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All We Ever Wanted

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  71,647 ratings  ·  6,113 reviews
In the riveting new novel from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of First Comes Love and Something Borrowed, three very different people must choose between their family and their values.

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
Kindle Edition, 334 pages
Published June 26th 2018 by Ballantine Books
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Average rating 3.88  · 
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 ·  71,647 ratings  ·  6,113 reviews

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Nov 08, 2017 rated it liked it
*3.5 stars*

With her ninth novel, Emily Giffin takes an ambitious step away from her traditional love story narratives and attempts to tackle relevant topics surrounding social media, privilege, racism, and self-worth. Things that feel all too timely with the dominance of social media and the #metoo movement. I’m just not so sure it all worked.

Despite the staggering number of issues Giffin sets out to address with this plot, there’s a lack of emotionality, leaving the reader to flail in the shallow end
Emily May
Oct 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: contemporary, 2018
"You should always side with your kid. Always."
"Without regard to his actions?" I asked. "No matter what?"

Here's two things I know for certain: 1) I would never condone abusive discriminatory behaviour, and 2) I would do everything within my power to protect my sons. So what happens if those two things directly contradict one another?

This book surprised me by how much it affected me. I actually felt deeply discomfited and sad while reading it. I've never read Emily Giffin and, to be honest, I prob
Jun 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018, arcs
My reviews can also be seen at: https://deesradreadsandreviews.wordpr...

4.5 Stars!!!

“All We Ever Wanted” was my first read from Emily Giffin and I loved it!

Life is good for the Browning family. Nina Browning’s husband Kirk sold his software company at the right time and they went from comfortable to very wealthy in a very short period of time. Nina doesn’t like to flaunt how wealthy they are, but her husband is a different story. Nina is trying to keep their eighteen-year-old son, Finch from becoming entitled though s
Theresa Alan
Apr 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a truly powerful, wonderful novel. It’s been many years since I’ve read an Emily Giffin novel, but I enjoyed those books and was excited to read this one. My previous experience with her work did not prepare me for the complex, layered, serious manner of this excellent book.

For most of the first chapter, I thought this was going to be a book about a couple that went from well-off to obscenely wealthy having marital woes. Boo hoo. But when I learned what it was really about, it took a da
Jul 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is not literature for birds (chick lit) or women’s fiction.

This is everyone’s fiction. Because this kind of story should be directed towards every adult, regardless of gender, color, class, etc.

This is not a love story. It is both heart-breaking and heart-mending. You will be frustrated half of the time, cry at unexpected moments, and smile rarely.

This is not a happy tale, but it is an important and empowering one. Although there have been stories about abuse (of p
Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
4 timely stars to All We Ever Wanted! ⭐⭐⭐⭐

When Emily Giffin releases a new book, it’s a big deal, and I think All We Ever Wanted is her best book yet!

That said, All We Ever Wanted gets off to a rocky start. The first chapter is narrated by Nina who escaped her middle class roots to live amongst Nashville’s wealthiest. I was worried over-the-top grandeur would take center stage in this book, but it did not. Nina’s son, Finch (no offense to any Finches of the world, but that name made me giggle a few ti
BernLuvsBooks (Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas)
"Sometimes you just can't see the things that are the closest to you."

All We Ever Wanted was a very thought-provoking read that addresses timely and pertinent subject matter for today's society and technological age. At first glance, Nina Browning seems to have it all. She is rich, focusing on doing charity work and her son has been accepted to Princeton. She has the kind of "ideal" life that others envy. Yet, she finds herself embroiled in a scandal that she never thought would happen to her. Her son,
Apr 11, 2018 rated it liked it
All We Ever Wanted is all we’ve come to expect from bestselling author Emily Giffin: an engaging, effortless, readable story that is deceptively likeable and painfully shallow. Giffin asks nothing from readers but a few moments of their time, and in exchange delivers high-gloss low-payoff novels that showcase entitlement and moral ambivalence disguised as depth. By now, her pattern is set, but this time, the stakes are higher.

--It could happen anywhere--
All We Ever Wanted is all we’ve come to expect from bestselling author Emily Giffin: an engaging, effortless, readable story that is deceptively likeable and painfully shallow. Giffin asks nothing from readers but a few moments of their time, and in exchange delivers high-gloss low-payoff novels that showcase entitlement and moral ambivalence disguised as depth. By now, her pattern is set, but this time, the stakes are higher.

--It could happen anywhere--
All We Ever Wanted is a domestic drama about the upheaval that occurs when the 18-year-old son of a wealthy and prominent Nashville couple posts a questionable photo of an underage girl, launching reverberations that upend the family’s smug existence and that of friends and relations as well. The premise is compelling. The execution leaves Giffin’s position unclear.

--Like us, only better--
Giffin’s bread and butter characters are what you might call beautiful people with first world problems. The first world is my address, so I’m game for domestic drama of the white privileged set. Heck, some of my best friends are wealthy Caucasians with country club memberships….

The problem is that Giffin wants to write her characters two ways, and it leads her nowhere. She seeks to explore the pitfalls of privilege, yet she absolves her heroines of mistakes and casts them as well-intended victims who are really good people, honest, if you just look behind the Chanel handbag and Mercedes SUV.

--Meet the mom--
When we meet her, the main character, Nina, has ridden high for two decades on the wealth and cache of her husband’s success. She is a walking fashion plate whose fondest expressions come not for her husband or son, but for the custom-made furnishings and designer clothes that her lifestyle affords her.

And good for her. That’s all fine. Three cheers for Nina, no one is judging. She married a wealthy guy, kept herself thin and pretty, it’s her life to enjoy fabric swatches and poached salmon lunches if she so pleases. But when Nina awakens from her comfortable reverie, she notices that her spoiled son and rich husband have bloomed into arrogant snobs. She spends the rest of the book castigating, criticizing, and rejecting them.

What she does not do is mother her son. She never misses a Starbucks, but in the time it takes her to vilify her boy and drift out of his maternal reach, she never once grabs the scruff of his obnoxious neck to launch the tush-kicking that his behavior demands. Indeed, her son is facing dire consequences, either with severe punishment or life as an asshole. Moms step in; Nina steps out.

--Holding out for a hero--
The unsettling part is that, in Giffin world, Nina is the hero. Nina is the character with the moral authority. This woman whose choices have contributed to, if not created, the family crisis, bails on them and casts herself as an innocent victimized bystander. She benefitted from every lazy parenting moment that led here, but neither she nor the book ever say, “Hey, lady, you know this happened on your watch, right?” Instead, her self-involved shirking is supposed to signal some sort of heroic feministic coming of age.

It does no such thing, and this is Giffin’s authorial failing. She is a powerful storyteller with a weak moral compass for her characters. Her stories build a compelling, if cliched, setup, but she is neither honest nor complete when it comes time to dole out denouement and judgment. Perhaps Giffin loves her characters too much to make them fully flawed people; perhaps she is writing too much of her own personal conflicts between success and the desire to be perceived as good. Whatever drives her pen, it should demand more of stories and her characters. Hold them accountable, don’t make them so innocent. Let them come to it honestly.

--Right neighborhood, wrong book--
Giffin is right on one score: there are stories to tell here. The vulnerability of privileged suburban American life to sudden and shocking fragmentation is fertile ground for writers with the guts to write authentic characters and ambiguous conflicts. Two staggering, must-read novels, This Beautiful Life by Helen Schulman, and The Guest Room by Chris Bohjalian, delve similarly into the split-second missteps and external forces that can disrupt and forever alter a modern family’s domestic tranquility.

In contrast, All We Ever Wanted is a minor entry in the genre. For Giffin fans, who appreciate the escapism of her breezy, readable style, this is another easy sell and quick read. For readers looking below the glossy surface, seeking the painful yet redemptive truths that quality fiction can offer, this one will leave you wanting.

I received an advanced review copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Jul 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018, net-galley
5 Thought Provoking Stars 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

This book is a MUST read! Not only was it absolutely brilliant it also touched on so many of today’s issues... it was a book that really made you think... what would I do in that situation? And as a single mother of two boys and a girl I could see so many sides of this story... and this book really made you realize that with social media a teenager’s reputation can be trashed in a matter of minutes.... makes you long for the good old days when you neede
As a parent of a 12 year old son that seems to be growing quicker than I'd like him to be I found this book to be quite terrifying. We all want to believe our children are thoughtful, empathetic, and responsible beings but that's not always the case and sometimes our children are going to disappoint us.

The entire time I was reading this novel I couldn't help but think "What would I do?" My emotions really went through the ringer with this one. I was angry, I was frustrated, I was sad, yet I was
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

Somehow I managed to avoid Emily Giffin’s books for nearly FIFTEEN years, but couldn’t resist any longer thanks to all the times this one kept popping up over on Bookstagram . . . .

My reaction now that I’ve jumped the shark off that bridge????

Caricatures rather than characters, stereotypes (rich = bad/poor= good – upperclass white teenage boys = sociopaths at best/Brock Turners at worst/middle-class teenage girls = naïve victims-in-the-making) and a “ripped from the headlines” stor
May 21, 2018 rated it really liked it

3.5 Stars

”When the sharpest words wanna cut me down
I'm gonna send a flood, gonna drown them out
I am brave, I am bruised
I am who I'm meant to be, this is me
Look out 'cause here I come
And I'm marching on to the beat I drum
I'm not scared to be seen
I make no apologies, this is me

Oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh, oh, oh
This is me”

-- This is Me, Keala Settle, The Greatest Showman Ensemble, Songwriters: Justin Pa/>”When
Aug 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
All We Ever Wanted is a timely story about Lyla and Finch, two high schoolers attending an elite private prep school in Nashville, who both go to a party one night. Lyla gets drunk and a compromising photo of her with a racist caption surfaces following the party. This story focuses on the aftermath, including a plethora of reactions to the photo, and an attempt to identify who’s actually responsible for it.

The story is told in alternating perspectives - from Nina, Finch’s mom, Tom, Lyla’s dad, and f
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ / 5

All We Ever Wanted by Emily Giffin completely blew me away, and it evoked many of the same feelings I had reading Beartown by Fredrik Backman.

What would you do if your son is accused of sharing a picture with his buddies that contains a half naked girl with a racist "joke" as the caption? Well that is exactly what Nina has to find out when her son Finch is accused of doin
Meredith B.  (readingwithmere)
4.5 Stars rounded up!

I love Emily Giffin and I get so excited when I hear the annoucement that a new book of her's is coming out. She seems to take really relevant experiences and apply them to a fictional story so that we can all somehow relate.

Nina and Kirk are a wealthy couple. They drive nice cars, they have a 4 million dollar house and they have a housekeeper who does all the work for them. They also have a son, Finch, who just got into Princeton and is not only a great st
Elyse (retired from reviewing/semi hiatus) Walters
This is my first Emily Giffin book.....
..........A PrimeTime-Page-Turning-Plausible-novel that most likely attracts women readers. If I saw more reviews from men than by woman, I’d be surprised- but also very interested in their thoughts.

There seems to be a trend on ‘issue’ novels lately- contemporary topics mirroring our every days lives.
This book could join bookends with Rochelle Weinstein’s book “Somebody’s Daughter”. They have similar themes........
.....starting with inapprop
Apr 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Emily Giffin writes a novel that hits many of the red hot issues of our contemporary world and the nature of family dynamics. Nina Browning has an enviable lifestyle, part of the elite social circles, married to Kirk, whose sale of his tech business shot them from the comfortable into the circles of the rich. Nina has begun to have some niggles about their moneyed circumstances, having grown up in much more modest circumstances, although Kirk originates from the world of private education and co ...more
Jun 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
All We Ever Wanted by Emily Giffin is an emotional tale that is very fitting in today’s social media obsessed age. One drunken night leads to a risque photo being passed around of a young teenage girl leading to the characters all dealing with the situation from their own points of views.

Nina Browning is the mother of the boy accused of taking the photograph and is appalled at his behavior. Nina came from a middle class family and while happy her family doesn’t want for anything she’
May 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
James E. Faust once said, “All parents hope and pray that their children will make wise decisions. Children who are obedient and responsible bring to their parents unending pride and satisfaction.”
The underlying message of that quote sums up the content of Emily Griffin’s book, “all we ever wanted.”
Griffin’s book takes on themes of affluence, sexual assault, social media, harassment, racism and elitism in a story that will leave the reader asking, “what would I do in that situation?”
Wow, holy shit wow. I picked up this audiobook from my library without really knowing what this book was even about and I am blown away by how much I loved it. This story is so sad and relevant and important. It follows two families: the first one is rich; Kirk, Nina and Finch. The second one is middle class; Tom and his daughter Lyla. Finch, the rich kids son takes a very inappropriate nude photo of Lyla while she’s passed out drunk and makes a racist comment in the caption of the picture. This book is heavy ...more
Carol (Bookaria)
Nov 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was an engaging and entertaining novel. I saw it listed on the GOODREADS CHOICE AWARDS Best Fiction list and picked it up. I didn't even read the description and went into it blind.

Lyla attends a private school on a scholarship, her world is upturned when a compromising photograph of her is wildly circulated. The story is told in the alternating points of view of Lyla, Tom (Lyla's father) and Nina (the mother of the student that spread the photo).

The novel takes place (mostly) in Nashville and i
Jill McGill
Jun 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Emily Griffin did not disappoint with All We Ever Wanted. She takes us on a powerful journey through marriage, motherhood, friendship, teen life, racism, and the negative effect of social media. This book definitely deals with some heavy topics that are going on in today's world right now.

The story is told from three points of view: Nina, Tom, and Lyla (Tom's daughter). I have to say, I loved all three of these characters! First, we have Nina, she is living the dream. She has a wealt
Jun 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
My reviews can be found at : https://yayareadslotsofbooks.wordpres...

The teenage years! Can you ever forget them? No matter how old you are you can flashback to those years with trepidation and the thought that god I am glad those are over. It is a time of so much that is unsure, the feelings, the emotions, the constant knowing that it always seemed as if your life was spiraling out of control. The arguments, the searching for control....yes, the teenage years were often hell, but they were also exciting as you discovered you
When Nina Browning’s husband Kirk sold his software business they went from comfortable to wealthy in fact very wealthy in a short amount of time. Then to make matters even better their son Finch is accepted into Princeton and they couldn’t be happier.

Tom Volpe is a single dad who works various jobs whilst trying to raise his daughter, Lyla. Raising Lyla on his own was not an easy time for Tom. The long hard struggles Tom has endured seems to have paid off when they find out, Lyla has earned a
Debbie Oliphant
Jul 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I could not put this book down. It was so intense and relevant today.

The story details the life of the privileged families who are held to a different set of rules nor held accountable for their actions. A mistake is revealed that is life changing, for a young girl who comes from a blue collar family and a young man who is entitled and comes from an affluent family, both attending a prestigious, expensive school.

The event is revealed early in the story but through mult
Nina and Kirk Browning and their teenage son, Finch, live a good life, especially since Kirk sold his company and the family has experienced a great deal of wealth. Nina and Kirk are attending a fundraiser when they hear whispering that Finch has been involved in an incident with another student at his school, Windsor Academy. It soon comes out that Finch has taken an inappropriate sexy picture of Lyla at a party and sent it to friends, accompanied by a racist comment. The photo spreads around t ...more
Nina Browning lives a very comfortable life being married to Kirk, one of Nashville’s elite. Their son, Finch is on his way to Princeton having done exceptionally well at Windsor Academy, the city’s prestigious private school. Tom Volpe is a single father and a skilled carpenter. He lives modestly on the east side of town and his daughter, Lyla has excelled scholastically, earning a scholarship to Windsor. The Browning’s and Volpe’s worlds intersect following an unfortunate night at a party wher ...more
Jul 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book asked compelling, relevant questions from start to finish about privilege and whether the luxuries we allow ourselves to enjoy can become an infection that poison our children if we’re not careful. Essentially, there is a party, and a rich boy takes a semi-nude photo of a girl from the other side of town, then posts it to social media. How far would a parent go to protect their child is the question the book asks.

Trigger Warnings: (view spoiler)This book asked compelling, relevant questions from start to finish about privilege and whether the luxuries we allow ourselves to enjoy can become an infection that poison our children if we’re not careful. Essentially, there is a party, and a rich boy takes a semi-nude photo of a girl from the other side of town, then posts it to social media. How far would a parent go to protect their child is the question the book asks.

Trigger Warnings: (view spoiler)

Please excuse typos/name misspellings. Entered on screen reader.
Jul 29, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: library-borrowed
I am a bit of an outlier in my opinion when it comes to Emily Giffin and her books. They really are just "okay" reads. However, I will say that All We Ever Wanted is much more meatier than the chick lit than she is usually known to write. When Nina 's teenage son makes a devastating choice, it forces her to take a more critical look at her marriage and family. Also drawing her closer to Tom Volpe and his daughter, Lyla while also confronting a long buried secret. I did find there was a lot of a ...more
Jun 02, 2018 rated it liked it
All We Ever Wanted by Emily Giffin reminded me a little bit of Rochelle Weinstein's Somebody's Daughter. I feel like the same type of storyline was presented here... between teenagers and serious issues that are presented in our society.

Nina one of our main characters finds out that her son Finch took a sexual photo of a girl named Lyla while she was passed out with a racist remark and sent it to basically the entire school. Lyla's father is furious (as anyone would imagine) and he r
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Emily Giffin is a graduate of Wake Forest University and the University of Virginia School of Law. After practicing litigation at a Manhattan firm for several years, she moved to London to write full time. The author of seven New York Times bestselling novels, The One & Only, Something Borrowed, Something Blue, Baby Proof, Love The One You're With, Heart of the Matter, and Where We Belong, she
“People make time for what matters to them.” 9 likes
“Because sometimes you just can’t see the things that are the closest to you.” 8 likes
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