Everything We Ever Wanted

Everything We Ever Wanted

by Sara Shepard

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Everything We Ever Wanted 3.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 34 reviews.
1archi1 More than 1 year ago
I am a huge fan of Sara Shepard's Pretty Little Liars series. When I was given the opportunity to read Everything We Ever Wanted, published by HarperCollins, I jumped at the chance. Everything We Ever Wanted is about the the Bates-McAllister family who have the money and priviledge most people would love to have. Is it enough? Sylvie's youngest son, Scott, is accussed of hazing at the private school he coaches wrestling at. Not just any private school but THE private school. Sylvie's grandfather refurbished the school and brought it back to life. Surely her own son would never do something like that, or would he? Scott is her problem child, and keeps to himself but hazing, there is no way. Throughout, Everything We Ever Wanted, Sylvie starts to wonder: Does she really know her kids and her husband? Her perfect life doesn't seem so perfect after all. Through revelations of her own, Sylvie finally realizes that having everything isn't about wealth, money or a family name. Only once you find yourself can you then, truely then, have Everything We Ever Wanted.
anovelreview_blogspot_com More than 1 year ago
The first thing we learn is there has been a possible suicide at the prestigious school, Swithin. There is a shadow around the students' death, a possible hazing. Sylvie Bates-McAlister gets the call. As a board member, she isn't sure why she is being told about the incident until she realizes her son, Scott who is an assistant wrestling coach, will need to be questioned about his possible knowledge of hazing. You expect the story to move in the direction of a full investigation, but story isn't about the possible hazing but about the family. The chapters center on the private thoughts of Sylvie, her son Charles, and his wife Joanna-not Scott. Sylvie is a widow who is coping with her husband's infidelity and questioning whether Scott had anything to do with or knowledge of this boy being hazed. She seems to walk on egg shells around Scott-not comfortable in her own skin when he's around. Charles & Joanna are newlyweds whose marriage seems to be crumbling. For these characters are all functioning under the weight of their secrets, fears, and rumors. The first half of the book has very little forward movement, more of learning how each of them got to this point in time. As the story begins to move forward, the characters seem to grow further apart, as the secrets and fears of the past slowly come to light. The more we learn the darker their worlds' become. When I began reading this novel it seemed very dark. The description of the family home, Roderick, reminded me of Poe's The Fall of the House of Usher. The house almost seems to have a personality of its' own. I honestly did not relate or really care for any of the characters at first, but as I got to learn a little bit more about each of them I wanted to see how everything would play out. Shepard wrote each chapter designating it to Sylvie, Charles or Joanna. The chapters moved quickly and had me wanting to know more about each of them. In no time whatsoever, my opinions started to shift. The characters had so much emotional baggage (especially Sylvie and Charles), so as I read on I was very impressed by the depth of these characters. I loved how real the characters began to feel and interestingly found Scott to be so very one dimensional for most of the story. I would say the sudden change from Scott being a one dimensional character to suddenly being a very real three dimensional person was one of the best parts of the novel, and I personally thought this was a great book. When they begin to see Scott for who he truly is and was. The end of the book goes back to the house and the sameness. The house is the same as when Sylvie's grandfather lived there. Yet, they are all different. It's then they are no longer bound to the family heritage. I very much enjoyed this novel. It wasn't as much about a story as about people and I found it beautifully written and smart. I would recommend.
Shanella More than 1 year ago
This was my first introduction to Sara Shepard. I've heard of the success of her Pretty Little Liars and Lying Games series and while this is an adult novel, I thought I'd give it a try. The story is centered around a very dysfunctional family. Sylvie - the matriarch of the family - is awaken by a phone call. There is a death at the private school that her adopted son, Scott, works in as a wrestling coach. There is talk of hazing. Then the assumptions start; or, I should say continue. It's clear, from the beginning, that this family hardly talks to each other about anything substantial. Everyone assumes that Scott had something to do with the death of the student, yet, no one talks directly to him. The family history is shown through flashbacks from Sylvie and her biological son, Charles. Even in the flashbacks it's clear that there is no communication. Charles carries this attitude into his marriage with Joanna, who, while a little better than Sylvie, Scott and Charles, also makes a lot of assumptions. It seemed as though all the conflicts were centered around conjectures by one or more parties. It made for a very comedic tragedy in a sense, a reflection on a society that could sometimes be together, but yet be alone. I was a bit confused with the ending. There didn't seem to be any solid resolution and the last several chapters read as a very long epilogue. In the very end we finally hear Scott's point of view, which turns out to be a little anti-climactic. The story dragged in a few places and the conflict between Joanna and Charles was never resolved in the narrative, however, one can assume that they worked it out somehow. Overall I found that the story itself wasn't enough to engage me - most likely because of the lack of communication between the characters. Yet, there were a few subplots that were interesting enough to keep me turning the pages.
theReader278 More than 1 year ago
As a fan of Sara Shepard I am quite excited. Can't wait to read this one.
lrobe190 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Sylvie Bates-McAllister leads a privileged life. She lives in her grandfather's ancestral home. Her children, one of which was adopted, attended Swithin, a private school founded by her grandfather. Her life begins to crumble when she receives a call from the President of the Swithin School Board, of which Sylvie is a long-time member, and tells her that a child at the school has died and it appears that his death was a result of bullying going on at the school. Worse, it seems that Scott, Sylvie's adopted son and a wrestling coach at Swithin may have known about the bullying and didn't stop it.The story is told from three points of view, Sylvie's, Charles' (Sylvie's oldest son) and Joanna, Charles' wife. The bullying incident at Swithin brings into view the many cracks in Sylvie's perfect life...her husband's possible affair before he died, the fractious relationship between her two sons, her adopted son's almost repudiation of the family that raised him, and many things that were ignored over the years and have no come back into the light.In some ways, this was an interesting book, but was ultimately a let-down. There are numerous plot lines, but in the end, nothing is resolved.
jo-jo on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This story brings us into the lives of a privileged American family as they are struggling to try to hold onto the life that they know. Sylvie was fortunate enough to inherit her grandfather's mansion early on in her marriage, but I don't think that she realized how this windfall would impact her family life. Her grandfather worked hard building the family business and making a name for himself and was quite an asset to the local community. When the private high school was about to shut down, he bailed them out, resulting in becoming the lead shareholder from the endeavor.It seemed to me that the family's involvement with the private school, Swithin, was where many of the problems unfolded for this family. Sylvie always said that if it weren't for her grandfather, Swithin would not even be here today. She finds herself becoming troubled when she hears of how her grandfather treated the less privileged people in their community. She has to come to terms with the fact that her grandfather was not the upstanding citizen that she always thought. As Sylvie is dealing with the new revelations about her grandfather, she is also still mourning the loss of her husband. It hasn't been that long since he passed away in such a quick and swift manner, and it seemed that they left so many things unspoken and unanswered. Sylvie had suspected that he was having an affair but she really had no idea who he was seeing or even the extent of their relationship.Sylvie's sons seemed to have suffered the most growing up under the McAllister name. Scott was adopted by the Bates-McAllister's at a young age and their father seemed to show more love and understanding to him than to their older son Charles. This created turmoil between the two brothers throughout their lives that they never seemed to be able to overcome. All of their relationships are pushed to the boiling point during a high school celebration when Scott uncovers a secret that leaves their relationships torn and tattered.After that high school blow out all of the family members just seem to be living life day to day, without plans of improving themselves or moving on in any way. It was so sad to see this family stuck in a kind of limbo that wouldn't allow them to experience any happiness. When Scott finds himself the center of an investigation at the Swithin private school, each of the family members start to evaluate their lives and the events that have happened since that long ago afternoon. Confronting the past and their own demons will help each of them move on to being the people that they really want to be.This was a good story, but there was something within the pages that I just didn't love. It certainly isn't a feel good book, but that has not prevented me from enjoying stories in the past. Maybe it was the fact that I have always believed that if you just give children whatever they want in life, you are helping them to fail. This family obviously had everything handed to them on a silver platter, and their lives may have looked fine and dandy from the outside, but from the inside they were being ripped to shreds. I only touched on a few of the relationship issues that were apparent in this novel, but even though I didn't love it, I still think that this novel would make a good book club discussion with themes of families, secrets, and revelations.
collsers on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The story of a family torn apart by secrets and things left unsaid. I found Shepard's characters to be interesting, and I raced through the book wanting to find out more about each of them. I did find the conclusion of the book a bit sudden, and would have liked a bit more closure to some of the conflicts in the book. This isn't great literature, by any means, but it was an engrossing beach read.
blueshelled on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Lately, it seems like the books I¿ve been given to review contain a cast of unlikable characters who are riddled with flaws in an attempt to be dynamic and real and the bottom line is that I often read for escape and isn¿t life hard enough? In Everything We Ever Wanted: A Novel by Sara Shepard, we are given a brief glance into the life of the Bates-McAllister family and I¿m not sure I could take much more than a glance. People have problems and in no small amount and the people you might believe have the fewest might be hiding the most.The Bates-McAllister family has recently lost their patriach, James, in an unexpected way. Their matriach, Sylvie, feels the weight of the world upon her as she comes to grips with the person she thinks James has been throughout their marriage and the secrets that are now being shared about him in his death. In the novel, she learns that the people you surround yourself with are not necessarily your friends and the family that you choose to shun just might be those that save you.We are also introduced to Charles, James and Sylvie¿s biological son, and his wife, Joanna. The book reveals that their relationship began tattered and has continued to shred with both looking back on the life they had before one another and the life that might have been had they not chosen one another. The secrets they have kept from each other threaten to tear the marriage apart and their saga was of the few parts of the story that left me vaguely unsettled. The end of the novel left loose ends where they were concerned and it seemed like they were glossed over to address Sylvie and her ability to move forward in life and how Scott progressed.Scott is the inevitable center of the novel, though the premise of the novel is supposed to be the family. Scott is the adopted son of the family, a mixed-race child who has brought grief to the family since they adopted him at 18-months. In a stunning turn of events, it may be Scott that has the most heart and love and concern for his family members as each of their true motivations is revealed.I¿m still not sure I found a likable character in the bunch and the ending of the story still left me confused as to what was happening and why I should care for these people, however, sometimes you just have to enjoy the journey. I felt like the ending was rushed and thrown together, but the novel moved at a rapid pace until that point and I enjoyed reading it. There was just enough suspense throughout the book to keep me interested and I kept hoping for some redemption. This is another novel that highlights that, at times, people are highly unlikable in bad circumstances but can persevere with hope.If you prefer a tightly bound ending that answers all your questions, this book won¿t work for you. If you are alright with some ambiguity, give it a try.Disclaimer: I received this book for free to review it. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share my opinions with others.
LauraMoore on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
2.5 stars This book was my first novel by Sara Shepard that i've read, and was really excited to read it, but was let down. I felt that the storyline was all over the place and wish it focused on one main issue instead of having a million different issues being highlighted. Sylvie Bates-McAllister is a recent widow with two sons, one of which is biological (Charlie) while the other is a mixed boy that was adopted (Scott). Sylvie recieves a phone call from the well-known prep school that her grandfather founded that a boy was found dead and they believed it was a suicide due to hazing being comminted by members of the school wrestling team, which her adopted son, Scott coaches. This book focuses on many issues, and many of which are important issues, but personally I wish the story focused more on the hazing and assumed suicide of the student, which is what I thought the book was primarly about, but so many more issues are involved in this book, adultery, racial issues, secret pasts, etc. It was a decent story, but just a bit of a miss for me. I felt like nothing was coming to play because the story was all over the place and so many smaller issues were being discussed rather then that main issue at hand. I'm interested to read Sara Shepard's YA series, Pretty Little Liars and the Lying Games, and because I've heard so many good things about this series, I think maybe Sara Shepard's voice is that of a YA author and less of an Adult Fiction writer, and maybe her YA books will be more enjoyed by me!
kjflaherty on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I got this through Early Reviewer's and it took me forever to finish it because I just didn't care about the characters. I finally finished it out of a sense of obligation for Early Reviewers. I felt completely unsatisfied with the book and the ending especially.
Jessica5 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
When I got an ARC of this book from Librarything (of the paperback that comes out in October) I was really excited. I had read Pretty Little Liars and the Lying Games series by Sara Shepard, so I though that this would be awesome too. Boy was I wrong! This book was just so boring! I don't think it got interesting until 250 pages, then after another 50 pages it got boring again. There was no real drama and shocking secrets like her usual books. Sara Shepard's writing is phenomenal (that's the reason I almost gave this three stars instead of two but I don't think it had enough for another star), but I just didn't like any of the characters. I thought a majority of them were annoying and awful people! Sylvie was probably the worst parent I've ever read about. I mean, she can't even talk to her own son! It's not like she tried and failed, she just didn't even attempt to because she was so intimidated around him. The total lack of communication was just annoying. I was just like, "Talk already!!!!" Maybe it was supposed to be like that to create the problems in the first place, but I didn't like it. The only character I liked was Joanna and that's pretty much it. Maybe I liked Scott a little, but everyone else I just didn't care about. It was neat to see how the family's past unwound throughout the story, but everything else was just not interesting. And I'm not really a fan of the paperback cover (with the trees and pathway full of leaves). The hardback cover is so much prettier that I have no idea why they would change it. As for reading the book, Sara Shepard fans should NOT read this, but if you like slow books with good writing maybe you should pick this one up.
rarelibrarian on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I also received this book from Early Reviewers. There are other reviews on here already that do a decent job summarizing the plot; normally, I'm not this tearse about books that I've received to review, but I have to go with the majority of my fellow reviewers on this one and say that I'm not impressed enough by it to say much about it.The plot was predicable and formulaic, the characters unlikeable and unsympathetic and I only finished the book out of duty. I had guessed at all the twists and found the ending ot be unsatisfactory. I konw that this doesn't have much to do with the quality of the book, but I didn't realize that the main family you are following (the Bates-McAllisters) were white until it was mentioned specifically about a third of the way through the book; I thought they were African-American for the first part and was surprised to learn otherwise. I think that Sara Shepard should stick with the young adult genre, which is more suited to her and I would not recommend this book.
TheLostEntwife on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It all begins with a phone call. Immediately, Shephard outlines a story in Everything We Ever Wanted, in which the characters just can¿t seem to catch a break. Between a seemingly unloved wife, a son who never felt good enough, an adopted brother who carries around a chip on his shoulder and a marriage example that seems.. shaky at best, this book gave me the most sinking feeling I¿ve experienced in a while.In spite of characters who pushed and pulled at my emotions, I just couldn¿t make myself like this book. The subject material is so harsh it almost seems overly so ¿ like Shephard jumped into the adult arena guns drawn and blazing and forgot that subtlety can also be a virtue. I wanted one character I could like ¿ just one. I wanted a character with strength and honesty, a character who felt love without it being a weakness and I wasn¿t given that. Instead, I got an entire cast filled with flaws and an ending that gave me a resolution sapped of all the joy I had hoped for.In spite of all of this, and the fact that the actual story just did not appeal to me, I can definitely see that this book would have huge book club potential. The subjects to talk about are numerous and I can imagine that debate after debate would happen if a group of folks got together to discuss the themes apparent in Everything We Ever Wanted.
curvymommy on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book was tough to get through. The plot was weak and confusing, and the characters annoying. No one spoke to one another, spending all their time assuming the worst and feeling sorry for themselves. The family secret was a joke. I pretty much spent the entire novel waiting for something to actually happen, and it never did. This book could also have used a more thorough edit, as I kept encountering inconsistencies in the story (example: one character checks into a one-story motel, yet when he goes back to his room that night, he "went up the metal stairs to his room") that were really annoying.
bookchickdi on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Reading this insightful novel by Sara Shepard made me uncomfortable at times. The self-destructive behavior of some of her characters may hit a little close to home for some readers, and I think that many readers may recognize themselves in some of the characters.Sylvie is a wealthy recent widow, and mother to two grown sons: Charles, her birth son and Scott, adopted when he just a few years old. Charles always felt that he disappointed his father, that he wasn't the son his father wanted. Scott is an angry, sullen young man whom everyone feels they have to tiptoe around lest they set him off. Charles recently married Joanna, a young woman from a different side of town, whose troubled mother is always visiting the ER complaining of various illnesses.Sylvie's grandfather ran a local boarding school for children from wealthy families. Sylvie adored her grandfather, even living in his home and serving on the board of the school. A scandal at the school involves Scott, who works as a wrestling coach.I found the fact that no one in Sylvie's family ever really communicated honestly with each other led to bad decisions, or worse, no decisions at all. I wanted to shake them all out of their stasis, yet at the same time, understood their reluctance to face their problems head on. It is a part of human nature we can all relate to.Shepard's characters are authentic and heartbreaking. She really gets into the nitty-gritty of what it means to be a newlywed, a mom, a widow, a son. The title of the book refers to what happens when you think you have everything you ever wanted: Joanna has Charles, whom she has dreamed of meeting since she was a young girl, Sylvie has her work at the school and her good, respected family name; Scott grew up in an intact, wealthy family with every monetary advantage; Charles has a lovely wife and a brand new house. But once you have everything you want, you may realize that it may not be everything you hoped it to be.This is a novel that will make you squirm a little bit, and maybe even encourage you to be a little more introspective about your own life.rating 4 of 5
amaryann21 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Overall, a good story with one great twist. Good use of social and racial elements as part of the story without being preachy or overly politically correct. I was slightly unsatisfied with the ending.
impressed48 More than 1 year ago
every PC possibility that could be addressed was. this was a rough one to finish, boring
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SammiiTX More than 1 year ago
I usually love Sara Shepard, I think she is an amazing writer and enjoy her books a lot. Except there was something about this book that I couldn't get through. It makes me extremely sad when I can't finish a book because it makes me feel like I'm letting down the author, and Yara from Once Upon a Twilight. I got about 70 pages in and the book just wasn't holding my attention. My thing with books is if they don't hold my attention by page 50, I'm done. I have given the book ample time to get interesting and captivate me, so if it doesn't then sorry! You're done! That's what happened with Everything We Ever Wanted. I couldn't follow the book and when I can't follow a book I get confused and give up. The beginning started out well enough, but I got the characters confused and the flashbacks were mixed in and all jumbled up. Or at least to me. The characters were very static. They didn't seem to have any motivations, just were dull and life-less. They acted like they didn't care about anything and were a happy go lucky family in an old creepy house. The synopsis had originally captured my attention. It seemed mysterious and interesting, but none of that was evident in the book. In the pages I read, they were just covering up everything and ignoring the White Elephant in the room. Thank you Yara for giving me the opportunity to read it. I might pick it up again at a later time, but for right now it doesn't interest me. In no way am I telling you not to read this book. It's not highly recommended by me and not my cup of tea. Remember that I am a book blogger and this is my opionion. It wasn't meant to hurt anyone and ~~Sam
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I forced myself to finish this book because I thought it would get better -- it didn't. I was bored with it much of the time. There were a few twists in the plot but they eventually fell flat. Not worth buying.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago