Monday, October 24, 2011

Everything We Ever Wanted

Author: Sara Shepard
ISBN: 978-0-06-208006-6
Publisher: HarperCollins
Source: TLC Book Tours

A recently widowed mother of two, Sylvie Bates-McAllister finds her life upended by a late-night phone call from the headmaster of the prestigious private school founded by her grandfather where her adopted son Scott teaches. Allegations of Scott's involvement in a hazing scandal cause a ripple effect, throwing the entire family into chaos. For Charles, Sylvie's biological son, it dredges up a ghost from the past who is suddenly painfully present. For his wife Joanna, it forces her to reevaluate everything she's hoped for in the golden Bates-McAllisters. And for Scott, it illuminates harsh truths about a world he has never truly felt himself a part of.
My Thoughts:
Everything we ever wanted is a novel that comes from a lack of communication within a family.  It shows what happens when problems are avoided instead of being dealt with.  The characters in this novel are authentic and tragic.  This family could be any family…  The troubles and problems within the unit are highly relatable and probably hit too close to home for some readers who may feel uncomfortable due to the connection they feel with the story.  The story looks at each of the characters, their wants and expectations and slowly reveals that what we think we want is not always what we hope it will be.
This novel has a uniquely vivid story that makes the reader feel as if they are part of it all.  It is not a feel good novel, but instead makes you evaluate your dreams and expectations, reminding you that nothing is perfect.  The novel is thought provoking and well written though emotional.  At times I wanted to throw the book because of my frustration with the characters.  At the same time I felt for them, because some things just can’t be fixed no matter how hard you try or how much effort you give.
Although the book tackles a variety of different topics and family dynamics, I think the subject matter of hazing was unique and interesting.  The social issue is a topic that is not often discussed, thought it should be.  My biggest complaint about this book is the pace.  It was difficult to read because it was just too slow.  The characters didn’t help the pace and the subject matter made it difficult to push past the slow pace.  Books with difficult and emotional subject matter generally need a faster pace to help the reader get past the issues and emotions involved.  This book just didn’t have it.  As hard as it can be to read an emotional or difficult book, it is harder when the book moves slowly.
Overall, it was good.  It has an interesting story that is unique though slow.  I think the book will have a variety of different reactions, depending on the reader and their background or personality.  I would recommend it if asked.

But for all the Bates-McAllisters, the call exposes a tangled web of secrets that ties the family together: the mystery of the school hazing, the event that tore Charles and Scott apart the night of their high school awards ceremony, and the intended recipient of a certain bracelet. The quest to unravel the truth takes the family on individual journeys across state lines, into hospitals, through the Pennsylvania woods, and face-to-face with the long-dormant question: what if the life you always planned for and dreamed of isn't what you want after all?

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