his father never clicked and he never understood why. Scott, the adopted son, always felt out of place and that people never expected anything from him. It was a phone call that sparks a new beginning for everyone and sets the tone of the book.

While I didn't necessarily feel a connection to any one particular character, I found the arc of the story and what the characters learn, enjoyable. I think everyone can relate to parts of each character here: doing things for ones family instead of what you want, believing the grass is always greener on the other side, feeling trapped, to name a few. Part of growing up is listening to what you're told, but there comes a time when one has to take control of their life, it just takes some time and bumps along the way to figure that out.

A story of assumptions, expectations, and regrets, it moves slow but with purpose. This is a realistic look at life and living. Life is short so the earlier you lose that layer of resentment or weight that bogs you down and is doing you no good, the better your chance of finding happiness. Sometimes life puts you in a funk, but as Sara shows us, there is hope after all.


  1. What a great review Mel. I also didn't really feel a connection with any of the characters and found that they just frustrated me most of the time. I'm glad I read this one though.

  2. Thanks Jo-Jo! I think so too and I'm normally a character driven person. It's a great reminder that things happen in life, and some things you CAN change!