Everything We Ever Wanted by Sara Shepard
Release Date: October 11, 2011
HarperCollins (Harper Paperbacks)
Sara Shepard, the bestselling author of Pretty Little Liars, delivers a powerful novel of family dreams, lies, and delusions. Everything We Ever Wanted begins with a phone call with allegations that rock an upper crust Philadelphia family to its very foundations, unlocking years of secrets and scandals that expose the serious flaws in outwardly perfect lives. A moving, intelligent, and unforgettable novel, Shepard’s Everything We Ever Wanted is exceptional contemporary women’s fiction that will be embraced by book clubs everywhere.
While Sarah Shepard is best known for her Young Adult series, Pretty Little Liars, she has also ventured into the adult fiction genre. I was a HUGE fan of the PLL series (up until about the time book #11 came out... seriously, how long can that series go on for?) and I was so excited when I was offered a copy of her new adult fiction release.
The best part about Everything We Ever Wanted it that those teens who grew up with PLL (like me) can now grow up with Sara's books. I'm not a teenager anymore, and although I mostly read YA, sometimes I do want to branch out and read something different. Her new book takes some of the elements that make PLL such a guilty pleasure (including affluent characters, a similar setting, multiple POVs, and delicious dirty little secrets) but make them more grown up.
Because sometimes I just don't want to read about pyschotic killers tormenting teenage girls that are doing all sorts of things I sure didn't do when I was 16.
And this is exaclty what gives Everything We Ever wanted such a realistic perspective; the issues it deals with are more common that we'd like to think, and while there's less action than there is in PLL there's just as much drama. In a less teen-angsty kind of way (except for Joanna).
Sara Shepard writes characters with such outstanding development, and Everything We Ever Wanted is no exception; these people are so rich and diverse that they could easily be real. And they're not perfect (far from it), and I did find Joanna in particular to be both interesting and aggravating at the same time. Maybe she just struck me as being really weird, and odd in her reactions. But the relationship between Sylvie and Scott especially was incredibly heartbreaking. I cared for the two of them so much, and regardless of their issues I couldn't help but want things to work out for them. The ending did leave me feeling somewhat unsatisfied, like there was something disconnected and lacking in it. But I also understand that this book is about more than the ending, but the journey the characters took to get there.
So while Everything We Ever wanted isnt' about hot boys or risque extra-curriculars (I'm looking at you, Aria), it's still a great read, particularly appealing for Sara's adult fans (or even older teens looking for something different) who are interested in a book about real life and just how ugly it can be.
ARC provided by HarperCollins Canada in exchange for my honest review; I also made a special post related to this, where I discuss talented crossover authors (besides Sara Shepard)! Let me know what you think of these authors over there :)