Having read the first few books in Sara Shepard’s popular YA series Pretty Little Liars, I was intrigued to see what her adult fiction would be like. Everything We Ever Wanted is told through three main narratives: Sylvie,the matriarch of a family with a lot of history in the town, Charles – Sylvie’s son, and Joanna – Charles’ wife. When Sylvie receives a phone call from the school where her adopted son Scott works, the implication that he was involved in a hazing-related death of one of the students throws the family into a conflicted turmoil. Scott, who has always been sullen and reclusive, is now dealing with the suspicions and assumptions by those that are supposed to be closest to him.
At its core, Everything We Ever Wanted is a story about the intricacies of a family. Shepard captures the relationship dynamics quite realistically, whether it’s between an adoptive family or a husband and wife. I found there were some characters more fleshed out than others, with perhaps Joanna and Scott being the most engaging people to follow. The premise of a student’s death, possibly due to hazing/bullying, is a very timely one. Now, more than ever, bullying has come to the forefront of everyone’s mind as an important issue that needs addressing.
Everything is not always as it seems, and I felt that that was an underlying theme throughout the novel. People aren’t who you assume they are, relationships aren’t entirely how they appear. Even with the book itself, what initially appears to be a story about hazing actually becomes a further exploration on the dysfunctional nature among families that lie simmering below the surface.
Everything We Ever Wanted is available in stores today!
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ (3.5/5 stars)
With Pretty Little Liars and The Lying Game under her writing belt, Sara Shepard isn’t the first author that has dabbled in both YA and adult fiction. Comparatively, this adult novel obviously delves into more “grown-up” and serious issues. Where her YA books are from the point-of-view of the teenagers in the story, she seamlessly transitions into the adult narrator for this book. If this novel is any indication, Shepard’s got a great start into the adult fiction world.
I say “seamlessly” because I don’t believe it’s necessarily that easy to switch between the two, very-different mindsets while still maintaining your own original writing style. As adult authors, I’d imagine it’s a bit more challenging to really channel the voice of a teenager in their young adult books without sounding contrived and forced.
A few other “double-duty” authors that I’ve read who come to mind:
- Meg Cabot
- YA: The Mediator series
- Adult: Size 12 is Not Fat, Size 14 is Not Fat Either
- Stephenie Meyer
- YA: The Twilight series (obviously)
- Adult: The Host
- P.C. Cast
- YA: The House of Night series
- Adult: Goddess Summoning series, among others
I wanted to host a giveaway for my ARC of this book but Shannon @ Harper Collins has graciously offered me a finished copy of the book to share with a fellow fan!
- Must leave a blog comment here
- Open only to CANADA
- Winner will be chosen by Random.org and will have 48 hours to respond to email.
- Contest runs until October 31st.
- Winner announced!