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Publisher's Summary

In the riveting new novel from the number one best-selling author of Something Borrowed and First Comes Love, three very different people must choose between their families and their most deeply held values....

“An unpredictable page-turner that unfolds in the voices of three superbly distinct characters.” (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

“A gripping, thought-provoking journey.” (Jodi Picoult)

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 teenage 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.

©2018 Emily Giffin (P)2018 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"Stellar...an excellent page-turning story...a nuanced, thoughtful take on family and social dynamics." (Publishers Weekly)

"A timely and absorbing portrait of the complexities of modern life. This is Emily Giffin at her very best." (Kristin Hannah)

"Riveting and poignant, Emily Giffin's latest novel paints an impossible dilemma that will make readers ponder hard questions about loyalty and love. I was captivated by every page." (Harlan Coben)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Performance

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Story

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Narrator choice for Tom is bizarre!

Overall I enjoyed the story and the voice acting done by Dorothy Dillingham Blue and Catherine Taber. The casting choice of Milton Bagby for Tom is extremely confusing. It seems like the character is supposed to be about 45-47, yet the voice actor sounds like he's in his 70's. I just looked it up, he's 70. Listening to him talk about sex or anything adjacent to it in the book just felt very uncomfortable. It was difficult to get into the story and his side of it didn't make as much sense coming from Bagby. He's a great voice actor, I want to be clear that I'm not criticizing him. This was just not the role for him, way too young of a character. I am definitely criticizing whoever cast him. I kept thinking, how is this 70 year old guy the father to a 15 year old. So weird. I hope whoever made these choices does better on the next book they work on!

52 of 57 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great story, but....

Thee part of Tom was played completely by the wrong actor. It should have been performed by someone much younger and more age appropriate. Having said that, the story was good the characters were believable for the most part. Not exactly a thought-provoking story but a good listen.

15 of 16 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Bizarre make performance!

The two female performers were excellent, but the male was MUCH TOO OLD! The story was good, but every time the male started talking it was ruined. 🤦🏼‍♀️

14 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Good story - Wrong male narrator

I enjoyed this book and looked for opportunities to listen. Lots of very important social issues. Female narrators were great. The narrator of Tom (while a great voice) was just not the right fit for this character and didn’t fit. In the story he’s mid 40’s but voice just didn’t fit. I’d have also like to see more of Nina’s new life” and a story of how she heals her relationship with her son. Good read.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

relevant, contemporary & thoughtful; not chicklit

This book was a strong departure from what I've come to expect from this author, to the point where I checked three times that she was, in fact, the same author of other books I read and it wasn't a name mix-up in my brain.

All We Ever Wanted begins when a sexually charged photo (with a racist caption) of an intoxicated teen girl goes viral within a waspy private school community. The girl in the photo, her father, and the mother of the boy who allegedly took/sent the photo are the main narrators of the story.

The catchy part of the novel is the "whodunit" aspect... This part of the plot is twisty while cleverly bringing in additional contemporary issues (like teenage suicide). There's a real zinger at the end and without this back-and-forth did he do it? Who is lying? The book would fall flat.

While this "investigation" is happening, you experience the raw and difficult emotions both parents have about the situation, see how the community reacts (the school/teachers, other parents, friends of the girl), and what the teenage girl herself makes of the situation and subsequent fallout. I was disappointed the political/legal drama happens with these situations wasn't covered more (it was barely touched on), but I did find myself thinking about the situation and varied consequences, and what I would do or think or want if I was the teen girl or the parent... I love when a novel makes you think and examine your beliefs.

My complaints are awkward: I liked the story, found it accurate, and surprising, yet somehow wholly unremarkable and s-l-o-w at times.

I think the problem may be that this book was trying to do and be a little too much. There's the whodunit, the adult parent "finding herself", the coming of age stories, the love story, the teen issues, family/community drama, philisophical questions, and a light touching on legal issues around teenagers drinking and sexting AND racisim. Potluck much?

I didn’t CARE about any one character (relate I could, but care I did not), which I should have given the subject matter.

I felt verrrry uncomfortable when a sex scene was described---not because it was a sex scene (I read romance) but it was happening and being described in great detail by/to a 16-year old girl. She was narrating and that left me feeling pervy and intrusive.

Overall, this book is not something I’ll be quick to recommend, but I hold much respect for.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A book every parent of today’s teens should read.

We live in a world of fast paced technology and social media. Many parents have no clue how destructive social media and instant videos can be. I wouldn’t say I enjoyed this book because its subject matter is so disturbing. It’s a story with deceptive characters whose money greases their path of selfish greed and horrible behavior. It is also the story of characters with strong moral sense and fortitude to stand up against lies and hurtful behavior. Character is lacking in today’s society. This book reminds us there are still good people.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Heartwarming Story

The readers were outstanding. I enjoyed every minute. Hope to get more of her books!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

So slow/Nina is boring

Nina’s ramblings of wealth for 60% of the book were slow and often unnecessary, like beating a dead horse- we get it.
Not a fan of this book. It was slow and then all the sudden it was time to wrap it up. Weird.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Narrator Choice

I will echo what many others have said, the choice of narrator for Tom took me right out of the story. His voice was clearly that of a 70 year old man, not a 40 something man.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Not her best.....could have been a great book!

I am not a professional book editor, but whoever edited this book should be fired! This book could have been excellent. However it us so lacking in so many areas, I am surprised it ever made it to print.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful